Are you wondering what happened to dessert? Well, I'm taking a tiny break from sweets today to offer you something slightly savory for a change. But -- it involves baking and pancakes, so it ticks all the boxes: comfort food, baking therapy, and unusual food exploration. My kind of recipe ;)
About a year ago someone told me about these things called Irish Potato Farls -- a traditional breakfast side that's something like a cross between bread and a pancake. When I heard there's a way to potato, bread, and pancake all in one go, I was of course very interested. Vegan and gluten-free potato bread? I'm totally in!
I also thought my husband would love these, so there was extra incentive to make something that wasn't cake since he doesn't really like sweets (? I know!) but anything potatoes and bread will get his attention pretty quickly. I went to play in the kitchen and made some farls. And we loved them.
We don't have them as a traditional breakfast side though (I wouldn't forgo my sweet breakfasts for a thing!), but as a part of dinner these are amazing and very filling, cozy, and satisfying.
It's a bit confusing to understand how these are both a pancake and a bread. We've been eating these plenty, and I still couldn't tell you to be honest :). If you want to get even more confused, I'm throwing in the word potato latkas in here, and maybe even bourekas, because you kind of get a hint of everything in one go.
I experimented with these in different ways, though, over time. You can see that in these photos they look a bit different from one another. The main difference is that some are baked and some are fried. The pan-fried version can be seen in the photo above, the baked version in the photo below. Surprisingly it's like a completely different recipe, depending on which way you make it, even though the ingredients are the same.
Pan fried is more like a potato patty, or a bit like latkas. Pancake-like. The edges get lightly crispy, but the inside is a soft and potato-y.
Baked in the oven turns out a bit more bready -- still soft on the inside, but with a crisp airy edge quality to it (especially once cooled a little). The inside is still soft and potato-y though -- not at all like a sliceable bread. Sort of like a potato-stuffed naan actually.
I couldn't tell you which one I prefer more. I guess it's more what I'm in the mood for. Both are delicious. I usually make half the batch in the oven and half in a pan just for variety, and then save some for a later meal (they keep and re-heat well, though are tastiest when hot and freshly made).
I like to top mine with some hot pepper flakes and black sesame seeds. They're good with a bit of vegan butter too (though I usually have mine without). Also good as a makeshift toast base for mashed avo ?. And you can totally play around with throwing in more spices, leaving out the salt, etc. I usually improvise with what I've got on hand.
I am putting these out with a massive disclaimer though (in the hopes no Irishmen and women with pitchforks come after me for such an odd and unconventional farls recipe ;)). The method here is a bit unusual, but that's what works best for me for a gluten-free version of potato farls.
There are different ways to make traditional farls. More often than not, the dough is kneadable (i.e. firmer and can be handled). I have made it that way but found the flavor of gluten-free flour overwhelmed it (regular wheat flour has a different taste and consistency so it's a bit more forgiving and can be used in a larger quantity + the gluten makes the kneading work best).
My batter is thinner and stickier (and I threw a few spices in there because I liked the flavor like that -- personal preference). I'm fine with less flour, more potatoes, and some simple batter-scooping action personally (plus my hands stay cleaner in the process!) -- it works and it's delish.
P.S. if you want to make this with regular flour you can just replace the rice flour + starch with wheat flour, and you can also add more flour so that you can shape your "breads" by hand if you like. Usually you make a big pancake, cut it into quarters and fry on either side.
Irish Potato Farls
A warm, cozy gluten-free Irish potato farl recipe that tastes like a cross between a pancake and bread.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 4-6 pancakes or breads
- Category: Bread
- Method: Baked
- Cover potatoes with water in a small pot and boil until you're able to easily piece one with a fork (should take about 15-20 mins). Strain, reserving ¼ cup of the water the potatoes cooked in and discard the rest of the water. Allow potatoes to cool off for about 10 mins (don't leave too long*).
- Place potatoes, saved water, and all remaining ingredients except flour in a mixing bow. Use an immersion blender to blend the potatoes down into a rough mash in the bowl (can do this in a food processor if you don't have an immersion blender).
- Add in flour and mix it into the potato mixture by hand to thoroughly combine. You should have a sticky dough at this point.
- FOR MAKING IN OVEN (skip to next step if making in pan): Pre-heat oven to 350F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and set aside. Shape batter into of large ovals with your hands (shaped like a naan-bread) and place onto the parchment-lined baking tray (they should be about ¾" tall in height roughly). Bake in a pre-heated oven for approximately 40 mins (keep an eye out and remove from oven once the tops are nice and golden). Cool the tray on a rack for a few minutes, and enjoy!
- FOR MAKING IN A PAN: If planning to make these oil-free, use a really good non-stick skillet and cook the pancakes in a bit of water or broth (I use water). Or if not oil-free, heat a bit of oil on the pan for cooking. Scoop some of the batter onto the pre-heated pan (can do multiple pancakes at a time depending on pan size) and press down with a flat spatula to flatten a little. Cook the pancakes on medium-low heat for a few minutes on each side, flipping back and forth every so often, until they look nice and golden. Transfer onto a plate and repeat with remaining batter. Enjoy!
*Don't let the potatoes cool too long, as in my experience when they've been left to cool for a while then the bread comes out mushy / wet on the inside.