1) In a large mixing bowl, or in the bowl of an electric mixer, combine all of the ingredients, mixing to form a shaggy dough. Knead dough, by hand (10 minutes) or by machine (5 minutes) till it's smooth.
2) Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover and allow it to rest for 1 hour; it'll become quite puffy, though it may not double in bulk. Shape as directed below.
3) Bread machine method: Place all of the ingredients (except the fruit) into the pan of your machine, program machine for manual or dough, and press Start. About 10 minutes before the end of the second kneading cycle, check dough and adjust its consistency as necessary with additional flour or water; finished dough should be soft and supple. Add the raisins or currants about 3 minutes before the end of the final kneading cycle. Shape as directed below.
4) Shaping: Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled surface, and shape it into a log. Place the log in a lightly greased 9 x 5-inch loaf pan, cover the pan (with an acrylic proof cover, or with lightly greased plastic wrap), and allow the dough to rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, till it's crested 1" to 2" over the rim of the pan.
5) Baking: Bake the bread in a preheated 350°F oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 190°F. If the bread appears to be browning too quickly, tent it with aluminum foil for the final 10 minutes of baking.
Yield: 1 loaf.