I baked my first loaf of farl yesterday. Not bad. I’m still working on baking that perfect loaf of bread, but get closer with each attempt. I’d probably get closer to perfection a lot sooner if I would stick with making one kind of bread until I got it right. Instead, I try a new type of bread each time. There are so many wonderful bread recipes. How can I choose just one?!
Farl is a hearty, dense, very simple bread, traditionally baked on the bottom of stone ovens used by village bakeries. To get that stone baked effect at home, bake the loaf on an oven stone on the bottom rack of your oven. The “stripes” on top of the loaf are created by dusting the bread with flour and slashing the top with a sharp knife.
This loaf is excellent for toasting. In fact, I had a slice this morning topped with blackberry preserves. Of course, it’s also great straight out of the oven with butter.
- Scant 4 cups white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 packet of yeast
- 2/3 cup butter, softened
- 1 ¼ cups water
- Put all of the ingredients into a bowl and mix for 4 minutes.
- Tip out onto a lightly floured counter and knead for 5 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and pliable. Let stand in an oiled bowl to rise for 1 hour.
- Tip the dough out onto floured counter and shape into a ball, then flatten into a circle about 2 inches/5 cm thick. Set the dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet or directly on a baking stone and let rise for 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F/200 degrees C.
- Sprinkle the top of the dough with flour and, starting from the middle, make vertical slashes across the top of the dough.
- Bake for 30 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.