From an episode of Barefoot Contessa ( Ina Garten). She makes this look so simple! Note: Cook/prep time does not include rising times.
- Warm the bowl of your mixer with hot water, then dump it out.
- Mix the yeast, warm water, and sugar in the warmed bowl with a rubber spatula. Let sit for 5 minutes, until it is foamy and the sugar has dissolved.
- Add the eggs one at a time and using the paddle attachment, beat on medium speed for 1 minute, until mixed.
- With the mixer on low speed, add 2 cups of the flour, the salt, and mix for 5 minutes. With the mixer still on low, add 2 more cups of flour and mix for 5 minutes more. Still on low, add the soft butter in chunks and mix, occasionally scraping the paddle, for 2 minutes longer.
- Switch to the dough hook attachment, and set on low speed again.
- While the mixer is running, sprinkle in the last quarter cup of flour. Mix on low speed for 3-4 minutes, until well combined and elastic, but still sticky.
- This is a soft, sticky dough. Scrape the dough into a large buttered bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.
- The next day, allow the dough to sit at room temperature for an hour--it should have risen substantially in the fridge.
- Grease a 12-muffin tin, if you are making muffins, or two loaf pans.
- Turn the dough onto a floured surface and cut in half.
- For muffins: pat each half into a rectangle with the dough about a half inch thick.
- Spread the raisins and dried cherries evenly over the rectangle, using more if desired. Starting on one of the rectangle's wide ends, roll up into a tight cylinder. The dough may stick, use a pastry scraper or a sharp knife to help loosen it. Pinch the seam closed.
- Cut each cylinder into 6 equal portions. Stick each dough portion seam side down into the muffin tin. Cover and let rise in a warm spot for 2 hours, until doubled in size.
- For loaves: pat each half into a 6x8 rectangle, and roll on the wider side, as instructed above. Place each cylinder, seam side down, in a loaf pan. Cover and let rise in a warm spot for 2 hours, until doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Beat the egg with the milk and brush the tops of the risen muffins (or loaves). Bake the muffins for 25-30 minutes, until they are a deep golden brown. Bake loaves for 30-35 minutes. Let cool briefly in their pans before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Beautiful bread! What I liked best was no kneading! The dough was wonderful to work with the next day. I didn't bother with the raisins or cherries, and we liked it plain. I made muffins, so got 12 beautifully risen, very soft and buttery and very fluffy rolls! Thank you, SusieQ, for sharing this wonderful recipe, definitely will be making it again! :)