SOUTH ORANGE, NJ – Cait & Abby’s has been making soda bread, a St. Patrick’s Day special treat, for 18 years.

While Raul Saade has been the owner of Cait & Abby’s for 18 years, he has actually been making soda bread for more than 30 years.

“We make everything here that you see from scratch,” Saade said.

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Saade shared his technique: mix the batter, then add in the buttermilk, and finally add the baking soda. Once the dough is well-blended, the bread is weighed and put on trays. The bakery makes between 18 and 24 loaves each day, and baking starts at 3 a.m.

“We bake everything in the South Orange store,” Saade said, “and then it goes to the Short Hills store.”

Saade makes most of the soda bread with raisins, but on occasion if a customer requests it, he makes it plain or with caraway seeds. He said the soda bread with raisins sells the best. Soda break stays fresh for about three days after purchase, according to Saade.

Some other St. Patrick’s Day treats available at Cait & Abby’s are rye bread, green bagels and shamrock cookies with icing and with green sprinkles.

The Short Hills location is more of a restaurant with a larger menu. “We have sandwiches, paninis, salads, wraps and omelets,” Saade said.

The reporter is participating in a hyperlocal journalism partnership between The Alternative Press and Seton Hall University's Department of Communication & The Arts.