Simple Recipe for Raisin Bread

Recipe for raisin bread with optional spices (yum)

This is just one simple recipe for raisin bread of many thousands of simple  raisin bread recipes.  Raisin bread is a staple in Canadian households and makes particularly excellent raisin toast.  Spice it up for some warming cheer or leave it plain if you have a mind to.  The raisins add moisture to the dough and so it stays fresh and lovely for many days (if you don’t eat it first).

Ingredients (makes one small loaf)

150 g white wheat flour
150 g whole wheat flour
3 grams dry yeast (or 1.5 instant yeast or 6 g fresh yeast.  If you use either of these kinds of yeast you can simple add it at the same time as all the other ingredients and then begin to knead the bread.)
6 g salt
200 g warm water
1 big handful of raisins (or apricots, figs, dates, sultanas, dried cherries, dried cranberries…..)
1 teaspoon ground cinammon, allspice, mixed spice, coriander or cardamom

Method

1.  Measure the flour into a big bowl and make a well in it.

2.  Measure the yeast into the well and cover with 100 grams of warm water.

Let rest for 10-15 minutes or until the yeast has risen to the top in a beige sludge.

3.  Add all of the other ingredients and knead well for 10 minutes.  If you object to your fruit getting a bit squashed in the kneading process, simply knead for ten minutes without the fruit and then incorporate it gently at the end of the kneading process.

4.  Return the dough to the bowl and cover it with a tea towel, cling film, or a big shower hat.

5.  Leave the dough to rest until it has doubled in size.  On a warm day this will take an hour.  On a cold day it will take more than that.  Longer is better so don’t speed things up by putting the dough in the airing cupboard.  You can pop the dough in the fridge and do this bit over night or all day if you like.

6.  Take the dough out of the bowl and squash it flat into a rectangle about the width of your tin and about 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick.  Roll it up into a very tight, firm sausage and pop it into a baking tin that you have greased with butter or lard.  Hard fat is better for greasing tins than liquid fat which runs down the side of the tin and pools in the bottom, frying the bread.  Your bread should fill the tin no more than 2/3 full.

7.  Cover the tin and let it rest until the dough has doubled in size again.  This will take about 45 minutes on a warm day.  Once again, you can put this in the fridge over night or all day if you like.  You can put stone cold dough straight in the oven but it is better to let it warm up a little bit.

8.  Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.  Pop the loaf in the oven and bake for 45 minutes.  Check after 30 and cover the loaf with some aluminium foil if it is getting to brown.  The fruit can burn a bit.

9.  Remove from the oven and be amazed at how good this bread looks and smells.  Make sure you let it cool completely before you eat it.  It neither cuts well nor tastes great when it is still hot.  Like meat, it is still cooking even through it is not in the oven.

10.  Eat with butter.  Plenty of butter.