Rachel Gaffney has a mission -- to introduce real Irish food to the U.S. market.
Gaffney launched her business Rachel Gaffney's Authentic Irish Goods...Bringing The Real Ireland to Life seven years ago in Texas because she noticed that “people’s perception of the Ireland I knew was somewhat distorted.”
Gaffney was getting tired of the green beer and cabbage approach.
She launched her company with her flagship product, traditional Irish butter shortbreads, followed by lemon zest shortbreads. She will soon launch a recipe for ground espresso and shaved Belgian chocolate.
But she is best known for her Irish soda bread. The American public goes wild for it.
“I have been traveling around the U.S. teaching Irish cooking classes in culinary schools and on television since,” Gaffney told the Irish Voice.
“I subleased a bakery when I started off and baked all through the night to meet the orders. This is an emerging brand, and a brand which I intend to be synonymous with Quality. Therefore there are no shortcuts.”
As soon as the rest of the country began asking for a piece of the Cork woman’s time she outsourced the production of her bakery in Chicago and got on the road.
“I have been building a company that both educates and entertains people about the real Ireland,” she said.
Gaffney, born and raised in Cork City, wants the world to know, through her culinary lessons, that Irish people are “highly educated with a rich cultural tapestry.”
Gaffney’s long-term goals are “to grow this company so that it will be a nationally recognized brand within a few years.”
It was her upbringing that gave her the drive she has today for business.
“Born and raised in Ireland, I was never a stranger to hard work. My father ran a chain of newsagents as they were called then,” she says.
While St. Patrick’s Day fast approaches, stores begin to stock their shelves with Irish soda bread. There’s only one small problem, says Gaffney. “It’s not authentic Irish soda bread.”
But don’t fear, Gaffney has kindly agreed to share her recipe for soda bread with Irish Voice readers, and a few other delicious Irish dishes.
IRISH SODA BREAD
3 1/3 cups whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 tablespoons wheat germ
2 teaspoons rolled oats, plus 2 teaspoons rolled oats for sprinkling
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 quart buttermilk
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
In a large bowl mix all dry ingredients. Make a well in the center and add liquid ingredients. Mix together well, trying not to handle too much.
Form a ball gently with your floured hands. Do not work this bread like traditional yeast breads. Sprinkle with remaining oats.
Place on a lightly greased baking sheet; make a cross in the bread with a sharp paring knife and bake for 45 minutes. Cool on wire rack.