Unlike a yeast bread, this famous Irish quick bread requires no long-rise. It's a perfect accompaniment to corned beef and cabbage or just smeared with Irish butter. Slideshow: More Bread and Biscuits Recipes
Preheat oven to 375°F.
In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, caraway seed, and 2 teaspoons salt. Stir in the raisins and the buttermilk until a dough forms. Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead for 6 minutes. Form the dough into a disk and transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Using a sharp knife, cut an X into the dough, then brush with the butter.
Bake the bread until golden and hallow-sounding when tapped, about 40 minutes. Let the bread cool completely, about 2 hours, then serve.
The Ballymaloe Cookbook has a wonderful recipe for Irish Soda Bread--several, in fact. I make the one with just caraway in it. Definitely left the baking soda out of the recipe above--don't make it!