There’s nothing like an invite to brunch to get me in the mood for bread baking. And of course Simon’s wonderful Waffles (which were the star of brunch). Thanks Louise and Simon!
And because this is a bread recipe, there will be oodles of photos. Brace yourselves. And you get to see my broken bread slicer, which sliced too thinly for what should be a decent slab of bread to give a good hearty slice of Raisin Bread. Of course there’s nothing better than draping still-warm raisin toast in butter.
Earlier in the week I’d come across this recipe for the Raisin Bread. I’m pretty sure while I was laying in bed reading the recipe my stomach had already decided it was breakfast time.
The only gamble in making this (not that I knew when I’d make it) was the cinnamon. Mr Fussy and his distaste for cinnamon might have spoilt my fun making this. But since my plan was to give it to Louise and Simon I was feeling safe.
I was making this loaf in 29 degree Celsius heat mind you. So my proving time was done in no time at all. I’m sure in cooler weather the prescribed rising would be pretty accurate.
Raisin Bread by Averie Cooks
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 2/3 cup milk warmed to 95 to 125F (see instructions below)
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly (half of one stick)
- 2 1/4 teaspoons instant dry yeast (remember the yellow lidded yeast)
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, optional and to taste
- 2 cups + up to 1/3 cup bread flour (I used High Grade flour)
- 1 heaping cup raisins
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg; set aside.
- In a microwave-safe measuring cup or bowl, warm the milk to temperature, about 30 to 45 seconds. Warm the milk according to the yeast manufacturer’s recommendations on the packaging (I didn’t find any instructions on the Edmonds yeast package). Taking the temperature with a digital thermometer is recommended, but if you’re not, make sure the milk is warm, not hot. Err on the cooler rather than hotter side so you don’t kill the yeast. (I didn’t use a thermometer even though I have one I just felt the warmth in the glass jug I used and when it was warmer than luke warm it was good enough for me).
- Add warmed milk to the egg.
- Add melted butter, yeast, sugar, cinnamon, optional salt, and stir to combine.
- Add 2 cups bread flour and using a spoon and then your hands, form the dough. Turn dough out onto a floured work-surface and knead for 5 to 8 minutes, or until smooth and supple. Kneading may be done in a stand mixer using the dough hook attachment (knead for 5 to 8 minutes), but I kneaded by hand. If necessary, add up to one-third cup additional flour, for 2 and 1/3 cups total (12 ounces total by weight), in order for the dough to combine and become smooth. The more flour that’s added, the denser and heavier the bread will be; so add it only as necessary.
- Mound the dough into a ball. Spray mixing bowl (the same one used to make the dough is fine) with cooking spray or lightly grease it, and place dough into bowl.
- Cover bowl with plastic warp and place in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about two to three hours.
- Punch dough down, remove it from bowl, and place on a floured work surface. Sprinkle raisins over the dough and knead them in, for about 2 to 3 minutes. Raisins may have a tendency to come out of dough but just poke them back in.
- Flatten the dough into a large rectangle, about 8-inches-by-12-inches. I used my hands and just stretched it and finger-massaged it into the rectangle shape, but use a rolling pin if preferred.
- Starting with a short side, roll dough up into a log. Pinch off ends and place dough log into a sprayed or greased 9-by-5-inch loaf pan, seam side down.
- Cover pan with plastic warp and place in a warm, draft-free place until almost doubled in size, about two hours.
- In the final minutes of the second rise, preheat oven to 190C. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, or until golden on top.
- When bread is removed from loaf pan and tapped sharply on the top and bottom, it should sound hollow.
- Place bread on a wire rack to finish cooling completely before slicing and serving. I wrap bread in plastic wrap, then place it in a large zip top plastic food storage bag, where it stays fresh for about 5 days. Bread freezes very well and can be made from start to finish, cooled, and placed in a freezer-safe airtight container or a zip lock for up to 3 months.
My Notes: I used the KitchenAid with the dough hook. I wasn’t looking for a workout when the kitchen was warmer than the 29deg outside temperature. Remember the yellow lidded yeast is best used with bread NOT made with a bread maker. I used High Grade flour. I did hand knead the raisins in. I had several things simmering on the oven so placed the glass loaf tin next to the oven for the 2nd knead. That took just 25 minutes and it was already doubled in size. It scared me! I already had to ease the Glad Wrap to give it more “growing” room. Obviously a cooler day will slow the rate of rising and you’ll likely find the 2 hours to be closer to what is needed (I presume). My loaf was finished baking in 25 minutes. The recipe has been tweaked here and there to convert some descriptions of ingredients, and temperatures to metric.
And for a series of photos, as promised:
I’m not quite sure what “supple” is meant to be like, but this is what I had after 5 minutes in the mixer. It pulled off the dough hook with it’s weight. It stuck a little more to the side of the bowl than the pizza dough I make does, but it wasn’t sticky and I managed to form it into a ball by gently pulling up the sides and wrapping it over the top and then turned it upside down (top becomes bottom):
This is how it started out, nice and soft enough that my fingers left an impression from lifting the ball of dough up and turning it up the right way (the folded up bits to form the shape of a ball are now at the bottom of the bowl). First rise. I left this for the full 2 hours:
Adding the raisins. As Averie described, those little dried up pieces of fruit wanted to part company with the dough, but for the most part they folded in easily, and stayed put:
And then “rolling” it out (I did so with my fingers/palm too) and shaping it into a rectangle, rolling it up, pinching the end to the rolled up dough as best I could and then squeezing it into the oiled (I used Rice Bran spray) loaf tin (seam down):
Second Rise – this is after 45 minutes. I couldn’t wait any longer and was afraid of what might happen if I gave it more time. At 30 minutes I was heating the oven knowing it was time to bake it:
After 25 minutes of baking we had a loaf:
I haven’t made enough bread yet to truly understand what “hollow” really sounds like. I really wasn’t too sure if it was baked through. But after tapping almost every surface (sorry Louise!) I tentatively decided it was done. Of course slicing into it was going to be the only real answer.
The bread was really soft. It is such a light texture. And those juicy raisins were still looking for an opportunity to part company.
I toasted a slice or two, because that’s how I would eat it if I were keeping it. And because I have a few issues, here’s where you see that every millimetre of the toast gets to greet butter.
The bread tastes really nice. There’s a hint of sweetness. The Cinnamon was barely noticeable though. Mr Fussy liked it. So that makes it clear the cinnamon wasn’t that prominent.
I might play with the recipe a bit an add some other spices and some mixed peel and see what it’s like as buns, in preparation for hot cross buns, because this was a really nice bread recipe to make.
I’ll just have to wait for Louise and Simon’s verdict on the bread. I hope they enjoy it and didn’t mind that it was a few slices short!