Now that I've gotten a little more comfortable working with yeast, I really wanted to try making bread. I didn't want to make plain white bread, but I also wasn't feeling brave enough to try anything too crazy. I'd seen this recipe on several food blogs and it always looked so good. I had all of the ingredients on hand and the recipe looked manageable so I decided to give it a shot...I'm certainly glad I did!
This bread is fantastic!!! The recipe was easy to follow, and while it was a fairly time consuming process, the results are well worth the effort. The best part was the smell of fresh bread baking in the oven. Of course, I had to try a warm slice when it came out of the oven and I was not disappointed. This is going to be a very tasty breakfast treat for the next few days.
Two minor modifications to the below recipe that I made:
1. I only had dark raisins so those were the ones I used. Instead of 1 1/2 cups, I used 1 3/4 cups based on recommendations on other websites.
2. Also, based on recommendations from others, I used 1 cup brown sugar and 2 tbsp + 3/4 tsp cinnamon for the filling.
Brown Sugar Raisin Bread
1 Tbs. active dry yeast
3 Tbs. granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups warm water (105° to 115°F)
1 cup warm milk (105° to 115°F)
3 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
1 Tbs. salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
6 to 6 1/4 cups bread flour, plus more
3/4 cup golden raisins
3/4 cup dark raisins
For the filling:
2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
mixed with 4 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
In a bowl, sprinkle the yeast and a pinch of the granulated sugar over 1⁄2 cup of the water and stir to dissolve. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. (I used about 1/2 tbsp of sugar to make sure the yeast would proof)
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, combine the remaining 3/4 cup water, the milk, butter, the remaining granulated sugar, salt, egg and 2 cups of the flour. Beat on medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Add the yeast mixture and 1⁄2 cup of the flour and beat for 1 minute. Add the raisins, then beat in the remaining flour, 1⁄2 cup at a time, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
Switch to the dough hook. Knead on medium-low speed, adding flour 1 Tbs. at a time if the dough sticks, until smooth and elastic (i.e. when the dough starts to follow the hook around the bowl and no longer sticks to the sides), about 4 minutes. Transfer the dough to a greased deep bowl and turn to coat it. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, 1 to 1 1⁄2 hours.
Lightly grease two 9-by-5-inch loaf pans.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board. Divide the dough in half and roll or pat each half into an 8-by-12-inch rectangle. Lightly sprinkle each rectangle with half of the filling, leaving a 1-inch border on all sides. Beginning at a narrow end, tightly roll up each rectangle into a compact log. Pinch the ends and the long seam to seal in the filling. Place each log, seam side down, in a prepared pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until the dough is about 1 inch above the rim of each pan, 1 to 1 1⁄2 hours.
Preheat an oven to 350°F. (Before baking I brushed the top of each loaf with an egg wash). Bake until the loaves are golden brown and pull away from the sides of the pan, 35 to 40 minutes. Turn the loaves out onto wire racks and let cool completely. Makes two 9-by-5-inch loaves.