Crusty, buttery, and full of flavor. This Irish Soda Bread might not be the most traditional version ever created, but it is quite possibly the most delicious!
4cups+ 3/4 cup all-purpose flourdivided
1/2cup1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into squares
1tablespoonfreshly grated orange zestfrom 1 medium orange
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a cookie sheet with a silicone mat or a piece of parchment paper, or coat with non-stick spray.
In a large bowl, mix together the four cups flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt.
Add the butter and with a pastry blender or your fingers, squeeze and mix the butter in with the flour mixture until the butter is about the size of peas.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, egg, and orange zest.
Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Stir with a wooden spoon just until the dough starts to come together. Add the dried cranberries and stir just until incorporated. The dough will be wet and sticky.
Spread some of the remaining flour onto a flat surface and turn the dough out onto it. Sprinkle a bit more flour over the bread and begin kneading, adding more flour as you go, until the bread is no longer sticky and you're able to knead it easily.
Form dough into a round loaf and place on the baking sheet. With a sharp knife, cut an "X" into the top.
Bake for 45 - 55 minutes, or until golden brown and the bread sounds a little hollow when you knock on it. You can also try using a cake tester just to be sure - when it comes out clean, it's done.
Let cool for at least 10 minutes, then slice, butter, and serve. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap; keeps at room temperature for up to 3 days.