Carbs, for all their bad press, really make the best comfort food. Pasta, bread, potatoes… How about a tender homemade loaf, slightly sweet, and flavored with currants and orange?
After I made candied orange peel as part of my use oranges to make winter sunshine campaign, I needed to figure out what to do with it–enter Orange Currant Bread. Of course it didn’t hurt that organic currants are 4.95/lb and homemade candied orange peel is free–since we’re already eating the oranges. Who said eating organic has to be pricey? No candied orange peel in your pantry? Substitute another dried fruit and some orange zest…
The recipe is based on a currant bread recipe from James Beard that I have loved for years. When I noticed that it bore some resemblance to the Italian holiday bread Panettone which includes candied orange peel, it was time to have some fun. My version of the bread is a bit healthier (half whole wheat flour and less butter/sugar) but still sweet and rich.
For breakfast today, I turned some of the bread into French Toast, topped with strawberries (thawed and sliced) from my freezer and a dollop of whipped cream. With food like this, I might just make it to spring!
- • 1/2 c butter
- • 2 eggs, beaten
- • 1 cup milk
- • 3/4 cup water
- • 1/2 c sugar, plus 1 T
- • 2 pkgs yeast (or equivalent)
- • 3 c wheat flour (plus additional during kneading)
- • 3 c all purpose flour
- • 2/3 c currants
- • 2/3 c candied orange peel, cut into small pieces
- • 2 t vanilla
- • 1/4 c rum (or juice or water)
- Cover currants and orange peel with rum or other liquid to soften.
- In a separate container, heat butter, milk, vanilla, water and 1 T sugar to about 110F. Stir in yeast to dissolve and let sit until beginning to get bubbly.
- Blend liquid/yeast mixture with flour, beaten eggs and 1/2 cup sugar until well mixed.
- Add currant, orange peel mixture, then knead with dough hook or by hand until dough "pushes back" when pressed. Knead in additional flour if too sticky (or additional liquid if too dry).
- Place in large bowl, then cover with damp dish towel and let rise in warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
- Punch down, then form into two loaves. Place in greased bread pans and let rise again, about 30 minutes.
- Bake in 350F oven for about 40 minutes until golden and bread sounds hollow when tapped. Lightly cover bread top with aluminum foil if it is getting too brown (this is likely).
- Makes two loaves.
- No candied orange peel in your pantry? Substitute another dried fruit and some orange zest...