Makes 1 Loaf
4 Cups All Purpose Flour
1/3 Cup Granulated Sugar
1 Teaspoon Fine Sea Salt
2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1 Tablespoon Caraway Seeds, Optional
4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter (Preferably Irish Butter), Cold and Cut into 8 Pieces
2 Cups Golden or Dark Raisins, Soaked in Whiskey (Optional. In a small bowl, pour 1/4 Cup Whiskey over the raisins and let them soak for a few minutes. Drain well before using.)
1 ½ Cups Buttermilk
1 Large Egg
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Large Egg Yolk (For the Glaze)
1 Tablespoon Heavy Cream (For the Glaze)
Preheat oven to 350 Degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and the optional caraway seeds.
Cut in the butter with your finger tips or a pastry cutter. (Using your fingers is the most efficient way to cut in the butter. Just be sure the butter is super cold.) Add the raisins and stir until evenly distributed.
In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg with a fork and add the buttermilk. Add the baking soda and stir to combine. Pour the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture all at once and combine with a fork until all of the liquid is absorbed and the mixture starts to hold together. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead until the dough comes together. Don’t over work it or it will be a tough bread.
Form the dough into a round, domed shape 7 to 8 inches in diameter. Place on prepared sheet pan.
In a small bowl mix together the egg yolk and cream and brush the top of the bread all over with the egg wash. Cut a cross into the top of the bread about half an inch deep.
Place the sheet pan in the oven and bake the bread for 60 to 70 minutes, rotating the pan half way through the baking time. Bake until the bread is golden brown and a wooden skewer comes out clean when inserted into the center.
Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire cooling rack. Cool completely before cutting.