Irish Soda Bread

I was recently in the mood to make Irish soda bread. It's the perfect thing on a relaxed weekend morning. The thing that I like about it is that it is kind of like a giant scone and a loaf of bread all in one, but easier to make than either one of those. I like to add golden raisins to the mix, but you could use any dried fruit or leave it out all together. I also like to serve this with honey butter, though this too is optional. Honey butter is good on all manner of things like biscuits, corn bread, or plain ol' toast. Enjoy this combo with a cup of coffee or tea and you will be a happy camper.

Irish Soda Bread
4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 3/4 cup cold buttermilk
1 egg
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
1 cup golden raisins
Honey butter (see below)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line sheet pan with parchment paper.

Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Add butter and mix on low until the butter is the size of small peas. Whisk together egg, buttermilk and orange zest together in small bowl. With the mixer on low add the buttermilk mixture. Then add the raisins and mix until just combined. It will be very wet.

Dump the dough onto the parchment lined baking sheet. With floured hands shape it into a round. Lightly cut an X into the top with a serrated knife. Bake for 45-55 minutes until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Also, the bread will have a hallow sound if you tap on it.

Serve warm or at room temperature with honey butter if desired.

Honey Butter
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 tablespoons honey
Pinch kosher salt

Place all items in stand mixer. Beat on medium for a few minutes until well blended and fluffy. Scrap into a bowl and serve.

Note: can be made several days in advance. Store in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before using.