Yeast bread and I have an interesting relationship. I’ve made cinnamon rolls and had them turn out amazingly, but some of my attempts at bread have resulted in dense, almost inedible loaves. I learned from my grandma who learned from her mother that yeast breads are temperamental. The weather, the flour, the ingredients, and your mood while kneading all have an impact on the dough. It might sound crazy, but when I make bread if I’m in an angry mood it never turns out!
So, on your next relatively nice day when you’re in a good mood, try making some handmade cinnamon currant bread. You don’t need a mixer for this; it can be made completely by hand. The buttermilk creates a wonderful texture and the currants are a surprising twist. If you don’t have currants, you can use raisins instead. Give your bread plenty of time on it’s first rise. Bread making requires a lot of patience, but the reward is worth it.
1 cup buttermilk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons honey
1 packet instant yeast (About 2.25 teaspoons, not the quick rise kind)
4 cups flour (more if needed)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup currants
For the filling:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1. Add the milk, butter, and honey to a microwavable bowl or small saucepan. Heat until the butter is melted and the liquid reaches 110 to 115 degrees. Use a thermometer to make sure the temperature is exactly in this range for best results. If the liquid is too cold, the yeast won’t activate. If it is too hot, it will kill it. Stir in yeast and leave it for about 10 minutes until the mixture is foamy.
2. Whisk the eggs in a large bowl, then add the yeast mixture, salt, and 1/2 a cup of flour. Whisk until smooth. Keep adding flour by the 1/2 cup and whisking until it becomes too thick to whisk. Switch to a wooden spoon and keep adding flour until the dough begins to pull away from the edges of the bowl.
3. Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead in the currants. Begin kneading the dough for about ten minutes, adding more flour if the dough feels too sticky. This dough should be soft and somewhat sticky, but not so much that it can’t be handled easily. This won’t be like a regular bread dough which is very smooth once kneaded properly.
4. Place the dough in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a clean cloth and let it rise for one to two hours until doubled in size. If your kitchen is on the cold side, it will take closer to two hours.
5. For the filling, combine the butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a microwave safe bowl and heat until melted. Stir well.
6. Dump the risen dough onto a lightly floured work space and roll into a rectangle about 8 inches high by the length of your loaf pan. Spread the cinnamon mixture onto the dough, then tightly roll it. Pinch the seam closed and place into a greased loaf pan with the seam side down. Cover with plastic and let rise for an hour.
7. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and place a baking sheet on the lowest shelf and add water. Bake the bread on the shelf above the water for about 45-55 minutes until the inside reaches 190 to 200 degrees. Let the finished loaf cool for at least ten minutes before slicing and enjoying.