DISH: Irish Soda Bread at Blue Duck

Irish soda bread from Blue Duck Bakery.

Everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day — and they want their Irish soda bread.

Good thing Blue Duck Bakery is making 600 loaves this week.

“The week before St. Patty’s, that’s when it really explodes,” said Keith Kouris, who owns and operates four locations in Southampton, Riverhead, Greenport and Southold with his wife, Nancy. “Our soda bread recipe comes from an old Irishman. Our first venture into baking, which was 1981, was a Scottish-Irish deli that had a little bakery attached to it. And there was an Irish baker there and we used his formulas. He used to say these came directly from Ireland and Scotland, depending on what the recipe was, so these were supposed to be very authentic.”

The key is steering clear of baking powder, Kouris said. Instead, Blue Duck uses a combination of cream of tartar and baking soda, as well as a mix of flours instead of a straight pastry flour. And then there’s buttermilk, of course, he said.

“It’s a little bit of a process, but we feel it comes out better, moist, and it’s traditional to this formula that we have from this Irishman many years ago, and we’ve been making it ever since,” he said of the traditional loaves, which sell for $5.99 apiece. “It seems to be very popular. It’s something we only have once a year and people just get in the spirit.”