Sunday, August 11, 2013

Soda Bread and Scone Winners of 2013


Hi Guys......

It's been awhile.

But sometimes it takes separation to create fondness of content.

Once again, Klecko followed routine and went down to the island to judge the best soda breads and scones at The Irish Fair of Minnesota.

I was one of 3 judges.

This is typical.

This is good.

A person should always feel better about winning an award when it is given by consensus.

A couple of years ago, I blogged about Patti McCann.

Patti won the scone division with a DublinerScone that was to die for.

Even better than the flavor that this scone produced.....was the confidence that winning gave to McCann.

I am proud of her.

I have grown to have a fond place in my heart for her.

Patti came back the following year and repeated.

This is no simple feat.

I wasn't at that event, so I was impressed that another set of judges valued her work.

I'm sure it validated in Patti's mind, how accomplished she has become in scone baking.

So here I am, there I am.....plop a**ed at the 2013 table, wondering if she was competing.

We judges - judged this scone, that scone, everywhere a scone scone......but a funny thing happened.

The last two entries were miles ahead of the other entries.

The second to the last one was m-a-g-n-i-f-i-c-e-n-t .

The scones were tall-strong, and had great separation.

The flavor had an element of sweetness. Sweet enough where they would satisfy the morning consumer, but yet.......

They were even keeled enough that you could have done anything from adding apricot jam to setting pastrami between the scone layers and it would have been the perfect medium.

These scones were rustic-slightly scorched, battered......but in such a sexy way.

I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt.......this was the baked good of the day for me.

Then the next scone came along.

They were uniformed.

They were dainty.

They were buttery.

They were so tender.

They were so girly-girl.

My judging partners seemed to love this one, but I felt that they were squeamish to give it winning marks.

They knew that I preferred the previous rustic one, but I told them.....don't follow Klecko.....

Follow your heart.

The dainty scone ended up winning the blue ribbon.

So after the judging was over, my judging colleagues had left, but I stuck around a bit to talk with the bakers and see if I could give them some tips, or answer any questions on the totals they were issued.

So who walks up and collects that Blue Ribbon for the scone division?????

Yep - Patti McCann.

She did it again, but now the woman who baked the scones that I rated higher was standing next to her, and both ladies were in high spirits.

Both ladies began to run a scone postmortem.

I congratulated both of them, but then I confessed to Patti....for the first time, I voted against her.

This seemed to serve as some kind of minor solace to the runner up.

BTW....for the record her name is Sandra K. Scollon-Bruggemann.

After a couple more minutes of musing passed, I found out that she went to high school in rural South Dakota with Baking 101 Director and StarTribune food writer Kim Ode.

"Kim was a couple years older, she might not remember me, but I knew her younger sister well. They were a quality family."

I started to laugh and asked for some dirt.......

"Was her family (that family)....the rich farm family that lorded over the entire countryside?"

Sandra chuckled.....

"No, not at all"


"But.......her farm was bigger than ours."

Only in St Paul.

Here's McCann's award winning scone recipe from a couple years back, and in my opinion....the best scone I have ever eaten.


3 cups cake flour
1 t. soda
wee bit salt
wee bit sugar
1/3rd cup of grated Kerrygold butter
1 - 1 1/2 cup(s) buttermilk
grated Dubliner 3 ounces
fresh rosemary, sage & thyme
425 about 5 minutes, then drop to 375 until done.


The soda bread competition gets broken into two categories, brown bread.....and white bread.

After the all the ribbons were handed out, a young girl (9ish) approaches my station with her mother.

The kid whispers in her ear, the mom responds......

"Ask him yourself."

Then the mom goes on to tell me that the daughter feels awkward because she speaks with a stutter.

I sat and waited for a minute, then the girl asks......

"What do I have to do to make a better soda bread? When I grow up, I want to own a bakery."

Well I said, lets take a look at your loaf and I'll see what I can see.

So the entry was wrapped up in parchment right?

The kid hands it across the table and as I pulled the layers of paper back.....there it was.

The Blue Ribbon was sitting on top of the loaf.

This kid had made one of the nicer soda breads I had ever seen.

But yet.......even winning didn't satisfy her.

She wanted more.

I want to be like her.


  1. Dear Klecko,
    I feel truly honored. You encouraged me on more than you realize back in 2011! I so appreciated your advice. Love that you remembered me and my scones!
    Out of these contests, I have learned and taken away something new each year.
    The biggest thrill of the day??
    First and foremost, seeing the young girl earn her blue ribbon! It was pure joy to see her look of surprise!
    So, second biggest thrill??
    Your terrific advice, autograph and photo opp! Oh wow!!!
    Thanks so very much!!
    P.S. Yes, those other scones were incredible, so light in the hand! Glad I was there to chat with you and Sandra...great tips!
    What a great blog!!!!

    1. are going to need a trophy case...Just saying. You are the best!!!

  2. wow. i'm in awe of that 9-year-old! i started making soda bread when i was 11. i still make it, though not as often; it's so delicious that i can eat a whole loaf while i't still warm. some day i am entering that damn competition and that 9-year-old better step aside!!