Food & dining

Soda breads that are true to the ones of Northern Ireland

David McGimpsey

David McGimpsey bakes sweet, creamy soda breads that stay true to the ones of Northern Ireland, where he grew up. He was raised in Belfast and learned how to bake as an apprentice at local bakeries. He makes airy brown breads with coarse whole-wheat flour with distinct flavor and eye appeal. “It’s a different style than in southern Ireland where breads are denser. It’s all in the technique,” says McGimpsey. The 57-year-old immigrated to Boston in 1988 and within four months opened the Keltic Krust Bakery in West Newton. The bakery cafe offered pastries and breads that reflected a taste of his home. He sold the shop in 1996. The business changed hands several times under the same name. Now it’s Judith’s Kitchen, and owner Judith Kalish says customers occasionally come in looking for McGimpsey’s loaves. For the last 13 years, he’s worked as a manager at Nashoba Brook Bakery in West Concord and also runs a side business, a “micro bakery,” he says, called Montgomery’s, named after his grandmother. McGimpsey uses the kitchen at Holliston Superette and on Friday nights and Saturday mornings he turns out dozens of loaves of bread as well as English-style, buttermilk scones, studded with sultan raisins, cranberries, or Belgian chocolate chips. “I wanted to get back to my roots,” says the baker. Every Saturday, the goods are delivered to select shops (breads cost $6 to $6.99 each; four scones about $6.99). Rochelle Desmarais, a bread buyer at Pemberton Farms Marketplace in Cambridge, says, “Irish customers say it’s the closest brown bread to ones they had in Ireland.” Sure enough, they sell out quickly. Montgomery’s breads are available at Kiki’s Kwik-Mart, 236 Faneuil St., Brighton, 617-783-5146; Pemberton Farms Marketplace, 2225 Mass. Ave., Cambridge, 617-491-2244; Judith’s Kitchen, 1371 Washington St., West Newton, 617-916-9282; Marino’s Market & Deli, 1906 Centre St., West Roxbury, 617-469-1700; Holliston Superette, 777 Washington St., Holliston, 508-429-2009.