Image and recipe by Julia Georgallis. Originally published in January 2021 for The Bread Companion
Ahhh, the double carbohydrate. So naughty, but tastes so nice. Of all the double carb combinations, perhaps bread and potatoes have a particularly special relationship. From Russia to Mexico, potato bread and its many forms has travelled far and wide. The Gaelic kind, however, is one of my favourites — potato farls in Ireland and stovies or tattie scones in Scotland. To make this bread, there is no fermenting required, just frying. They don't take long to make and can be eaten as part of a hearty, warming breakfast with an egg or smoked salmon, or with a stew for dinner. In this recipe for the potato farl, I've swapped the baking soda usually used in Irish bakes for sourdough and have also given you the option to use sweet potatoes instead of the regular kind.
450 g potato, peeled and sliced into 2 cm thick pieces (you can also use sweet potatoes)
70 g sourdough starter
90 g white flour, plus extra for rolling
50 g whole wheat flour
Salt, pepper and nutmeg
Plant milk, olive oil butter (you can use animal milk or butter too, I just don't as I'm plant based these days).
1. Boil the slices of potato until soft - ideally for 30 minutes.
2. Drain the water, add a glug of oat milk and a generous helping of olive oil or another plant based butter to the pan of potatoes. Beat to make a smooth mash.
3. Add in flour to the mash, mixing until the dough comes away from the side of the pan - it will always be sticky but if it's too watery, add a few more handfuls of flour.
4. Season the dough with salt, pepper and a pinch of nutmeg.
5. Generously flour a work surface, tip out dough and divide into four quarters, rolling each quarter into a ball. Coat the dough balls in the flour so that they are easier to manipulate.
6. Oil and heat a cast iron or heavy bottomed frying pan until it is very hot.
7. Taking one piece at a time, flatten each dough ball into a circular disc shape with well floured hands, so that each is about half a centimetre thick.
8. Add the flat discs the pan and fry on each side for about 3 minutes, so that the outside is browned, making sure you flip them often so that the dough doesn't burn.
9. When all farls are fried, using a sharp knife, divide into quarters - the word 'farl' in fact means fourths, so this is the traditional way to eat them!