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IRISH SODA BREAD

Ingredients

4 cups + 3 tablespoons flour, divided

4 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons salt

4 tablespoons cold butter

1 cup raisins

1 ¾ cup buttermilk

1 large egg

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine 4 cups of the flour, the sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine.

Cut the butter into small pieces and massage it into the flour mixture with your fingers until it is broken into bits the size of a pea or smaller.  Add the raisins and stir until they are all coated.

Whisk the buttermilk and egg together until well blended and add it to the dry ingredients.  Mix with a fork until the batter is stiff and the flour is mostly incorporated.

Spread the remaining 3 tablespoons of flour on the countertop and dump the dough on top of it.  Push the dough together with your hands forming a ball.  Knead several times, turning the dough until there are no more wet areas and most of the flour is absorbed into the dough.

Form the dough into a ball and cut a large X in the top from side to side and about ¾” – 1” deep.  This will help the bread cook evenly in the center.  Place the dough in a well-oiled cast iron skillet (or on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper).

Bake for 40-45 minutes until golden brown and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  If the bread is getting very dark during cooking, you can tent with foil after 20-25 minutes.

Let the bread cool slightly for 10-15 minutes.  Slice and serve… with Irish butter, of course.

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