Thursday, April 9, 2015

Old Fashioned Raisin Bread

Old Fashioned Raisin Bread is one of my favorite bread. I love raisins and got introduced to raisin bread at Mancini's Bakery in Pittsburgh (They sell 'Paska', which is a sweet bread with raisins). We would buy once in a month and I would finish it off within a day or two all by myself. But then we moved out from Pittsburgh and I couldn't find anything like that in Atlanta. Then my husband encouraged me to bake my own bread. Once I started making it, we have stopped buying bread from the stores. Nothing like eating freshly baked bread. The whole process of making it is so therapeutic to me. 


My search for raisin bread without cinnamon started few months back. When googled for raisin bread, all I get is recipes for Cinnamon swirl bread. I am not a great fan of cinnamon. But finally I bumped into Nick Malgieri's Raisin bread. It was like finding an oasis in the middle of a desert. I tried making it and it turned out exactly the way I wanted it. I am really thankful for his recipe. I have slightly changed the original recipe and method. Do try it and I hope you all will enjoy it as much as I do :-)

Ingredients
  • Room Temperature Water - 1/2 cup
  • Whole Milk - 1/2 cup, scalded and cooled
  • Active Dry Yeast - 1 1/2 tsp
  • Unbleached Bread Flour - 2 1/2 cups
  • Sugar - 1/6 cup
  • Salt - 3/4 tsp
  • Butter, softened - 2 Tbsp
  • Golden Raisins - 1/2 cup
  • Dark Raisins - 1/2 cup
Note: # Make sure your yeast has not expired.
#You can add 3/4 cup each of the raisins (the original recipe called for total 1 1/2 cups of raisins but I was happy with 1 cup of total raisins).
#If you can't find bread flour, substitute it with All purpose flour (maida).
#Don't skip the step of heating milk. It is because-
"Scalded and cooled milk is used in bread and other yeast doughs, as pasteurization does not kill all bacteria, and with the wild yeasts that may also be present, these can alter the texture and flavor. Recipes old enough to have been based on hand-milked, slowly cooled, unpasteurized, milk specify scalded milk with much more justification, and modern cookbooks tend to maintain the tradition. In addition, scalding milk improves the rise due to inhibition of bread rise by certain undenatured milk proteins". (From Wikipedia)
#I use a stand mixer for kneading my dough. It makes life lot easier. If you don't have one, then make sure you knead the dough for 10- 15 minutes. Kneading helps in the formation of gluten.


Procedure:

Heat the milk up to boiling point and then cool it completely.


Next in a big bowl, add in the water, yeast and room temperature milk. Mix and set it aside.


In another bowl add flour, sugar, salt. Mix well and add it to the bowl containing milk mixture.


Start mixing it in a stand mixer attached with a dough hook or use a wooden spoon. Once everything comes together, add in the softened butter and knead it for a good 7-8 minutes in a stand mixer or 10- 15 minutes using hands. The final dough should be soft, non sticky and elastic. Once done, take the dough on a clean counter.


Then spread it out a little bit using your hands. Then add in the raisins as shown below.


Now gently mix in the raisins so that it gets distributed evenly throughout and form a ball as shown below.


Now place this dough in a greased bowl. Cover it tightly and let it rest in a warm place for an hour or so, until it double in its size.


Once it doubles, take it out gently on the clean counter and punch out the gas gently.


Then roll it like a jelly roll to form a loaf shape.


Place this in a well greased 9x5 loaf pan. 


Close it with a plastic wrap and allow it to rise until the dough rises an inch above the pan (around 30 minutes).


Then bake it in an oven which is preheated to 350F (180c) until an internal temperature of the loaf reads 2ooF (or a light tap on the loaf sounds hollow). It takes around 40- 45 minutes. Once done remove from the oven.


After 2-3 minutes, loosen the edges and remove the loaf and let it cool completely on a wire rack before cutting.
Old Fashioned Raisin Bread is ready!


Serve it along with tea or coffee. Above measurement makes one loaf which can serve 3-4 people.

3 comments :

  1. Hello there Lakshmi

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  2. Can I make this in bread machine?

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  3. Hi Aditi, I don't own a bread machine. So have no idea how it works. Please read the manufacturer's instruction and proceed accordingly. Sorry about that. Let me know if you try it. Good luck :-)

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