Raisin Bread

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I remember the Raisin Bread that we had when I was a kid, not too sweet, not over loaded with fruit, not lots of spice. Armed with  a taste on the tip of my tongue I set about having a go…

The recipe was as follows..

2 cups of wholemeal plain flour

2 cups of white bread flour (called strong flour)

2 cups of AUSTRALIAN raisins (see below)

1 good pinch of cinnamon

1 good grate of fresh nutmeg

1 level desert spoon salt

2 level desert spoons of yeast granules

1 heaped tablespoon of malt extract

600 mil of tepid water

Method was…

Place the malt extract in a jug and put 300 mil of hot water to dissolve it, then add further 300 mil of cold water to lower the temperature to blood heat.

Place the flours and salt in a basin, add the spices and mix well, make a well in the centre and add the granulated yeast. Add all the water and with a whisk, mix in some of the flour to make a slurry surrounded by walls of flour.

Add the fruit into the slurry and stir a bit with a spoon.

Allow the slurry to become active (it will be sort of bubbling and erupting), when that happens, I use a wok spoon (the flat bladed ones) and I then in the basin, mix it all together, the mix will be wet and that’s as it should be, if its not wet, then add more water. It should be sort of thick muddy texture. Mix well until all is blended and use the wok spoon to toss and knead it to release the pectin. You can turn it out onto a bench and knead it by hand, but use a pastry blade as the mix should be wet.

Place back in the basin and allow to prove until the mix has doubled in bulk, knock it down and and knead lightly, place the mix then into a well oiled bread tin and allow to rise again until about double its volume.

Meanwhile, heat your oven to 220 Celsius and place the shelf in a spot where the bread can cook. When the bread has risen, put into the oven and allow to cook for 40 minutes until you tap the bread and it sounds hollow.

Remove the bread from the tin and allow to cool… and dam it, it is delicious.

Notes:

I suspect that we have become a bit enamoured of the more is better syndrome and these days we see fruit breads that are loaded with all manner of fruits… apricots, figs and on and on. The spice mix in them and in yeast buns has become very intense, despite my efforts at getting some of the bakers we deal with, to modify it. And I have been guilty of this myself, often.

This is easy to do, great results and healthy.

One final word about the fruit, the Raisins I used were Sunbeam, an old Australian brand still, I am assured, grown and dried in Australia, sadly however, no longer owned in Australia, but in fact by the same Chinese company that owns many of our great brands.

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~ by peterwatsonfood on January 19, 2013.

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