Irish Soda Bread


3 cups  all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons  granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons  cold unsalted butter, cut in small pieces
¾ cup raisins
1 tablespoon caraway seeds (optional)
1 ½ cups  buttermilk

Preheat oven to 375 ° and place the rack in the center of the oven.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and
salt. Cut the cold butter into small pieces and blend into the flour
mixture, with a pastry blender or your hands, until the mixture looks
like coarse crumbs. 

Stir in the raisins. Make a well in the center of
the flour mixture and add most of the buttermilk. Using yours hands,
or a spatula, mix (adding more buttermilk if necessary) until you have
a soft moist dough.

Transfer to a lightly floured surface and gently knead the dough into
a 7-inch  round. Place the round on your prepared baking sheet and
then, with a sharp knife, cut a ¼ inch deep "X" across the top of the

Bake for about 40 - 50 minutes or until nicely browned and a toothpick
inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean. You can also
test that is fully baked by tapping the bottom of the bread - it should sound hollow. Remove from oven.
Cool slightly and serve with lots of butter!

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