Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Taste Buds: Grandma’s Old Fashioned Raisin Bread


AHHH this bread, this glorious wonderful bread has been in our family forever. Well forever may be a bit of an exaggeration but I don’t really know how many generations it goes back. I just know it’s old. Whenever I decide to make this recipe I am reminded of my mother, my grandmother and all the woman of my past. This bread flows in our blood, a recipe that I hope to pass down to my own little woman someday.

Aside from the luscious taste of this bread it has an old heavy wonderful consistency that is totally worth the 8 hours it takes to cook it. I know you think EIGHT HOURS is a long time to dedicate to bread but it is WORTH IT. If you break down the steps this recipe is quite easy. The hardest thing about it is finding the lard and dedicating a whole day to making it. And dedicate is the right word for it because you have to baby that yeast. By leaving it alone to fend for itself it may die and that will just make some sad flat bread. Good luck and let me know if you decide to make it and what you think!

A trick with the yeast. Since yeast is alive and we want it to grow you have to keep the mixture warm. You have two options. If your oven has a Proof setting that is a setting that will keep your oven warm and the yeast alive, you are lucky and can turn that on and come back in an hour to an hour and a half. If you do not have a proofing setting on your oven you have to do a little bit more maintenance to keep the yeast alive. Make sure to get a dish towel, run it under warm water and place it over your bowl of yeast. You need to remove the cooled cloth and re-warm it in water every 20 minutes. Leave the dough in the oven away from cool drafts and also keep a casserole dish with very hot water right under the bowl making sure to change the water with new hot water every 20 minutes.


If you baby the dough in this fashion you will get a nice raise, where the dough will double its size and the bread will become lighter and airy. If your dough does not raise well in this part of the process the dough will be more compact and dense but it will still taste good.

1 small Idaho potato
3 packets of Fleischmann's yeast
17 cups flour
1 egg
1 Kero syrup
2 tablespoons of salt
1/2 pounds of lard
1 box brown sugar
1 box raisins
2 tablespoons of cinnamon
1 1/2 tablespoons of nutmeg
1 1/2 tablespoons of all spice
1/2 teaspoon of cloves
2 cups water
¼ cup Crisco
3 brown paper bags

1. Peel, dice and boil the small potato until very soft
2. Remove potato from water (strain if you have to) and place potato in a large glass bowl. Add about 2 ½ cup of luke warm water and break up the potato pieces. You want the water to be warm, like a baby’s bath water. Once the pieces are all broken up and the mixture is not to hot or cold add the 3 cakes of yeast and 3 cups of flour. Stir gently until just mixed.
3. Cover the bowl with a damp warm towel and let rise until double in size about an hour and a half. see notes about yeast above. Take a large coffee cup and put in an egg. Fill the rest of the cup with kero syrup and put off to the side. The egg and the kero syrup must be at room temperature so giving it an hour to sit while the bread is raising is a must.

wait an hour and a half

4. About 10 minutes before the raise is up, in a large roasting pan over two burners turned on the stove warm all these ingredients; 10 cups of flour, salt, lard, brown sugar, raisins, cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice and cloves; until they are like bath water, warm but not hot.
5. Take the roasting pan off the heat, place the pan on two large kitchen towels (to prevent the counter from getting scratched and burned). With a bag of flour next to you and a half scoop measuring cup sticking.
6. Make a hole in this warmed mixture and add yeast mixture, egg & kero coffee cup, and two cups of water.
7. Start to knead your dough adding flour in half cup increments until the dough is no longer SUPER sticky, like wet gum, but just slightly tacky like taffy. You will generally need to add about 4 cups of flour give or take a cup.
8. Once the dough is ready lightly grease the top of dough with Crisco. Cover with warm towel and again keep in the oven warm swapping out the warmed towel and water below until it doubles in size (about 2 hours).
9. Cut paper bags into squares large enough to line bread pans. Grease bread pans with Crisco, put in paper bag liners and grease the paper bag. Set aside until dough is done rising.

wait two hours

10. Remove bread yeast from the oven. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
11. Cut the bread yeast into 3-5 equal sized loaves and gently mold the bread into mini loaves placing them into the lined bread pans.
12. Bake at 300 degrees for about 1 hour to 1.5 hour until the tops are toasty brown. Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes. Remove bread from bread pans and let cool for another hour. Place loaves into large freezer Ziploc bags and place in the freezer for up to 4 months or the fridge for 3 days.

1 comment:

paul peggy zeus said...

Oh I am soooo wanting to taste Raisin Bread again. That is the saddest part about full time RVing. You cannot make it in my tiny little oven! Maybe I'll help Jenn make it... MMMMM I really want a slice!

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