Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes
Difficulty: Easy - for beginners
Serves: 1 loaf
4 Cups flour
2 TBS sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
4 TBS cold butter cubed
1 cup raisins (dried cranberries or currants can be used)
1 egg beaten
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
Preheat oven to 425F
In a large bowl sift all dry ingredients together. Add butter and cut in with a pastry cutter or with your hands until it looks like coarse cornmeal.
Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Add beaten egg and buttermilk to well and mix in with a wooden spoon until dough is too stiff to stir. Dust hands with a little flour, then gently knead dough in the bowl just long enough to form a rough ball. If you overwork the dough your bread will be tough. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and shape into a round loaf.
Cut an X in the dough about 1/2" deep (this step actually serves a purpose so make sure you cut deep enough)
Bake for 40 minutes until golden brown.
This bread is best served warm so if you eat as a leftover heat it back up in oven or microwave.