Last year's Maureen Farrell McCarthy Irish Soda Bread Competition was a great success, testimony to the importance in our lives of a living expression of our heritage that gets handed down from one generation to another.
Many of the 35+ entrants came from the Capital Region, but others had travelled from Poughkeepsie, western Massachusetts and New York to join the fun. And scores and scores of visitors came throughout the day to taste and enjoy; some as far away as Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Connecticut and Syracuse.
Thank you Museum Trustee and Irish American Chef, Harold Qualters, creator of the annual amateur competition, and to our judges, Chef Michael Kiernan (Corporate Chef, Stewart Shops), Chef Peter Desmond (Culinary Educator, Hudson, NY) & Museum Trustee, Pat Hale. They spent hours tasting the breads based on a set of metrics developed by Chef Qualters.
Thank you to our sponsors: Price Chopper Supemarkets, Integro, 2Shea Catering, Panera Bread and Bountiful Bread, Zachary's Pastry Shoppe, Schulyer Bakery and Bob Reilly of the American Kerry Cattle Society.
Entrants provided two loaves of every bread they entered: one for the judges and one to be cut for the visitors to taste and vote for the "People's Choice" award. At the competition’s conclusion, remaining uncut portions were donated to a local shelter.
A contest winning recipe appears below:
Traditional White Irish Soda Bread by Marianne Burke
2 cups White Flour
1 tsp Salt
1 cup Buttermilk
1 tsp Baking Soda
Mix dry ingredients; stir in buttermilk. Form into a round loaf and place on a baking sheet or stone and cut a cross on top. Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes; reduce heat to 350 and bake an additional 25 minutes.