Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a 9-inch black cast-iron skillet or cake pan and dust with flour.
In a large bowl, mix 4 cups of the flour with the baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, and caraway seeds. Add the raisins, mixing them in with your fingers to make sure they are separated. Add the buttermilk to the bowl and mix with a fork until the mixture forms a dough.
Sprinkle about 1/4 cup more of the flour on a board or counter. Turn out the dough and knead for about 5 minutes, working in the flour from the board and forming the dough into a smooth round loaf about 8 inches in diameter. (If the humidity is high and the dough is very sticky, you may need to add another 1/4 cup of flour to the board.)
Press the dough evenly into the prepared skillet or pan and cut a cross 1/2 inch deep across the top. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the loaf sounds hollow when rapped on the bottom. Remove the loaf to a wire rack and rub the top with butter. Sprinkle with sugar. Let the bread cool completely before slicing.
This Irish bread tastes even better the second day and is particularly good for breakfast.
Makes one large loaf.
[ The Redbook Breadbook ]
Posted by Fred Peters.