Irish soda bread is the perfect thing, when fussing around with kneading and proofing yeast dough is just beyond your time and energy. It is very easy, much like making scones, and uses baking soda as its leavening (thus, its name). You can make it plain, or add whatever other flavorings you would like (cinnamon and raisins would be especially good!). Here I added currants and orange zest (á la Ina Garten), for a slight twist on the classic recipe. In a large bowl I combine 4½ cups of all purpose flour, 1/3 of a cup of sugar, a teaspoon of baking soda, one teaspoon of salt, and cut in six tablespoons of cold, diced butter, until it is about the texture of corn meal. In a measuring cup I mix together 1¾ cups buttermilk, one egg, and the zest of one orange. I pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and mix it until just combined. I add about one cup of dried currants, and stir to incorporate. I turn the dough out onto a floured board, and knead it several times, folding the dough over onto itself to develop flaky layers. I cut the dough in half and form each half into a round ball, and chill them in the refrigerator for one hour. (If you are in a hurry you can certainly skip this step, but I have found that without chilling the loaves turn out a little squat after baking). Take the chilled dough, and, with a sharp knife, score an “x” into the top of each. Bake at 375º for a little under and hour, or until a wooden skewer comes out clean when plunged into the center of each loaf. I like to serve this bread with homemade orange marmalade to really echo the orange flavor. Whether toasted or plain, hot out of the oven, or cooled, this quick, easy bread makes a fabulous addition to anyone’s kitchen repertoire. Enjoy!