Irish Soda Bread

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day with a slice of rustic Irish Soda Bread with raisins. This bread is a no-yeast bread and is so quick to make - it has no rising time! It is sweetened with raisins and a touch of sugar.

         4½ cups all purpose flour           3 tablespoons granulated sugar          1 teaspoon baking soda          1 teaspoon salt          ¼ cup unsalted butter           1 cup raisins          1 ¾ cup buttermilk          1 large egg          1 teaspoon orange zest

Preheat oven to 375°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Whisk 4 ¼ cups of the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl.

Cut in the butter using a pastry cutter, a knife or your hands.

Use a measuring cup to measure out the buttermilk. Whisk in the egg and orange zest.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Stir the dough with a rubber spatula and add in the remaining ¼ flour, a bit at a time, until the dough is not too sticky.

Tip the dough onto a floured surface. With floured hands, knead the dough a few times until it just stays together. Combine the raisins with 1 tbsp of flour and then knead them into the dough.

Gently form the dough into a round and place it onto the prepared baking sheet. Use a very sharp knife and score an "x" onto the top of the loaf.

Bake until the loaf is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45-50 minutes.