Soda farls

So I'm not expecting to get a hold of an electrician for at least another week (the one my landlord trusts is out of town, and the one I work with is on holiday, go figure...) he suspects a shorted element, but we'll have to see what the damage is when he gets back.

But as we experiment on the hob (and pursuing solutions to problems from said attempts) I began culling things that went uneaten (this was mostly long-life stuff stowed away for emergency situations that never presented themselves) I came across four jars of sandwich pickle. This with ham is Xander's filling of choice for sandwiches, which he was put off of because he didn't like the texture of gluten free bread and spelt bread from The Bread Shop was always at risk of cross-contamination.

So on Wednesday I come home from the supermarket laden with fresh goodies for a top-up, since there's only so much room in our fridge and a lot is taken by cold drinks and a week's worth of lunches after Sunday prep.
"I'm a dolt!" I say out loud as I began putting the said ingredients (meat, potatoes and a few other things) away.
"What's bringing this on?" Xander asked me,
"I'm half-Irish and I never thought of farls as a meal option!"

I was embarrassed, to a degree I still am.

There are two kinds of farl (the Gaelic word for 'fourth' referring to the fact that it's cut into quarters) that I came to know, one is potato, which will be coming along soon, also known as potato bread or potato cakes (which is what I know them as to this day) home made ones are not unlike a potato pancake. Both are classically served with butter.

However, with the pickle calling out to be eaten (at least to Xander now that he knows its there, I've never been much of a  a savoury sandwich person) the thing to focus on was soda farls. With plenty of spelt flour (my flour of choice for pizza bases, one of the recipes needing a photo) to hand I got to work on a recipe I found on delishably, swapping out the buttermilk for some Koko, our coconut-based milk sub, with added lemon juice to react with the baking soda.

A stiff dough is part of the process


If you want to read up on baking soda versus baking powder (two different things, though the earlier is part of the latter) Sally's Baking Addiction has all you need to know.

First try!
Perhaps overall the hardest thing is getting the timing and awareness of when they're done right, you'll notice the quadrants are corners facing the ones of the pan, that's because I noticed they were perfect on the curves but still a little doughy on the corners. In my experience, they are done when they are firm on the flat sides, sound hollow when tapped and a skewer comes through clean.

I'll probably experiment with gluten free flour in time, but for now, for those who are wheat, but not gluten, free, here is a delicious recipe for simple quick farls.

Yield: 4 farls (each of them are roughly the size of a burger bun)

225g spelt flour, plus extra for dusting
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
Enough buttermilk substitute to make a thick dough (see tip)

Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl
Slowly add the buttermilk until the flour is just mixed.
Knead until smooth
On a lightly floured surface, shape the bread into a rough circle and cut into quarters.
Flour a grill pan or frying pan on a medium heat, set the quarters on the pan for about five minutes on each side or until the surface is nicely browned
Turn over and cook the other side (you may find you have to slightly turn down the heat at this point)

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Tip

You can make your own buttermilk by adding lemon juice or vinegar to your favourite milk substitute and mixing well. Leave it to stand for around ten minutes before use.

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