2 cups all purpose flour
4 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons butter, chilled, cut into cubes
1 cup buttermilk
2/3 cup raisins - I like to use a combination of golden and regular raisins as well as dried currants
Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray 8-inch cake pan, cast iron skillet or Dutch oven with nonstick spray.
Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in large bowl to blend. Add cold butter and using fingertips or pastry blender, cut in until coarse meal forms about the size of small peas.
Make well in center of flour mixture and add buttermilk and gradually stir until well blended but still lumpy. Mix in raisins.
Using floured hands, shape dough into ball. Transfer to prepared pan and flatten slightly, dough will not come to edges of pan, just place the round in the middle. Optionally you made sprinkle a tablespoon of granulated sugar over the top of the dough before baking. Although not the traditional method of preparation a lot of recipes call for this.
Bake bread until brown and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool bread in pan and transfer to a cooling rack after about 10 minutes.
Serve warm or at room temperature.