Aunt Barbara’s Raisin Bread
This is our family’s raisin bread recipe. It is a hearty raisin bread, not your fluffy sugar bomb version. If you are family and see any mistakes, please let me know as this is a work in progress and I am not a professional. I will hopefully add pictures, and maybe even video, of the process over time.
2 lbs. General purpose flour.
1 stick of butter
1 cup sugar, granulated.
1/4 teaspoon salt.
1 packet active dry yeast.
12 oz. box raisins.
About an hour before your start, take out the eggs and butter and let them come up to room temperature. This makes them easier to mix and combine. Take about 2/3s of the 12 oz. box of raisins and put them in a bowl. Fill with cool water so that the raisins are completely covered with water. This plumps them up a little for mixing.
When you are ready to begin, start activating the yeast by stirring it into a 1/4 cup warm water (approximately 100-110 degrees). Not too hot because it will kill the yeast and the bread won’t rise. I use one packet of Fleishmanns Active Dry yeast along with a 1/4 teaspoon of sugar.
In preparation for the “big combination”, scramble the 4 eggs in a bowl. Melt the stick of butter completely in a separate bowl. Drain your bowl of raisins.
Next take the 2 pound bag of flour and scoop out about 2/3 cup and set aside. Dump the rest of the bag on your work surface. Make sure you have some room to work though and be ready for a bit of a mess. This is where a counter with a raised edge comes in handy to contain the mixture.
Add 1 cup of sugar and a 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the mound of flour. Mix the pile of dry ingredients together on the counter. Make the mound into a shape like a doughnut with a “well” in the middle about 8-10 inches across.
Now get ready for the combination chaos! Dump the water, activated yeast, melted butter, scrambled eggs, and raisins into the “well” of the mixed dry ingredients and start kneading.
Add up to 2/3 a cup of room temperature water as you knead. The water is so that the ingredients mix properly. As you go, sprinkle the counter with the extra flour periodically as you knead so that the dough doesn’t stick. Do this for about 5-7 minutes. You will know you are done when you stop kneading the dough and poke it. It should spring back a little. Put it in a bowl and cover with a hand towel and let raise until it doubles in size. It must be warm so that it raises properly and can take an hour or so.
While you wait prepare a couple for bread loaf pans for the dough. Take a pan and wipe the insides with Crisco lightly. Use some of the set aside flour and dust the pans generously on the inside and you are all set.
When the ball of dough has doubled in size take it out and punch it down and knead lightly for 1 minute. Cut into 2 even parts and shape into loaves that will fit in the pans. Put the dough in the prepared pans and sprinkle the tops with some granulated sugar. Split top lengthwise with a knife and cover with a hand towel again. Let raise for at least 1 hour or until the the next morning.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 45-50 minutes. After about 25 minutes, cover with foil for the remainging time.
Take out of oven and place on cooling racks to cool.
Slather generously with butter while still warm, not hot or it will crumple, and enjoy! Repeat as necessary until full.