Irish Soda Farls (Skillet Scones)

Irish soda farl (farl means four) is a new one for me, they are normally popular in Northern Ireland or Scotland. (Gaelic/Scottish: known as fardel) and although I’ve made traditional American biscuits 1,004 times the concept of not adding butter just hadn’t occurred to me. (I mean really… No butter?) Over the years I cant count the German dishes I’ve prepared, but Irish and Scottish food just kind of slipped my mind. These varieties of cuisine are definitely under the radar as far as the gastronomical world goes, and I never can seem to find a good place to start. It turns out that this simple, rustic recipe is an absolute winner. The usage of butter in old traditional Irish and Scottish kitchens was limited obviously due to shortage of wealth. Actual Irish soda bread  would not traditionally contain sugar, butter, fruits etc. So this recipe as far as I can tell is very very close to authentic, traditional Irish soda breads.

As a kid living in Maine my father and I would go camping every single summer if possible and he would toast our English muffins on the Coleman camp stove. The taste of skillet toasted muffins to this day reminds me of our wonderful summer camping trips. Be sure to try them soon! I’m honestly somewhat amazed at how delicious this recipe is. They were wonderfully moist and the crumbs texture is tender and delicious, not all that far from a lean tasting English muffin. I served these beauties with home made apple butter I preserved in September, and this was such a comforting breakfast.

Irish Soda Farls (skillet scones)

  • 2 Cups All Purpose, Un-Bleached Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 Cup sour milk or buttermilk
  • 3/4 teaspoon each: Salt and sugar
  1. Place a cast iron skillet over medium heat.
  2. In a bowl combine the dry ingredients, and stir the ingredients together with a fork to try and remove any clumps. (If you are using sour milk have this prepared ahead of time.)
  3. Gently stir in the milk and mix the dough just until the mixture is combined.
  4. Place the dough onto a floured surface and knead it 4-5 times, just a few moments until its formed a smooth ball.
  5. Flatten the dough into a round and cut into four pieces.
  6. Dust the skillet with a slight amount of flour just to prevent sticking.
  7. Place the farls into the pan, be sure to keep them from touching, they will expand a good deal.
  8. Cook each side approximately 10 minutes. Flip them around and adjust the heat to prevent burning.
  9. Once your relatively sure they are cooked remove the skillet from the heat and wrap them in a tea towel.
  10. Place them back into the skillet and allow to rest 5-10 minutes. This will insure that they cook the rest of the way, and it will let the browned parts soften slightly. If you are really unsure and you don’t mind prodding your scones the general rule for bread is that you would like it internally to be 190 degrees.

Split them open and serve them with butters, curd, jam or serve with a hot supper to sop up gravy!