I admit I'm a sucker for this bread and always have been. I remember eating it as a kid back in Canada. I mean eating the store bought kind. Of course, back then (too many years) the bread was at least closer to being real bread, even if it was baked in an industrial oven by the hundreds. No, not thousands, I do come from a very small town, but still. Also, back then it wasn't laced with all the emulsifiers, and stabilizers and freshness enhancers like today. Oh, and the color was real, brought on by the cinnamon and the wheat. Maybe that's why raisin walnut bread has such a warm spot in my heart, I don't know. But for me it means breakfast, lightly toasted and covered with butter. Or, better yet, peanut butter that starts to 'melt' and gets sloppy all over everything from the still warm bread. Whatever it is, I admit it. I love raisin bread and this version, a recipe I kind of made up on the fly, is perfect. The evidence is that I made it yesterday, and the loaf is almost gone. What can I say?
Here's What You'll Need:
about 3 cups (420 g) AP flour
1/2 Tbs instant dry yeast
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbs. sugar
1/4 cup dry milk powder (or use baby formula as a substitute)
1 tsp. cinnamon
about 1 cup (250 ml) warm water
about 1/2 cup re-hydrated raisins*
about 1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
* To re-hydrate the raisins, place then in a glass dish and cover with very warm water for about an hour. They will plump up beautifully. Drain and squeeze the water out, then add to the dough. Because they have added water, you will need to adjust the amount of flour.
Here's What You'll Need To Do:
1. Mix everything together (except the raisins and walnuts) and mix to form a rough dough. Add flour or water to keep the dough just barely sticky and very soft. Knead the dough until smooth, then place in a lightly oiled bowl, turn to coat, then cover and let it rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.
2. Punch down the dough. Spread it out, gently, into a rough rectangle, spread the raisins and walnuts on the dough, then 'wrap' them up like folding a letter. Knead the dough until they are evenly distributed. You will probably need to add flour as the raisins are moist and will make the dough quite sticky. Add just enough to keep the dough just slightly sticky.
3. Form into a loaf, them place the dough into a prepared loaf pan, and cover to let it rise again, until just peering over the edge of the pan, about 45 minutes.
4. Bake at 350 F (180 C) for about 30 minutes until it is a nut brown and fills the house with the most wonderful aroma. Oh, and it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
5. Cool completely (if you can) on a rack. Then smother with butter, cream cheese or whatever is on hand and gobble it up!