This loaf is deliciously chewy, rich and packed full of spiced fruit flavour. The plait is very easy to create despite the some what daunting thought and I think the plait definitely adds a bit of an extra fancy effect! Perfect served warm with a cuppa.
I love hot cross buns but it only feels right to make them at easter. This recipe is basically a hot cross bun recipe that you can use all year round, using the excuse that final product is in loaf form.
1 ½ cups milk
2 teaspoons dried active yeast granules
2 teaspoons caster sugar
5 cups high grade flour
1/2 cup caster sugar
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons mixed spice
3/4 teaspoon salt
75g butter, melted
1 egg, whisked
1 1/2 cups currants or sultanas
1 cup icing sugar
2 tbsp milk
cinnamon to dust
Warm milk gently in a saucepan until lukewarm then stir in the yeast and 2 teaspoons of sugar. Set aside for 5 minutes until mixture is frothy.
Combine flour, 1/2 cup sugar, spices and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the center. Pour in the milk mixture along with the butter and egg and finally the dried fruit.
Stir mixture with a spoon until the ingredients are combined and a dough is formed. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured bench and knead for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Place dough in a large greased bowl and cover with a cloth. Set aside in a warm spot until doubled in bulk – 1 – 1 1/2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Separate dough into 3 equal balls and then roll out into lengths approximately 45cm long. Plait the strands together into a loaf and gently press the ends together. Place on a floured baking tray. Bake for 25 minutes until loaf feels crusty and cooked through.
Allow to cool on a wire rack and then ice with combined icing sugar and milk and dust with cinnamon.
Recipe adapted from: www.foodlovers.co.nz