After one year and 104 recipes, I finished the Brooks Bakes Bread Project on March 27, 2012. You can still find me baking and cooking at my new blog, Tangled Up In Food.

Categories: Currant Bread

Currant Bread
September 11, 2011

by stacy
Published on: September 11, 2011
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“[Currant Bread], which I used to eat very often as a child, is a rich, flavorful, extremely pleasant loaf that keeps well and toasts magnificently.”
-James Beard, Beard on Bread

This week I made a trip to the Linden Hills Co-op to pick up ingredients for some upcoming recipes.  I hadn’t had any luck finding currants at my local grocery store, but the co-op had them in abundance.  Given my hatred of raisins, I was disappointed to discover that a currant is nothing more that a dwarf raisin.  But since I had to make currant bread, I decided to get it over with this past Friday.

Here are the ingredients:

Currant Bread Ingredients

After my experience with Prune Bread, I have decided that sherry is disgusting and contaminates everything it comes into contact with.  Instead, I marinated the currants in bourbon (Beard recommends using sherry, rum, or Cognac; if you can use any of those liquors, I figured bourbon would be fine).

Also note the two sticks of butter; those will come into play later.

The technique used for Currant Bread was unusual.  I started by mixing the the milk, some sugar, yeast, half of the butter, salt, and flour together to form a dough.  Then, I kneaded the dough and let it rise for about 45 minutes.  At that point, I punched it down and was instructed to knead in the rest of the sugar and butter along with all of the currants.  Huh?  It wasn’t clear to me exactly how I was supposed to knead in 1/2 cup of sugar, a stick of butter, and 1 1/2 cups of currants.  The answer?  With great difficulty.  Mike assisted by laughing and taking pictures as my bread dough degenerated into a gloppy mass of butter studded with currants.  There may have been some profanity involved.

Currant Bread Dough

At this point, with my hands glistening with butter, I abandoned any hope of the Currant Bread being edible.  I slopped it into two 8 x 4 loaf pans, let it rise another 45 minutes (surprisingly, it actually did rise–I figured all of the butter would weigh it down too much), and put it in the oven at 400 degrees.

Currant Bread After Second Rising

After putting the bread in the oven, I decided that it would be a good idea to fall asleep on our bedroom floor.  Luckily, Mike saved the day (and redeemed himself after making fun of my kneading attempts) by pulling the bread out of the oven before it burned.

Currant Bread

So what was the verdict?  Currant Bread did turn out better than I thought it would.  It has a surprising light texture for the amount of butter used, reminiscent of Portuguese Sweet Bread.  Yes, the currants do taste like raisins, but the bourbon gives them an interesting flavor.  And Beard was right–it does toast magnificently.

Currant Bread

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About the Baker
I'm a paralegal living and working in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area. Besides baking, blogging, and eating bread, I love knitting and enjoying the Minnesota outdoors. My husband, Mike, is the Brooks Bakes Bread website developer, bread photographer, and chief taste tester.
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