English Farl Bread


Well,  I’m back on the bread baking bandwagon again. A few days ago my wife mentioned how much she missed having homemade bread around so I picked the bread book back up and moved on to the next recipe.

This English Farl Bread is much like the Crusty Cob but with a more buttery/salty taste. Like the Crusty Cub, it is backed at the bottom of the oven and is perfect for toasting and served with sweet preserves. This is a traditional peasant bread from England around the 18th century and it will be one I make again.

Much of my bread making efforts over the last six months have been put on hold as I was having problems with the “rising” process. Bread rises best with a dough temperature of  around 99°. Because of the moist and cool climate of the San Francisco bay area, I have had a hard time regulating the temperature and air flow of my kitchen.

However, during this process I found the perfect solution to my problem. I have put a radiator heater in my closet and let it run on 80° while my bread rises. This has allowed me to regulate my the temperature and gives me a place with no air flow. If you’re having problems getting your bread to rise, you may want to try something similar. Hope this tip helps.


If using dry activated yeast, you will want to start by combining your yeast and warm water and allow to stand at room temperature for around 10 minutes or until nice and frothy. Add a pinch of sugar and make sure your water is between 100° and 110° for best results. (read more about yeast)

While the yeast is activating, take and mix flour and salt in a separate bowl. Once yeast is ready add butter  and water/yeast to the flour mixture. Combine well then tip onto a counter dusted lightly with flour. Knead for about 5 minutes by hand then place back in bowl. Cover with a dry dish towel and allow to rise for 1 hour (in the closet if necessary).

Once dough has risen, tip back onto floured counter and shape into a ball. Flatten slightly until dough ball is about 2 inches thick. Place on lined backing sheet (I use pizza stone) and allow to rise for 1 hour.

After your final rising time, lightly dust the top of the dough with flour and make vertical slashes all the way around the dough. Preheat your oven to 425° and bake bread for 3o minutes on the bottom rack of the oven. Transfer to wire rack for cooling then enjoy. Happy Cooking!

Found in:
Hollywood, Paul. 100 Great Breads. Edited by Victoria Alers-Hankey and Barbara Dixon. New York: Cassell Illustrated, 2004.

About DH

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