Have you got the winning Recipe for the 2017 Champion Bread Competition to be baked and judged at Clonakilty Agricultural Show on Sunday, 11th June by Chef Adrian of TV3 and RTE fame.

The judges will be looking for creative, tasty recipes that will work in any kitchen, maybe it has an usual ingredient or different baking style that makes it stand out from all the rest.  The recipe must be original, not copied from a book or website.  It must be family friendly, healthy, easy to make and carry a descriptive name which can come from the ingredients or the recipe’s history.

There will be 3 categories

  1. Soda bread baked in a loaf or round tin
  2. Loaf with a twist (unusual ingredients or different baking styles, etc)
  3. Loaf suitable for someone with a special health conditions i.e. celiac, lactose intolerance or diabetic

While we are led to belief that the traditional soda bread recipe has been around for thousands of years, it comes as a surprise that one of the main ingredients Bicarbonate of Soda was first introduced into Ireland in the 1840s.

Soda bread was made with only the most basic of ingredients flour, baking soda, soured milk and salt.  Before baking, a cross was cut on the top with a knife, to ward off the devil and protect the household.

Back then, potatoes and milk made a nutritious enough meal to exist on and you could grow more potatoes per acre than any other crop, so the soda bread was probably not made as much because of this reason.

In September of 1845 a blight hit the potato crops and while some say that soda bread was invented during the great potato famine this is not true but it did become popular in Ireland at this time, so I am sure the famine spurred it’s popularity.

Bread-making was an integral part of daily life in almost every home. Families lived in isolated farmhouses where most kitchens had only open hearths, so the breads that developed were baked on griddles or in large three-legged black iron pots over fragrant turf fires. This method resulted in a loaf that was tender and dense, with a slight sour tang and a hard   crust.

Today, the tradition still carries on, Irish families continue to bake their own bread daily from specially treasured recipes passed down through the generations.  There are a number of new twists to the main ingredients of flour, baking soda with the introduction of seeds and some other new ingredients available and the established favourite soda bread continues to be treat with tourists and locals alike and is often the topic of conversation for many, following the weather of course..

Entries to include your Recipe, photography if possible, your name, address, contact number and which category you wish to enter your bread – 1, 2 or 3 (as above), to be send to Donal McCarthy, Champion Bread 2017 Competition, Ballinard, Ballineen, Co  Cork or by email to clonakiltyagrishow@gmail.com with subject matter Champion Bread 2017 Competition.  Closing date for entries is Friday,12th May 2017.  There are prizes, Rosettes and Trophies for the winner  in each section.