I have always thought that eating Dutch Rusk with white and pink (for a girl) or blue (for a boy) aniseeds (beschuit met muisjes) is THE traditional treat when a baby is born in the land of the Dutch. Well I have news: according to wikipedia and some other websites, traditionally ‘krentenbrood’ (currant bread) is too. Somewhere in the past it was a long established gift from colleagues, friends and family to give to parents of a new born (mainly in the north east of the Netherlands where it was called ‘krentenwegge’). Today you can find it at every bakery and grocery store in the Netherlands.
Unfortunately ‘krentenbrood’ is not one of my favourites. To much… currants. But my husband and children LOVE it. And because I am such a loving mother and wife…. I tried to come to a good recipe. So here it is. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family does.
Oh.. perhaps a nice thing to know: the name ‘krentenbrood’ is protected by the Dutch Food and Drugs Act. You may only call a bread ‘krentenbrood’ when at least 30% of it’s ingredients are currants. And because I used raisins instead of currants…. just let’s call this bread: raisin bread 😉
2,5 teaspoons active dry yeast / 7 grams
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 cup lukewarm water (120 millilitres)
3 cups white bread flour / 500 grams, plus some extra for flouring.
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 cup vital wheat gluten (40 grams)
1,5 teaspoon salt
1,5 cup milk / 350 mililiters
2 cups mixed golden and blue raisins
1 tablespoon of butter for smearing.
How to make it
Put all of your raisins in a middle large bowl and cover them with water. Let them steep for a least 30 minutes. The steeping is important because the raisins are dried. They’ll dehydrate your dough when you add them directly.
In the meanwhile dissolve the yeast and sugar in 1/2 cup (120 millilitres) lukewarm water (not hot, this might kill the yeast). Don’t stir, just put it together. Let it rest until the yeast is foamy (approximately 5 minutes).
Add bread flour, melted butter, cinnamon, vital wheat gluten, salt and milk to the yeast mixture and knead it into a smooth, elastic and slightly sticky ball. If your dough is to sticky, add some more flour. Is it to dry, add some more water. Your dough needs to be kneaded for at least 10 minutes with a stand mixer but much longer by hand. It is ready when it bounces back when you push it softly with your finger (like in this video).
Strain the raisins and knead them very carefully through the dough. Do this by hand because the dough hook of you stand mixer might tear them into pieces. When the raisins are distributed evenly, cover the dough (in a large bowl) with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel. Let it rest for 45 minutes.
Flour a proofing basket and/or kitchen towel by rubbing flour in the texture of the material.
Roll or fold the dough into the desired shape.
Wrap the dough into your floured kitchen towel or simply place it into the proofing basket en cover it with a floured kitchen towel. Let rest for 30 minutes.
In the meanwhile, preheat your oven on 475 F (or 250 C) and melt 1 tablespoon of butter.
Take the kitchen towel off your dough and place the dough very carefully into your loaf pan. I’ve bought this amazing loaf pan from Emile Henry. If you like to bake bread, you might want to consider this too. They are expensive but your bread comes out great. Of course you can also use a Dutch Oven for this recipe. I do not have any experiences with baking this bread in a loaf tin or on a baking tray but I am sure that that will work too.
Use a baking brush to smear the top of the bread with a small amount of melted butter.
Put your loaf pan into your preheated oven and let it bake for 45 minutes. Remove the lid after 30 minutes.
When your bread is ready, take it out of the loaf pan and place it on a wire rack. Let it cool completely.
Uuhhhmmm… Ben…. What are you doing with that raisin bread in your mouth?