I made this Frosted Sweet Dough with Currants for the first time several years ago. It's a recipe my mother made often, and I absolutely loved it! The bread is typically braided and my mother always formed the braid into a circle, which was then frosted after baking. I ate my slices after dipping them in a large cup of hot chocolate.
I made the bread today not only because I wanted to eat it along with my cappuccino in the morning, but mainly because I wanted to experiment with a technique I saw on another website. Let me say... I was unsuccessful in replicating the beautiful bread I saw on La Petite Pâtisserie d'Iza, and named "Buns Geldine". Take a look at the brioche dough that was cut with diagonal slits, rolled into a rope, and then formed into a bun. The result was so beautiful, I hoped to recreate it in my kitchen. You'll see that my bread didn't come close.
I think I failed to achieve the look I wanted by rolling the dough too thin. And, I probably didn't space my slits far enough apart. I don't believe making a bread other than brioche contributed to my (disappointing) results, but the next time I try this, it will be with brioche dough -- and, rolled thicker!
I do have to say... regardless of the way my bread looked, it tasted fantastic, as always. Although my mother made this sweet dough bread year-round, I only make it now during the holidays -- a very special, sweet treat for my family.
• Frosted Sweet Dough with Currants •
• 1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
• 1 cup warm water (105˚ to 115˚)
• 3 3/4 to 4 1/4 cups unbleached flour
•1/3 cup sugar
• 1/8 cup vegetable shortening (non-hydrogenated!)
• 3/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 egg
• 1/2 cup currants
• Powdered sugar icing
1. In a small bowl, soften the yeast in 1/8 cup of the warm water.
2. With a dough hook, in the bowl of an electric stand mixer, beat together 1 1/2 cups of the flour, the sugar, shortening, salt and the remaining water. Beat in the egg and softened yeast, scraping the sides of the bowl to incorporate all of the ingredients.
3. Add the currants and as much of the remaining flour as needed to form a moderately stiff dough, beating for 8 to 10 minutes. Place dough in a large greased bowl; cover and let rise in a warm place for 2 hours or until double in size.
4. Punch dough down and turn out onto a floured surface. Divide dough in half; cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
5. Shape each portion of dough into a 2-foot-long rope. Fold and twist dough into a pretzel shape. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper; cover and let rise for about 45 minutes or until doubled (or, before the last rise, the dough can be placed in the refrigerator, covered with plastic wrap. Removed from the refrigerator about an hour before you plan to bake the pretzels and let rise in a warm spot).
6. Bake the pretzels in a preheated 350˚F oven for about 20 minutes or until golden. Place the breads on a wire rack to cool.
7. PREPARE the FROSTING: Mix approximately 2 cups powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon vegetable shortening, 1/4 teaspoon almond extract and enough milk to make a good spreading consistency.
YIELD: 2 pretzels or "buns"
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