Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Rosemary Raisin Bread

From Better Homes and Gardens: Classic Recipes, published in 2005. This is one of the very few cookbooks I have that was published in the past decade, and it's also one of my very favorites. This will not be the last time I post a recipe from it!

This rosemary raisin bread is the perfect bread to have with breakfast (or as breakfast if you only have time to grab something small). It's savory-sweet, is good toasted or not, and it goes well with other breakfast foods such as eggs.

The recipe makes two loaves, but I always halve the recipe because I only own one loaf pan. It's easy to halve, except it might be a little tricky to cut an egg yolk in half! I suggest getting a little custard cup or condiment bowl and putting the yolk in there, then taking a spoon to scoop out half of it when you need to put it in the batter, and put the other half aside until you need it for the glaze.

6 to 6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 packages active dry yeast
2 1/2 cups milk
3 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp butter
2 tsp salt
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 cups golden or dark raisins
4 tsp dried rosemary
1 egg yolk, beaten
1 tbsp milk

Prep: 30 minutes
Rise: 75 minutes
Bake: 40 minutes

In a very large mixing bowl stir together 3 cups of the flour and the yeast; set aside. In a medium saucepan heat and stir the 2 1/2 cups milk, the sugar, butter, and salt until warm (120 to 130F) and butter is almost melted. Add warm milk mixture to flour mixture. Add 1 egg yolk; stir until combined.

Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds, scraping the side of the bowl constantly. Beat mixture on high speed for 3 minutes more. Sprinkle raisins and rosemary onto flour mixture. 
Using a wooden spoon, stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic, about 6 to 8 minutes total. Shape dough into a ball. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl; turn once to grease the surface. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double in size (about 45 to 60 minutes).
Punch dough down. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough in half. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Lightly grease two 8x4x2-inch or 9x5x3-inch loaf pans. Shape each half of the dough into a loaf. Place in prepared pans. Cover and let rise in a warm place until nearly double in size (30 to 40 minutes).
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375F. For the glaze, combine the remaining egg yolk and milk; brush lightly onto tops of risen dough. Using a serrated knife, make a long shallow cut down the length of dough in each pan.
Bake about 40 minutes or until the loaf is golden brown and crusty. The bread should sound hollow when tapped.Cover loosely with foil during the last 10 minutes of baking to prevent overbrowning, if necessary.
Loosen bread and remove from pans immediately. Cool on wire racks.

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