A traditional Irish soda bread recipe has only four ingredients - flour, baking soda, buttermilk, and salt. My favorite Irish Soda Bread recipe is a slightly updated version of the classic, with a little sugar, butter, egg, and currants or raisins added to it for improved texture and flavor. It's absolutely delicious served warm with fresh Irish butter slathered on each slice.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter an oven safe 9-inch skillet with cooking spray or line a baking sheet, pie plate, or cake pan with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and currants or raisins and caraway seeds (if using). Stir together to evenly disperse the ingredients.
In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, buttermilk, and butter. Add to the flour mixture and stir together with a spoon or fork just until combined but still very shaggy. It might not seem like enough liquid but resist the temptation to overwork the dough by stirring until completely combined. Knead 10-12 times in the bowl with a spatula or by hand to combine. The dough will be sticky.
Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly a few times with floured hands until it comes together, but again, try not to overwork the dough. The flour should be just moistened but the dough should still be quite shaggy.
Pat dough into a round shape and place in prepared cast iron pan or on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cut an "X" about an inch deep into the top of the loaf using a sharp knife.
Bake for 65-75 minutes until browned on top and baked through. Check for doneness by inserting a wooden skewer into the middle of the bread to test it. If it comes out clean, the bread is done.
Let the loaf of bread cool a few minutes, then remove to a cooling rack. Serve bread warm or at room temperature. It's easier to slice once it has completely cooled, but I can never resist just tearing off a big chunk to eat while still warm with lots of butter on it.
If the bread looks like it is getting too dark while baking, tent with aluminum foil for the remainder of the baking time.