Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Country-Style (Raisin) Bread

I asked Son #1 what he wanted for his birthday dinner, fully expecting that we would be throwing back veggie dogs and french fries tonight. When he said he wanted Cauliflower and Roasted Garlic Soup I could not believe my ears. He really is growing up! I also made this bread to go with the soup. It is a soft, fluffy, country-style bread (as opposed to a chewy, crusty, cafe-style bread). I made one loaf plain, and made the other into a cinnamon raisin bread.

- 1/3 cup warm water
- 2 tsp active dry yeast
- 3/4 tsp sugar
- 2 cups warm water
- 1/3 cup sugar
- scant 3/4 tsp salt
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp ground flax seed, whisked into 3 tbsp of water
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 6-7 cup white bread flour

1. Stir 3/4 tsp of sugar into 1/3 cup of water. Mix in yeast and set aside until foamy.
2. Mix together 2 cups water, sugar, salt, vinegar, flax mixture, and oil in a large bowl. Mix in yeast mixture and 2 cups of flour (I do this with the batter attachment of a Kitchen Aid counter top mixer). Beat until smooth.
3. Add in 2 more cups of flour and mix until smooth. Add in enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough (either by hand or with the dough hook attachment). Knead until smooth.
4. Place dough in a well-greased (i.e. margarined) bowl, turning to grease all sides. Cover with a towel and let rise for at least an hour, until doubled in size. If making a raisin bread loaf, divide dough in 2 equal pieces after kneading. Knead 1 cup of raisins into one of the dough balls. Let rise like the other dough ball.
5. Punch down risen dough and knead for a minute or so to get out the air bubbles. Roll out into a rectangle (width depends on the size of your loaf pan). Roll up tightly along the shorter end, seal seam and sides, and place in loaf pan. Let rise for 45 minutes, uncovered. If making raisin bread, roll out dough and sprinkle with 1/3 cup of brown sugar mixed with 1 tsp of cinnamon. Roll tightly and seal seam and sides. Let rise, uncovered, for 45 mins.
6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place loaves in oven and bake for 35-40 minutes, until loaves are nicely browned and sound hollow when you knock on the bottom.
7. Let cool on racks, but make sure you eat a slice while still warm.