Irish Soda Bread with Raisins and Orange Zest

3 c. all-purpose flour

1 c. cake flour

2 Tbl. sugar

1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar

1 1/2 tsp. salt

2 Tbl. unsalted butter, cold

   plus 1 Tbl. melted butter for brushing loaf

1 3/4 c. buttermilk

grated zest of 1 orange 

3/4 c. raisins 


Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a large bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, cake flour, sugar, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt.  Cut 2 Tablespoons of cold butter into chunks and add to the flour mixture.  Using your clean hands, work the butter into the dry ingredients until it is completely incorporated.  Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add 1 1/2 cups of the buttermilk that has been mixed with the orange zest.  Use a fork to work the ingredients together.  Mix in the raisins.  Add up to another 1/4 cup of buttermilk, adding 1 Tablespoon at a time, until a dough forms.  


Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and pat together to form a 6'' round.  Place dough into an 8'' inch (or larger) cast-iron skillet.  If you don't have a cast-iron skillet you can use a baking sheet, but the outside won't get as crispy.  Use a sharp knife and cut an "x" into the top of the loaf, about 5-inches long and 3/4-inch deep.  Bake for 40 minutes.  Remove from oven and brush with 1 Tablespoon of melted butter.  Cool for a few minutes, slice and serve.  Best if eaten on the day it is made.        


adapted from: Cooks Illustrated