Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Bake The Book: Cinnamon-Currant Bread

This bread has a very rustic look which I think is enticing. You basically roll the filled dough into a cylinder, cut it up into chunks and throw it in the pan. No neatness needed here!


I loved the way it turned out. The classic combination of the sweet currants with the warm cinnamon made this perfect for breakfast.


Recipe #11: Cinnamon-Currant Bread

1 recipe Rich Breakfast Dough (see below)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup currants

1. Roll the dough: Turn the dough onto a work surface dusted with flour. Press down firmly to expel some of the air bubbles, but don't knead the dough. Dust with flour and roll into a 12 by 15-inch rectangle. Position the dough so that one of the long sides is parallel to the edge of your work surface. Brush any flour from the surface and underside of the dough.

2. Fill the dough: Brush the dough evenly with a thin film of beaten egg, leaving a 1-inch border along the edge of the dough opposite you. In the small bowl, mix the brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle this mixture over the egg glaze, then spread it with your fingers into an even layer. Scatter the currants evenly over the top.

3. Shape the loaf: Beginning with the long edge closest to you, roll the dough into a tight cylinder, gently tucking an tightening as you roll. Wet your fingers a rub a thin flim of water along the empty border. Finish rolling the dough onto the border. Roll the dough backwards so that the seam is facing upward and pinch all along it to seal the dough. Use a chef's knife to slice the cylinder in half lengthwise, then crosswise into about 12 pieces. Generously butter a loaf pan and transfer the pieces to the pan. Try to arrange the bottom layer dough-side down to make it easier to remove the bread from the pan after baking and to prevent the sugar from burning on the bottom of the pan. Otherwise, just toss them in every which way. Level the top the best you can, but a rugged look is fine.

4. Proof the dough: Cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise until the dough reaches about 1/4 inch below the rim of the pan, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

5. Bake the bread: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and position an oven rack in the center. Bake the loaf for 35 to 45 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the bread registers 190 degrees. Transfer to a rack and cool for 15 minutes, then turn the loaf out of the pan onto a piece of parchment paper to cool completely.


Rich Breakfast Dough

1/2 cup warm whole milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups bread flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, very soft

1. Mix and knead the dough: Combine the warm milk and sugar in the bowl of the stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast over the top. Whisk by hand to blend well. Let the mixture sit for 5 to 10 minutes, until the yeast is activated and foamy or bubbling. Add the egg and yolk and whisk by hand until well blended. Stir in the flour and salt with a silicone or rubber spatula. Attach the dough hook and knead on low speed for 2 minutes. The dough may look ragged at this point, but don't worry--the addition of butter will smooth it out. Increase the speed to medium and knead for 1 minute. With the mixer running, add the soft butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, allowing each addition to blend in before adding the next. Once all the butter has been added, decrease the speed to medium-low and continue to knead for 5 to 6 minutes longer, until the dough looks soft and silky.

2. Rise the dough (first rise): Lightly butter a bowl, scrape the dough into the bowl, and brush the surface of the dough with a little butter or oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until doubled, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. At this point, the dough is ready to be punched down and used in your recipe of choice.

Source: The Art and Soul of Baking


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