In the north of Ireland, soda farls are the Irish soda bread. My grandmother spent the seventy years of her adult life cooking this wonderful bread on an old-fashioned griddle, before serving it up still warm, butter melting slowly over the top. I’ve put down her recipe here, and also a couple of secret reasons why no one’s soda bread tasted quite like my grandmother’s soda bread
My Grandmother was a remarkable woman; she raised a family of twelve children and ten stepchildren making them fresh soda farls every day for their evening meal. Even after they had all left home she continued making soda bread every day. Her kitchen was always filled with the warm, floury smell of freshly-griddled farls. Eaten still warm, with melting butter and a little home-made jam they were simply delicious.
For anyone who has never tried an Irish soda farl I cannot recommend them too highly – they are a soft, dense bread, very satisfying, and they can be enjoyed savoury in a cooked breakfast or sweetened with clotted cream and jam.
Out of her seventy or so direct descendants, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, no one has succeeded in making soda bread that tasted like my grandmother’s soda bread – despite the fact that she followed a simple recipe.
I’ve asked around my relatives and I think I have figured out a few secrets which helped make my Granmother’s Irish soda farls the best: