Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Potato Farls - Irish Potato Bread
From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...There are two types of farls, or non-rising bread, that can be found in Ireland today. The farl is a circular flat bread that is cut into four wedges for serving, and it's the triangular shape that gives the bread its name. Last year, I posted a recipe for Four Farls that's made from the same type of dough used to make soda bread. Today, I'd like to walk you through the version of the bread that's made from potato mash and flour. This is the more practical of the two recipes because it is a great way to use leftover mashed potatoes. Yeast was not typically used in Irish kitchens of the past. The climate did not lend itself to the type of wheat usually used to make yeast breads, so cooks leavened breads with soda and kept ingredients to a minimum. Farls, of both types, were cooked in skillets on the hob, or stovetop, rather than in ovens. I'm breaking with tradition and will bake, rather than fry, the bread in order to cut back on the amount of butter that is used. The only trick to making this version of farls is the need to use day old mashed potatoes. They simply will not hold together if newly mashed potatoes are used. In Ireland, the farl may be served with soups and stews and used to mop up gravy. They are also used as the base of a breakfast dish called an Ulster Fry in which the farls are topped with things such as blood pudding, rashers, tomatoes or sausage. I used leftover Champ to make the farls I'm featuring today. That worked out wonderfully well because they are so nicely seasoned. If your potatoes are a standard mash, I recommend you add scallions for extra flavor and a bit of color. Whether they are cooked in an oven or stovetop, the farls should not be moved until their underside has browned and crusted. They taste like a cross between a biscuit and potato pancake. I really like these and make them whenever I have leftover mashed potatoes. I think you will enjoy them, too. Here's the recipe.
Potato Farls...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
Optional:1/2 to 1 cup scallions
1/4 cup diced cold butter + butter for serving
2 cups day old mashed potatoes
1/4 cup milk
1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Liberally coat a cookie sheet with vegetable oil or butter.
2) Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl, rub in butter using fingertips until mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
3) Stir in scallions if you are using them.
4) Stir in mashed potato and enough milk to make a soft but not loose dough. Divide dough into two portions and place on a well-greased baking sheet. Pat and roll or press each portion into a 1/2-inch thick round. Mark surface into quarters without cutting completely through dough.
5) Bake for about 20 minutes or until tester inserted into center of farls comes out clean. Top will be very lightly colored but underside of farl will be golden brown. If you wish top to have more color, spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray and run under a broiler for a minute or two. Remove from oven. Cut into quarters and serve immediately. Pass extra butter at table. Yield: 8 servings.
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