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    Sunday, October 02, 2011

    Raisin Bread - Better than a Bought One

    I have been making some really good bread, with my basic white dough.
    Great pizza, lovely bread for sandwiches
    A good all round dough.
    A friend of mine asked if I had a recipe for raisin bread.
    So I thought about it and came up with this recipe.
    It might seem a little finicky but seriously worth it.

    A few hints for good bread
    Always make sure your dough is moist, rather than dry
    Don’t add too much extra flour
    Even though it seems to be too wet, when you add the fruit.
    It will knead out
    And only takes 5 minutes or so.

    Total time around 3 hours from flour to bread.
    BUT most of this time is proving and cooking time
    Actual work
    About 20 minutes max

    So for 1 loaf
    2 cups flour
    1 tsp salt
    2 tablespoons sugar
    1 1/2 mixed spice

    1 tsp sugar
    1tbs olive oil
    200 mls hand hot water
    Keep about 50 mls extra aside in case you need it
    1 pkt dry yeast

    40 g currants
    90g sultanas
    100 mls boiling water

    Dissolve sugar in 200 mls of hand hot water
    Add oil and yeast
    Stir and leave to froth up about 5 minutes

    Meanwhile put flour, salt, sugar, mixed spice into food processor
    Whiz a couple of seconds
    Add yeast mixture
    Whiz again, it should form a ball almost straight away
    And come away from the sides
    If not add a little more water a tablespoon at a time
    Then, let the machine knead it for about a minute
    Leave it to sit and relax about 5 minutes

    Tip out onto bench and stretch it out
    It should be really soft not too dry

    Turn into a ball and place in an oiled bowl
    Slash a cross on the top with a sharp knife
    Cover with a tea towel or plastic wrap
    Leave to rise
    Add boiling water to dried fruit
    to plump them up

    When the dough has doubled in size, about 1 hour
    Tip onto bench again
    Stretch out again

    Strain fruit and put in middle of dough.
    Fold edges over and let sit for another 30 minutes

    Back onto lightly floured bench... keep some extra flour on the bench
    You will need this flour, the mixture will be quite wet
    Don’t worry about the fruit going all over the bench
    Just keep folding it over, bringing the errant fruit in, till it is blended
    adding a little more flour, as you need it
    Back into bowl for another 45 minutes

    Onto lightly floured bench again
    Last time, I promise!
    Pat out to a square
    Bring the sides into the middle
    Just like a little parcel
    Put the little parcel into a greased and floured loaf tin
    Seam side down
    Push the edges down, to get a rounded shape
    Cover again and leave for another 45 minutes approx
    It will double in size again
    While this is happening
    Pre-heat the oven to 210C
    Slash a pattern across the top
    Gives a nice appearance
    Sprinkle with flour

    Put bread into oven
    Check after 20 minutes
    It will probably need another 5-10 minutes
    Just use your eyes and nose
    It should be golden brown and smell delicious

    Let cool in tin for a few minutes, then leave to cool on a wire rack

    Fresh…Just smother with a bit of lovely butter
    Next morning Toast

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