These lovely fluffy teacakes, studded through the the sweet/sharp flavour of currants make a lovely (if rather large!) afternoon treat, and they make a really good breakfast too, if you’ve got some left over. As I have learned from the great bread guru, Andrew Whitley, the trick is to not worry if your dough seems ludicrously sticky at first. As you knead (or let your machine do the kneading for you) the dough will gradually become smooth, soft and silky, and will produce wonderfully light buns. The recipe is adapted from a book called Cakes, Breads & Gateaux, published by Elm Tree books in 1980 (30 years ago – arrgghh!) – it’s available second hand on Abebooks.co.uk – I highly recommend it.
- 7g (or 1 sachet) fast action yeast
- 450g strong plain white flour
- 1 level tsp salt
- 25g sugar
- 25g butter
- 275ml whole milk
- 125g currants
A little more milk for brushing.
- Weigh the yeast, flour, salt, sugar and butter into a mixing bowl (or your mixer bowl).
- Warm the milk gently in a pan until it feels warm to the touch.
- Add the milk to the mixing bowl & mix until you have a sticky dough. Turn the dough out on to a very lightly floured surface and knead until it is smooth and silky (around 10 minutes). Alternatively use your food mixer to get to the same stage.
- Towards the end of the process weigh out the currants and work carefully into the dough so that they are spread out. Don’t use your mixer to do this or the currants will get rather bashed about.
- Put the dough back into your mixing bowl, cover the bowl with a large plastic bag or a damp tea towel and leave until it has doubled in size. This will take around an hour in a nice warm kitchen or airing cupboard, but a bit longer if it’s a chilly day (like today!).
- Whilst the dough is rising, line 2 baking trays with baking parchment and find 2 large polythene bags (supermarket ‘bags for life’ are ideal for this).
- When the dough has had its first rise, tip it out onto a very lightly floured surface and divide into 6 fairly equal sized lumps. Shape into discs that are about 2.5cm (1″) thick and place 3 on each baking sheet.
- Put the baking sheets into the large polythene bags, making sure that the teacakes can’t touch the sides, even when they rise.
- Now switch your oven on to pre-heat to 180C/Gas Mark 4 whilst your teacakes are rising.
- When the teacakes are nicely risen (around 30-45 mins), remove the baking sheets from the bags and brush the tops of the cakes with milk (you can leave this stage out, but it does make them look much prettier).
- Bake for around 15 minutes, swapping the 2 trays around after about 7 minutes if you have a non-fan oven.
- When the teacakes are golden brown, remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
You can serve warm from the oven or toasted, with lashing of butter, and honey or jam if you have a very sweet tooth.