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Preparation Time : 30
Cook Time : 25
Total Time : 55
4cups unbleached flour
4tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1tablespoon baking powder
1teaspoon baking soda
2cups dried currants or 2 cups dried cranberries
1 3⁄4 cups buttermilk
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine the flour and butter, working it with your fingers until it has the consistency of coarse oatmeal. Add the sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and currants, still mixing with your fingers. Beat the egg and buttermilk together. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the egg-buttermilk mixture. Stir until well blended. Form into a ball.
Lightly dust a clean surface with flour and knead the dough for 3-4 minutes, until smooth. Divide it into 16 equal portions. Shape each portion into a ball and place the balls at least 3 inches apart on a greased baking sheet. Gently press the top of each bun with a palm of your hand to flatten it slightly. Using a very sharp knife dipped into flour cut an inch-deep cross on the top of each bun. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until golden and crusty. Cool on a wire rack.
To Package: Buns and muffins look special when individually wrapped. To emphasize their simple origin, place each Irish Soda Bread in the center of a 12-in. square of brown butcher paper or tan tissue paper and twist all edges upward to resemble a flower. Present the soda breads in a low basket with a shamrock-shaped label.
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