Easier than Irish Soda Bread: Make Irish Soda Farls

It is St Patricks day here in the USA and you might want to add a little Irish Soda Bread to your dinner.

Or even easier: Make Soda Farl. Only four ingredients and they take literally minutes to put together.

Easy. Simple. Fast. These are my favourite words when it comes to a recipe.

You can have steaming Soda Farls on the table beside a great big mug of steaming hot tea (or coffee) in 30 minutes.

What is the difference between Soda Bread and Soda Farls? Soda bread is baked in the oven, farls are cut into quarters and are always cooked on a skillet on the stovetop or fire. Farls in Gaelic means fourths.

I think you could bake these on a hot rock Mad!

If you are running short of time or your oven is on the blink or you are travelling around New Zealand in a van , (yes I am talking to you Deb), ou can make these little breads in a heavy bottomed pan on your tiny stove top.

I have read them described as farl and farls so I need a real Irish person to pop in and set me straight. Aunty Google does not always get these things right.

I was looking about for the recipe and found that A_Bolyn has been cooking these too! – Farls Good morning Ms Bolyn!

cup of coffee with a small portion of a Irish Soda farl with butter and jam on a colourful plate.



  • 2 cups flour (I used Red Fife)
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk (because my flour is 100% extraction I needed a little more milk)


  • Sift flour, salt together
  • Mix baking soda with buttermilk
  • Combine
  • Allow to autolyse for at least 20 minutes
  • Put your cast iron pan or griddle on to heat
  • Turn out and lightly knead and shape into a ball
  • Flatten out to about 1/2 inch thick round
  • Cut into quarters


  • Have skillet or cast iron pan heated to a medium heat (not too hot)
  • Lightly dust skillet with flour
  • Place quarters around the outside of the skillet so they are not over the direct heat.
  • Allow to slowly cook for 8-10 minutes then turn and cook another 5 minutes
  • Cook slowly so they bake right through.
  • They will rise while cooking.
  • Wrap in a tea towel to finish cooking.


  • Slice in half.
  • Serve WARM with butter and jam
  • Or as toast the next morning
  • Under a fried egg
  • As croutons on tonights salad
  • Or break up the last furl into crumbs and throw it n the lawn for your birds.


If you don’t have buttermilk

  • 1 cup of regular milk
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice
  • Blend slowly while whisking
  • Allow to sit for 10 minutes to thicken
sunrise over the plains

These really are quite delicious and being only a small portion of bread (which is a good thing around bread gluttons such as myself), there was only a tiny bit left before I remembered to take a photo for you!

The word ‘Farl’ comes from the Scottish word ‘fardel’ which refers to a three-cornered cake or the fourth part of a round.

Enjoy a little Irish today.


Soda Farl wrapped in rustic teatowel.

PS Six generations ago my Irish ancestors came to New Zealand from Galway. So my children are 7th generation New Zealanders and my grandchildren are 8th generation New Zealanders. And we love to be able to tell people we can trace our heritage back to Irish, Italian and good old British.

Though we are New Zealanders through and through.

Families are such convoluted things!

29 Comments on “Easier than Irish Soda Bread: Make Irish Soda Farls

  1. Cannot resist quoting The Bard: ‘For who would fardels bear?’ PS: It is St Patrick’s Day wherever there are Christians, far as I know 🙂

      • Well, the whole world isn’t Christian but, yes, wherever the Christian churches have a presence. It isn’t only the Catholic Church that reveres the saints. Of course, Americans have taken it over and turned it into something totally commercial and over the top, as we do. I was in Dublin once just before St. Patrick’s Day and asked a local how they celebrated there. He replied, ‘Well, if we can afford it, we go to Chicago or New York where they know how to party!’

  2. All 4 of my grandparents were born and raised in Ireland. Maternal grandparents from Armagh, paternal, Galway. Because I’m old, I knew them all.

  3. Hot rocks – I bet people did that in the past, or on top of a range.
    My stepmother is from Galway! Her family are farmers.

  4. Since Doyle is my maiden name, and my family is 6 generations here from Ireland… it’s always fun to Be Irish! Thank you for the recipe! Happy Wearing of the Green today!

    • Not a baker. But I’m tempted to try these just to show my friends that I can. As you know in New Zealand housewives are all great cooks and those of us who are just incomers even though we’ve been here since 1967; just don’t cut the mustard. BTW I have no idea where don’t cut the mustard came from. Wild weather here in Wellington tonight – the wind is surely gale force.

      • Well, you should. It is easy and tasty. They have to like caraway though. It is not an historically Irish recipe though as it calls for margarine.

        • Hi Donna. My mother used to make a caraway seed cake. It was okay but nothing to write home about

          • Well, that’s too bad. For some reason for me the raisins and caraway were a nice combination.

      • I apologize. I thought your were replying to my soda bread post. This one is authentic and you should definitely try it!

  5. Oops sorry Donna. That comment was meant for Cecilia. But I am happy to talk to you. Just popping over to your blog to see what you are up to.

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