This is the Irish Soda bread that my husband Dan loves throughout the year. I make it quite often, not just on Saint Patrick's Day. I have made other Irish Soda Bread recipes, but this is the one he requests most often. I had to add his name to the recipe so I could distinguish it from the other recipes. The neighbors love it too, they will usually ask if I have enough to share with them, and of course I am always happy to oblighe.
Pour raisins into medium size bowl,cover with water,and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Remove from microwave and set aside to cool. then drain completely. Leave till ready to use.
Lightly spray a jelly roll size pan,baking sheet or 2 cast iron skillets with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
Sift flour, sugar,salt, baking powder, baking soda together in a large bowl,& then pour into a food processor that has been fitted with a metal blade. Secure lid of processor.
Add the cold butter and pulse 8 to 12 times or until mixture resembles course crumbs.
Add the two beaten eggs and buttermilk,and process until dough comes together about a minute or two. NOTE: I LIKE TO COMBINE BOTH THE BEATEN EGGS AND BUTTERMILK IN ONE LARGE MEASURING CUP, AND THEN POUR INTO FOOD PROCESSOR.
Dust work surface with the remaining 1 1/2 cups of flour; turn out the dough onto work surface.
Add the plump raisins and optional caraway seeds if using, knead with floured hands till raisins are incorporated into the dough, and then divide the dough into two equal portions, and shape into two round breads.
Transfer to prepared baking pan or skillet.Brush loaves with egg wash, till covered completely.Then with a serrated knife cut an X in top of each loaf.
Bake in preheated 350 degree F oven for 45 to 50 minutes or until top is golden brown and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. The bread should sound hallow when tapped on the bottom with a knife. Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack for 15 minutes. Slice and serve warm with additional butter.
Makes 2 loaves.Just a word of caution if you do not have a large capacity food processor, you may want to make half the recipe at a time, or finish in a mixer with a dough hook. NOTE: Wendy Whipple Rusch likes to use a 9X5 size Loaf Pan for one of the loaves. It's Like Irish Raisin Soda Bread.
Electric knife works really well for slicing. Plumping the raisins adds moisture to the bread.