Easy Home-made Soda Farls

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that Northern Ireland Soda bread is one of the great joys in life.

Sweet or Savoury, it can be adapted to suit virtually every occasion.

This weekend I had forgotten to buy any bread.. ‘Never worry,’ said I, hauling the jar of Soda Bread Flour from the cupboard – ‘I’ve got this..’

Soda Farls (2)

And, dear reader, in about 20 minutes, we had wonderful soft and warm Soda farls!

If you follow this recipe, you too shall have a happy ending!

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I know that Soda Bread Flour is not available everywhere, but do not despair – the ”Plain flour + Bicarb of Soda+ Salt  alternative will be alongside the SBF in this recipe. Don’t say I don’t look after you!

November 27th Hillsborough Castle (2)

This little chap happened past the kitchen window as I was cooling the Soda Farls – ”Any chance of a wee bit of Soda Missis?” he said..


  • A large, heavy-based frying pan or griddle pan
  • A large bowl for mixing
  • a measuring jug
  • a flat-bladed knife
  • Plus or Minus a rolling pin..

INGREDIENTS: These are the amounts I used to make the 4 Soda farls in the photographs.

  • 250g Soda Bread Flour   OR  250g Plain flour, plus 1 teaspoon of Bicarbonate of Soda, plus 1/2 a teaspoon of salt, all sifted together.
  • 125-150mls Buttermilk
  • See NOTES at the bottom of the page for suggestions/additions etc..


  • Put the pan onto a gentle heat to warm up
  • Measure 125mls of Buttermilk into the jug
  • Sift the flour into the bowl.

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  • Add the Buttermilk to the flour, and mix together with the flat-bladed knife until it starts to come together. If you think it’s a little dry, add another tablespoon of Buttermilk, and combine until the dough comes together in a ball

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  • Sprinkle some flour onto a clean surface, and put the dough onto it.
  • Now, using your hands – or a rolling pin if you’re posh – to flatten  and shape it, make it into a round shape , not more than 1.5-2cms deep.
  • Use the knife to cut it into quarters – which is the traditional shape.  However, you can really cut it into any shape you like.

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  • Put the farls onto the preheated pan/griddle. You can dust the pan with a little extra flour if you like.
  • Keeping the heat LOW, allow to cook for about 10 minutes or so – lift one piece with a knife to check what colour it is, and turn it over if it’s lightly browned.
  • Give the second side another 10 minutes – what you’re doing here is cooking it slowly enough for it not to burn, but also to cook the inside of the farl. Don’t be tempted to rush it.
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Note the texture of the Soda farl on the right – I cut in in half to make sure that it was light and airy, as in this picture.


  • When both sides are cooked to your liking, remove and allow to cool for a little while.
  • Serve, toasted with jam – a particular favourite of mine – or with some crispy bacon and a fried/poached egg on top, or as part of an Ulster Fry.
  • The Squirrel knew there was no chance of a wee bit of toasted soda that day :)

November 27th Hillsborough Castle (3)



  • It’s worth noting that Buttermilk becomes thicker with age, so you may need to use more of it if it’s a week or so old.
  • If you’re using the Plain flour, plus Bicarb/Salt option, it’s very easy to add too much Bicarb. This gives you that awful taste that sticks to the back of your teeth, and is almost impossible to  get rid of. If you’ve ever had a scone in a coffee shop that has that effect, you’ll know they’ve used too much Bicarbonate of Soda. Yes, you get a great rise, but at a cost!! Try to get into the habit of carefully measuring out Bicarbonate of Soda for any recipe requiring it.
  • To make sweet farls, just add some sugar – about a tablespoonful – and a drop of Vanilla extract. Adding a handful of raisins makes a delicious treat too.
  • Savoury Soda – add some grated cheese and a little mustard – either mustard powder, or a teaspoonful of made mustard- to make savoury soda farls. They make a great accompaniment to a bowl of homemade soup.
  • You can mix up the changes by making Wheaten farls too – use 2/3rd Wheaten flour to 1/3rd Soda Bread Flour, and sift in a level teaspoon of Bicarb.
  • For other recipes using Soda Bread recipes, check out the rest of the website,  www.eatingforireland.com     or click here:
  • https://eatingforireland.com/recipe/the-white-cottages-soda-bread/

Soda bread from Skerries (4)

Norah Brown's Soda Bread (5)



I started writing down recipes in an old copybook when I was about 16. With 6 children at home, my Mother was always glad of a hand in the kitchen, and really allowed us to experiment - as long as we washed up afterwards, and left the kitchen immaculate! Having a tidy kitchen has followed me through my life, as has the habit of writing down my favourite recipes; except that these days I write them for my website, and add photographs when I can. The website really started when it occurred to me that my daughter might like to have these recipes when I've forgotten them. In my early days of cooking for family and friends, I used to phone my Mum all the time to ask her for the recipe for some of our favourite family dinners. She rarely had a recipe to hand - I think, like me, she made a lot of it up as she went along.. So welcome to Eating for Ireland - these are the recipes that my friends and family having been eating these past 40 years.. yes, I truly am ancient! They are tried and tested, and have worked for me for all that time - I have updated them as new ingredients became available - I really hope you'll find something that you can make into a family favourite of your own. You don't have to tell anyone where you found these great new dishes that you're serving up - it can be our little secret, but I'd really love it if you could give me a sneaky 'follow' on Facebook and Instagram.. So off you go - have a good rummage around, you're bound to find something new! My sincere thanks to all of you who have found a recipe that you liked and dropped me a line to tell me - I really do love to hear from you! Happy Cooking! Becks xx

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