Irish Soda Bread

Bake time: 45 to 50 minutes
Makes two 8-inch rounds, about 6 to 8 servings per bread
This recipe is from "Great Coffee Cakes, Sticky Buns, Muffins & More

4 cups sifted, unbleached all-purpose flour, spooned in and leveled, plus
2 to 3
tablespoon s for kneading
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, at room
1 to 2 cups dark raisins, plumped
1 1/3 cups buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 large eggs
1 large egg white
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon water

Position the oven shelf in the lower third of the oven. Heat the oven to
375 degrees. Generously butter two 8-inch layer pans. In a large mixing
bowl, thoroughly whisk together the flour, sugar, caraway seeds, baking
powder and salt. Add the butter to the flour mixture, and using a pastry
blender, work the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture
resembles coarse meal. Stir in the raisins. In a small bowl, blend
together the buttermilk, baking soda, whole eggs and egg white. Stir the
liquids into the flour mixture, blending together with a fork. When
liquids are absorbed, turn the batter onto a floured work surface. The
mixture will be sticky. With floured hands, knead lightly just until the
dough is smooth. Divide the dough in half. Working with one piece of dough
at a time, lightly flour the cut side and shape into a ball. Place into a
layer pan and flatten slightly. Using a single-edge razor blade or a sharp
knife held at a 25-degree angle, cut a 4-inch cross, about 1/2-inch deep
in the center of each ball. Combine the egg yolk with the water and brush
over the surface of the dough, brushing from the bottom up. Bake for 45 to
50 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and place on a rack
to cool. To slice, cut the soda bread in half with a serrated knife.
Working with one half at a time, place the cut side down on a cutting
board and slice across into 1/2- to 3/4-inch pieces. Store tightly wrapped
in aluminum foil at room temperature for up to three days.

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