Saturday, February 27, 2010
The Best Raisin Bread
* 4 C hot water
* 4 t salt
* 6 T butter
* 3/4 C sugar
* 2 T dry milk (I used 1/4 c)
* 4 t cinnamon
* 2 C raisins (tip for hard raisins that have been stored too long--put them in a bowl with a little water and microwave them for a minute or so. They plump up just like they were brand new and have a softer texture in the bread)
* 10-12 C flour (I found it was about 10 1/2 c.)--you could use all wheat flour or even 1/2 white and 1/2 wheat. The cinnamon gives the bread a brown color anyway, so why not add some wheat to make it healthier
* 2 1/2 T yeast
(1/3 c. vital wheat gluten--optional) Add during the first step with the water, butter, sugar, etc.
1. Put the water, salt, butter, sugar, dry milk, cinnamon and 4 C of the flour in the mixer, mix for 1 minute.
2. Add the yeast.
3. Keep adding the flour one cup at a time until the dough scrapes the side of your mixer clean.
4. Mix for 8 minutes.
5. Add the raisins and mix just until incorporated.
6. Let the dough sit for 5 minutes.
7. Divide the dough into 4 pieces and place each piece in a loaf pan sprayed with cooking spray. Pick each piece up, holding it in one hand, smack it repeatedly to get the air bubbles out. Shape it into a ball and place it back in the pan. Repeat with each section of dough.
8. Put the pans into a warm 170 degree oven and let rise for about 20 minutes, or until the dough has risen 1 inch above the rim of the pan.
9. Turn the oven up to 350 and bake for 25 minutes. (The 25 minutes includes the time it takes for the oven to increase in temperature)