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Though I try, I can’t conceal all the awesome.

It’s twoo.

One of the things on the Learn To Cook list and holy cow how is it May already was raisin bread. (I keep typing “raising bread”, which isn’t really incorrect, but not what I’m talking about here, thanks auto-fingers.)

Queue awesome: BAM

Might have been a little under-ambitious with whole Learn To Cook List. Raisin bread was a simple variation on my usual sandwich bread (for reference: half wholemeal flour, half white flour, 75% hydration, salt, dry yeast). Throw in some sugar, spices and soaked sultanas and a little milk powder, and proceed as normal. The result is beautiful. Soaking the sultanas in some boiling water and bicarb soda kept them plump and squishy through baking, and the extra milk powder kept the crust soft.

Look at that crumb. LOOK AT IT.

I looked up many (read: some) (okay, a couple of) recipes for raisin bread, and they all had a similar technique: spread the dough, sprinkle with seasonings and sultanas, then roll up. There are some significant problems with this method. The key problem is the spiral-shaped seam; when you toast the bread and it shrinks slightly, it will shrink away from this seam, opening up a spiral-shaped crevasse which will promptly surrender all your sultanas and let the butter run through and onto your lap.

Glorious crumb. KEEP LOOKING.

Improvements for next time: double or triple the spices and sultanas. You know they’re there, but they’re a little rare, know what I’m saying? Also, add some melted butter to lush up the dough.

Man, I’m so amped: this basic raisin bread was such a triumph, I’ve got billions of ideas about what to try next. M’s dad made the excellent suggestion of dried apricots, an idea given further momentum by the massive wedges of sourdough fruit toast I sampled at a Katoomba café on the weekend. Said toast also featured figs and dates and the whole thing was such an orgy of spicy fruity awesome toastiness I realise how hollow and meaningless my life has been up to now. NO LONGER. STAND BACK: I’VE GOT FRUIT LOAF TO MAKE!

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