My dad is accidentally hilarious. Probably not the way he would like for me to start a blog post about him... but he doesn't understand what a blog is anyway. So on to some stories!!
Papa Fitzpatrick (he laughs when I call him that over the phone, don't ask me why), was born in County Longford, Ireland and came over to the US when he was just 19 years old. Even [some odd number of] years later, he still has his Irish accent. It makes for some pretty hilarious mispronounced...er... uniquely pronounced words. For example, "mushrooms" has become muh-tsz-a-rooms (middle sound similar to "tszuj it up a bit"), or "warm" actually sounds like war-uh-mm in our home. My sisters and I have made fun of him so much that I don't even know if I could say the words correctly anymore.
He is a very simple man when it comes to his food though. You have to appreciate a person with enough, let's call it, self-control to eat the same thing every morning for some number of years. Breakfast is almost always a bowl of stir-a-bout, AKA oatmeal, cooked chewy, AKA undercooked, with a lot of cold milk poured over the top and if he's feeling fancy, some canned peaches or canned fruit cocktail (staples in our home pantry).
He will usually have a mid-morning snack about an hour after his stir-a-bout of Cinnamon Raisin Bread with some butter and marmalade. It is a delicious snack and probably one of the more flavorful combinations he prefers. Now, to tie these two stories about Dad together, he calls the Cinnamon Raisin Bread "Kern Bread." You might be asking yourself, "What the hell are kerns?" Well, kerns are actually currants just said in the Papa Fitzpatrick way... as in those lovely, better tasting relatives of raisins...Ok, so in reality currants are a dried bush berry and raisins are dried grapes so not really the same. I digress... I knew he was saying currant and what a currant was, but I honestly thought that it was pronounced "kern." Remember back to that post about the things Fitzpatricks say wrong? I forgot to include currant/kern. The list just seems to get longer the more I learn and remember.
Today's recipe is for Daddio. This is a lovely cinnamon swirl bread made with part whole wheat flour and part regular flour. It tastes very reminiscent of his favorite kern bread brand, Sun-Maid, but because actual currants can be hard to find and I am not that fond of raisins, it is sans all fruit. Toast it up, slather it with some sweetcream butter, plus a heaping dollop of orange marmalade, and enjoy it Papa Fitzpatrick style. Also a perfect bread for some Saturday morning french test.
The Recipe: Cinnamon Swirl Bread
yields ~ 10 servings
The Bits and Bobs:
1 c warm water (100-110°F)
1 1/2 tsp dry active yeast (roughly half of one packet)
3 tbs sugar
1 c whole wheat flour
1 ¼ c all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
For the swirl:
6 tbs unsalted butter, room temp
3/4 c sugar
3 tsp ground cinnamon
Mix together the warm water and sugar in a bix mixing bowl. Sprinkle the dry active yeast over the top of the water and allow to bloom for about 3 minutes. You want the yeast to have foamed and become fragrant.
Stir the salt and both flours together so salt is evenly distributed. Add to the yeast mixture and mix together with floured hands until the dough is “stringy.” Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until a smooth, but tacky ball forms. If you are using a stand mixer, fit with the hook attachment and mix on low for 1 minute, then increase to medium for another 3-5 minutes until the dough forms a ball and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
Using wither vegetable or canola oil, grease down a big bowl. Put the ball of dough into the bowl and turn once so its coated with the oil. Cover the bowl with some plastic wrap and move to a warm spot in the kitchen, and allow to rise for one hour.
After one hour, mix together the "swirl" ingredients until well combined. Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface and roll or stretch out with your hands into a large, thin rectangle. Spread the cinnamon-sugar butter all over the middle of the dough. Starting with the edge closest to you, roll into a large log. Cut down the center of the log with a sharp knife and place each half with the cinnamon-sugar facing upward. Working your way down, cross the two halves over each other until you reach the end (basically twisting each rope over the other). Cut the rope in half again and repeat the twisting with these two halves. Pinch the ends and fold the seams under.
Put the loaf in a greased bread pan. Cover with a kitchen towel and allow to rise for about another hour. The loaf should fill the pan.
After the final rise, bake at 375°F for twenty minutes. The top should be a nice golden brown and will have dried out a touch to form a nice crust. If you prefer a softer crust to your bread, brush with some melted butter before baking.
Allow to cool in the pan for five minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack to finish cooling. Best served warm/toasted!