Another very simple Irish soda bread. This one takes a little advance planning, as the oats must be soaked overnight in the buttermilk, but it is otherwise extremely quick. You can cut it into 8 or 12 scones if the farls seem too big for your purposes.
We ate some of them with butter and cheese, and some with butter and jam. Delicious either way. They were a bit delicate but cut nicely with some caution. Appealing as they are right out of the oven, it’s best to give them at least 15 minutes to cool before serving.
I’ve been making these regularly this winter – they are really good, and the amount of effort involved is so minor. There is something about the texture of them that I really like.
4 to 8 servings
45 minutes – 15 minutes prep time – plus overnight in the fridge
2 cups raw rolled oats
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 1/4 cups soft unbleached wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
a little more buttermilk as needed
Mix the rolled oats with the buttermilk, and cover and refrigerate overnight. Transfer it to a mixing bowl (unless that’s what you refrigerated it in…)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a baking tray, or line it with parchment. Even so, you should sprinkle it with a little bit of flour.
Measure the flour and mix in the baking soda and salt. Mix the flour into the oats and buttermilk. I found myself cutting it in with the edge of my spoon; a pastry cutter might come in handy. The oats soaked up the buttermilk enough to be surprisingly dry and firm.
Once it is all evenly combined, you will find yourself with a dryish but crumbly mixture. Begin adding a little more buttermilk to form a stiff and not sticky dough. I used about another 1/3 of a cup. (If it ends up just a tad sticky, you can dust your hands with flour to handle it, otherwise mix in a little flour, but be careful with that.) It should be fairly smooth; don’t be afraid to knead it but do so for no more than 10 or 15 strokes.
Turn it out onto the prepared baking tray and pat it into a flat circle about an inch and a half thick. Cut it into quarters – a pizza cutter works best – and move them apart from each other an inch or so. Bake for about 30 minutes, until firm and cooked thorough. They won’t really brown on top.
Right on schedule! Last year at this time I made Etta Feruguson’s Oat Cakes. I really don’t do this on purpose! It’s just that early March apparently demands oatty baked goods.