1Set rack in middle of oven and set at 400 degrees.
Turn on some Irish music.
I dice the butter now and put it in the refrigerator to chill.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and soda, and salt and stir well to mix.
2Cut in the butter until it disappears in the dry ingredients.
Stir in the caraway seeds if using and the raisins.
Measure the buttermilk and add the egg and whisk together.
Mix into the dough.
3Turn the sticky dough onto a floured work surface and knead for 1 minute.
Shape into a round loaf.
Transfer to a cookie sheet covered in parchment.
Cut a cross on top with a sharp knife.
4Bake for 15 minutes then reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake for 20-30 minutes more, until well colored and a toothpick plunged into the center emerges clean.
Cool on a rack and serve warm with plenty of soft butter.