A delicious and festive yeast bread, with cherries, raisins and a vein of brown sugar and cinnamon running through it.
I received an email from a lovely reader recently, commenting on my Chelsea Buns recipe. She told me that when her daughter was young, she called chelsea buns "Jolly Bread". I thought that was an absolutely fabulous name!
I also thought I should make an actual Jolly Bread. And that's pretty much all it took for this loaf to come to life.
Borrowing some parts from those same delicious Chelsea Buns, this loaf has a vein of brown sugar and cinnamon, and is filled with raisins and lots pretty red and green glacé cherries (left whole, because my taste-tasting husband insisted that was the way to go :). Then I chopped it all up, borrowing from my recent Chunky Apple Bread.
It turned out to be a wonderfully festive bread, perfectly delicious and another simple, but special holiday indulgence.
Cherries - you can use either red and/or green glacé cherries or maraschino cherries. If using glacé, there is no need to rinse. For maraschino cherries, set them out on a piece of doubled up paper towel for a bit before using, to drain off some of the excess liquid.
Raisins - they are a great addition to this bread, but if you aren't a fan, simply omit.
You will also need: Active dry or regular instant yeast, all-purpose flour, egg (1), milk, water, white sugar, salt, brown sugar and cinnamon.
This is a visual summary of the steps to shape/cut the loaf.
- When you roll the filled dough, roll as tightly as possible, lifting slightly as you roll, so you don't "snowplow" the filling. This will avoid large gaps in your finished bread.
- This loaf will need somewhere around 45 minutes in the oven, covering with foil after 30-35 minutes, so it doesn't over-brown. So while it may look done much earlier than that, be sure not to rush it out of the oven. If you have an instant read thermometer, test and look for a dough temperature of at least 200F.
- Allow the loaf to cool completely before slicing, to avoid a gummy crumb.
- Enjoy this bread out of hand, with a generous spread of butter, or you can also enjoy it toasted. If you have a bit left-over, it would make a nice bread pudding, too.
- This bread freezes beautifully.
- 2 1/4 tsp active dry or instant yeast (not rapid/quick-rising)
- 1/2 cup water (lukewarm (about 105F))
- 1/4 cup milk (lukewarm (about 105F) or more water)
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1 large egg
- 2 Tbsp white sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (approx. plus more, as needed)
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 3 Tbsp butter (cold, cut into 3 pieces)
- Raisins (about 1/3 cup)
- Whole glacé or maraschino cherries (red and/or green, about 20 total)
Glaze after baking:
- 2 Tbsp white sugar
- 2 Tbsp hot water
- In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the kneading hook, add the lukewarm water. Sprinkle yeast over-top and let stand 5 minutes. Combine the milk and 2 Tbsp butter and warm, either in the microwave or a saucepan. Warm only to lukewarm (about 105F). Add milk/butter mixture to yeast. Add egg, sugar, and salt and mix to combine. Add 1 cup of the flour and mix in, scraping down bowl as needed. Add a 2nd cup of flour and mix in. Continue adding flour in small increments, as needed, until you have a moist dough that wraps around the hook and cleans the bowl well. Remove to a floured worked surface and knead 1 minutes, then form into a ball. Place in a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled, about 45-60 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the filling by combining the brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Stir to mix. Add 3 Tbsp butter to the bowl and using your fingertips, rub the butter into the brown sugar mixture, until you have an even crumb, with pea-sized pieces of butter. Set aside.
- *If using maraschino cherries, place on a piece of doubled-up paper towel to sit, to drain off some of the liquid before using.
- Prepare a 9x5-inch loaf pan by greasing or spraying with baking spray, then lining with a sheet of parchment paper, covering the bottom and the long sides and extending past the top by an inch or so. Set on a baking sheet and set aside.
- Remove dough to a lightly floured cutting board. Deflate by pressing down on it. Roll into a rectangle about 10x15-inches. Scatter brown sugar mixture evenly over-top of the dough. Scatter with raisins and whole cherries. Starting from the long side, roll up jelly-roll style, lifting slightly as you roll, so you don't "snowplow" the filling as you go. Pinch the seam together. Using a sharp knife, cut the log into random 1-inch chunks. Scoop up the chunks and place into the prepare loaf pan. Re-arrange the top as needed, so you don't have any pieces sticking up too high, as they tend to over-brown. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about 30-40 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Bake loaf pan on top of the baking sheet (to catch any bubble-overs) for about 45 minutes, loosely covering the top with aluminum foil after 30 minutes of baking, to prevent over-browning. *Loaf will look done before it actually is. It will need a good 40-45 minutes in the oven to cook through, or if you have an instant read thermometer, test it in the centre. It should be at least 200F. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack. Mix together the sugar glaze and lightly brush onto the top of the loaf, for a little shine (optional). Allow the loaf to cool completely before slicing.