Whilst the water turns green in Ireland for the day, I have my own little ritual to celebrate things uniquely Irish.
St Patrick’s day has and always will be synonymous with my grandmother. She passed away on this day. It is as clear as crystal, the whole package that is my memory of her. It was many, many years ago, I was a child but old enough to fondly remember so much of her.
Her tiny kitchen was always filled with the warm, floury smell of freshly-griddled farls, ready to be served, still warm, as I would return home from school.
Even though, some years ago, I needed to break up with wheat, I couldn’t help but return to this comforting memory.
Food is memory. So when the memories are so good, how can that be bad?
I would play with this idea adding my usual twist.
Traditional soda farls are made with buttermilk, and kefir is my choice.
Kefir is having its moment as we all (finally) fall in love with its wonders, so here I give you: Kefir spelt soda farls
Kefir Spelt Bread
700g Spelt flour
Mix well together, it may be hard to stir, you may want to knead. Let sit overnight.
The next day add
1 tsp baking soda (dove’s farm brand)
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp melted coconut oil or butter
Mix well and place in two well-greased loaf pans. Cover loosely and place in a warm place to rise overnight.
Bake at 180C for 30 mins, loaves will sound hollow when done.
There are a few considerations.
The dough is of a thick but a workable consistency and I really prefer to work it with my hands! After leaving it overnight, it is wonderfully stringy and it is very manageable to work in the other ingredients
Also traditional soda bread was made on the pan/griddle whatever ya like to call it. You might not even have one so a wide flat fyring pan will do.
I have never made this bread in this way but if you wished to give it a go warm your griddle/pan. Then dust it with a little dry flour to stop the farl mix from sticking.
Now that your dough has risen, turn it out onto a floured board, knead lightly to form a round shape, then flatten it lightly with a rolling pin or something similar, as you might not have one of these either.
Cut the circle into four or eight wedges and bake them on the griddle, a few wedges at a time.
It should take around 5 -10 mins each side, depending on how hot your griddle is. Getting the temperature right is key, this was the secret in great soda bread cooking. Get your griddle at a good temperature – if it is smoking it is too hot! It could be a just a traditional muse, as I am so happy with how this bread turns out in the oven that i have not ventured to the griddle!
This is a bread of context, everything to do with being Irish, full of respect for my lineage and source, yet absolutely nothing to do with St. Patrick.