Monday, December 5, 2011

Baking Raisin Bread

For those folks who just love that expensive Raisin Bread that is now nearing $4.00 for a tiny loaf, here is a homemade equivalent.  I came up with this recipe because my family loved the commercial variety and I think for what it is the price is ridiculous.  This bread is really good toasted in the morning or with a cup of tea, slathered with butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar.  Yum!

         Raisin Bread                     makes 2 loaves

2 1/2 cups of raisins            1 cup water
1/3 cup butter                      1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp salt                           1 1/4 cups evaporated milk or 1/2 & 1/2
2 eggs                                   2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp yeast
6 - 6 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour

Step 1:  Place raisins in a medium saucepan, add the water.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5min. Remove from heat, add the butter, sugar, and salt.  Stir until butter is melted and sugar dissolved. Let cool for 5 min.  Add the milk.  Mixture should be warm but not hot.

Step 2:  Proof your yeast.  Place your yeast in a 1 cup glass measuring cup.  Add 1/2 tsp sugar and 1/4 cup warm water.  Place measuring cup in a bowl of hot tap water.  Let stand until foamy and yeast is to the top.

Step 3: Pre-heat your oven to it's lowest setting.  Place warm raisin mixture in large mixing bowl, add slightly beaten eggs and cinnamon.  Add proofed yeast and stir to incorporate.  Add 5 cups of flour.  Mix well making sure there are no dry spots.  Add 1 cup flour and mix. (you may have to use your hands at this point)  Dough should be slightly sticky but not wet.  Spray work surface with non-stick spray.  Knead dough until smooth and all flour is incorporated and there are no dry spots.  If dough is too sticky, add small amounts of flour.  Form into a ball and place in a non-metal, greased, heatproof bowl.  Spray dough with cooking spray and cover with plastic wrap.  Place dough in oven and turn oven off.

Step 4:  When dough is double (this will take 1 to 2 hrs. it is a heavier dough than basic white bread& raises slower)  remove from oven.  Spray your work surface with cooking spray and dump dough on to the oiled surface.  Divide dough in half.  Being careful to not deflate the dough, form a loaf by folding the ends in to make an even rectangle and then bringing the sides to the center and pinching the full length of the dough.  Place seam side down in a greased loaf pan.  Press dough in the pan if necessary to make sure it is even in the pan.  Pre-heat your oven to it's lowest setting while you form the second loaf.  turn the oven off and place the loaf pans in the oven.  Let rise until dough is almost but not quite double.  Brush the tops of the loaves with an egg wash if you want your loaves to be shiney.  Turn the oven to 375.  Set the timer for 25 min.  Reduce heat to 350 and bake an additional 15 - 20 min.  Bread is done when it sounds hollow when tapped.

 Cooling Raisin Bread
Cover bread with a tea towel while cooling.  Try to resist cutting for at least 20 min.  Hot bread doesn't cut very well and tends to have a slightly doughy texture.  Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. Looks Yummy! I be right over for a slice and I will bring the crappy coffee - I have loads of it because of this morning. I love raising bread with tons of butter and cinnamon... We are so alike