Sunday, February 7, 2010

Raisin Bread

It's been years since I made this raisin bread and since we were stuck inside with the snowstorm yesterday, it was the perfect time to bake a few loaves, ( 3 loaves actually).
The correct name for this bread is Extra Rich Raisin Bread and it really quite easy to make. The time, of course, is in waiting for it to rise but it's well worth it.
With the standing mixer and a dough hook, your hands on time is really cut down.
I remember years ago, before I had any major kitchen gadgets, I would mix the flours into the wet with my hand held mixer and that poor little mixer would work so hard that after a while it would start to smell like I was burning out the motor.. and I was! Then I'd knead it by hand.
There's something about making homemade bread always seem to polish off a loaf or two in no time, and this one's no exception!
In addition to the bread flour, you can throw in some whole wheat flour, wheat germ, or even non-fat dry milk.

To begin, you need to heat to 120 degrees, the butter( cut into pieces), milk, water and sugar in a medium saucepan.
Then pour that all into your standing mixer bowl and add the yeast and flours ( or the other ingredients you're adding) to equal 4 cups. I used approx. 3 1/3 cups bread flour, then made up the remainder of the last cup with whole wheat flour, wheat germ and non-fat dry milk( to make the 4 cups total).
Mix it all in the mixer, then add the eggs and more flour til it gets too stiff to beat any more.
Switch to the dough hook and knead 10 minutes.
Put into a greased bowl, cover and place in a draft free warm place til it's doubled in bulk.
And looks like this...

Then punch it down, let it rest a bit, then divide it into 3 sections ( I like using my pizza cutter to cut the sections.)

Roll out each section to a rectangle, sprinkle with raisins, brown sugar and cinnamon.

And roll up tightly, pressing down slightly as you go so you don't get any pockets that will result in holes.

Place each into a slightly greased 8" x 4" loaf pan.
Let it rise again til it looks like...

Til it looks like this! Then bake, glaze and eat!

Extra Rick Raisin Bread
Makes 3 loaves

1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
2 packages active dry yeast
4 cups bread flour ( or 3 1/3 cups bread flour with the remainder a combination of whole wheat
flour, wheat germ and/or non-fat dry milk to make 4 cups total.)
4 eggs
1 - 2 cups more flour
Raisins, brown sugar, cinnamon
Glaze: (optional) 2 cups confectioners sugar mixed with enough milk to make a smooth, runny consistency.
1. In a medium saucepan, heat butter( cut into pieces), milk, water and sugar to 120 degrees.
2. Pour this wet mixture into a standing mixer bowl and, on low speed, mix in the yeast and flours.
3. Add the eggs, keeping the mixer on low speed.
4. Add more flour, up to 2 cups more, to make a stiff dough.
5. Switch to a dough hook and knead for 10 minutes( you may need to stop the hook occasionally to push the dough off the hook).
6. Grease a large bowl and place the dough into the bowl and turn over( to grease both sides).
7. Cover and place in a warm, draft free place.
8. Once the dough is doubled in bulk, punch it down and place on a floured surface to rest about 5 minutes.
9.Divide into 3 sections and roll each section into a rectangle shape.
10. Sprinkle raisins, brown sugar and cinnamon onto the top ( how much you ask?.. as much or as little as you like!). Then roll it up tightly, pressing down slightly as you roll to avoid getting air pockets or holes. Place into lightly greased pans.
11. Cover and let it rise again til doubled in bulk.
12. Preheat oven to 350 and bake about 25 to 35 minutes or til it's golden brown.
Glaze: Once it's out of the oven you may want to coat the top with a glaze. Do this while it's still warm.

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