makes 2 loaves
4 cups (400 g) all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp grated orange rind
2 tsp caraway seeds (optional)
4 tbsp butter, at room temperature
1 cup currants
1/4 cup honey
350 ml (12 fl oz) 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, at room temperature
1/4 cup (4 fl oz) Irish whisky or buttermilk
1/2 tbsp milk blended with 1/2 tbsp Irish whisky, for glaze
1. Generously butter 2 round 8-inch cake or pie pans. Set aside. Heat the oven to 350°F.
2. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, orange peel and caraway seeds in a large bowl.
3. Rub the butter into the flour mixture, using your fingers or a pastry cutter. Stir in the currants.
4. Combine the honey with the buttermilk and the 1/4 cup whisky or buttermilk.
5. Stir into the flour mixture just until the dry ingredients are moistened.
6. Turn the dough out onto a generously floured work surface. The dough will be sticky.
7. Knead for 1 minute. Cut the dough in half, shape each piece into a round loaf and place in the prepared pans.
8. Dip a sharp knife or razor blade into flour and cut a cross on the top of each loaf.
9. Brush each one with the glaze and let stand for 10 minutes.
10. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the bread sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
11. Remove the loaves from the pans and cool on racks.
12. Serve the bread thinly sliced or cut into wedges.
For a lighter texture, invert deep, round cake pans over the loaves as they bake. To brown the crusts, remove the upper pans during the last 15 minutes of baking time