Cheesy soda farls

Cheesy soda farls

How to Cook Bread
Peter Cassidy

Similar to soda bread in flavour, soda farls are cooked directly over the heat, and served hot, like crumpets or English muffins. Farl is Gaelic for ‘4 parts’, and traditionally the dough is divided into quarters before cooking. However, they can be made in any size or shape; just adjust the cooking time accordingly.


Quantity Ingredient
225g plain flour, plus extra to dust
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
pinch cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon english mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
30g parmesan cheese
150-165ml buttermilk, (see note)
unsalted butter, melted, to serve


  1. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, cream of tartar, cayenne pepper, mustard powder and salt into a large bowl. Grate the Parmesan and stir into the dry mixture.
  2. Make a well in the centre and pour in 150ml buttermilk. Using a cutlery knife, mix to a soft, spongy dough, adding a little more buttermilk if necessary. Remove to a lightly floured surface and knead gently for 30 seconds to 1 minute until just smooth; don’t over-work the dough or the cooked farls will be heavy and poorly risen.
  3. Flour a rolling pin and roll the dough into a circle about ¾–1cm thick. Using a large, sharp knife dipped into a little flour to prevent it from sticking, cut into quarters.
  4. Put a frying pan over a medium heat and dust with a little flour. Lay the farls in the floured pan and cook for 5–6 minutes until the bottoms are lightly browned, checking regularly to make sure they are not catching around the edges. Turn them over, using a fish slice, and cook for a further 5–6 minutes, or until cooked through. If your pan is not large enough and you need to cook these in batches, heat your oven to 180°C and your first batch can finish cooking in the oven once browned, while you cook the second batch in the pan.
  5. Brush with plenty of melted butter and serve hot from the pan or oven.

A note on buttermilk...

  • If you cannot find buttermilk, use milk and add 2 tsp cream of tartar to the dry ingredients. Alternatively, add 2–3 tbsp lemon juice to ordinary milk and leave in a warm place for 10–15 minutes to sour the milk, which will provide enough acidity for the dough.
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