Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Raisin Bread Homemade Bread Machine

This one is for my Sissy Deb, finally got around to finishing this post!

Perfection, Finally!
How hard could it be to bake a loaf of Raisin Bread? Everyone in our family loves Raisin Bread and one of my local markets use to sell fresh baked raisin bread, which was delicious!  However, they no longer bake your basic raisin bread, they are offering raisin pecan or some other variation.
Sliced & Perfect!
In my quest to find a great loaf of raisin bread I found fresh baked loafs at my local organic bakery but at $6.50 or more for a loaf of bread I decided to learn how to bake my own raisin bread. How difficult can that be? Well, like anything that is done well practice, practice and more practice produces a good loaf of bread. I searched for healthy raisin bread recipes on the web and I found several that sounded pretty easy to make, however most of the recipes were for bread makers.
Finally Perfection!
I began experimenting with making the bread dough, the first loaf tasted really great but did not rise like it should, I think the water was too warm and the yeast did not react as it should. Ok cooler water next time and I think I punched down the dough too aggressively, it was slow to rise.
Finally after several attempts the dough was rising like I thought it should, still a lot of work and not the perfect loaf but the wonderful aroma of fresh bread baking filled our home, pure heaven and the Raisin Bread was simply yummy! 
The Bread Maker!
Just as I was perfecting my bread baking skills it seems that overnight we went from spring to summer. Ugh, way too warm to heat up the kitchen. I was sharing my story with my friend Patti. Pattie told me she had a bread maker which had traveled the world with her and she was going to loan it to me indefinitely, she had no intention of ever using the bread maker again. I was excited to try out the new to me bread machine.
Hmmm ok so how difficult could it be to make bread in a bread machine…Well it smelled like baked bread but when I opened the bread maker it looked more like a volcano than a perfect loaf of bread. Good news was that it tasted like raisin bread should taste, yum yum come get you some!
Next up was mastering the bread machine, or not……After surfing the web and reading many blogs I learned that it was possible that I was adding too much water. What? I followed the instruction in the booklet that came with the bread maker. As many cooks say “a recipe is a suggestion” however for me baking bread is a chemistry experiment. So many variables to consider; water temperature, weather- yes weather, too hot, too cold, too humid, no humidity, less yeast, more yeast, room temperature yeast…Ugh this is why I so admire bakers, it is a craft and I have more respect than ever for those who bake.
Through trial and error over the last several years here is my mostly perfect Raisin Bread recipe for the Bread Maker, of course depending on the weather:  
For a 1.5 lbs Loaf
My Recipe                                                                  Recipe in the book
10 ounces       Water –Room Temperature                        11 ounces Water
1 and ½ cups  Wheat Flour                                      3 cups Bread Flour
1 and ½ cups  Unbleached all purpose flour
2 Tablespoons Cinnamon, sometimes a dash more
1 Tablespoon Sugar                                                  1 ½ tablespoon Sugar
½ Teaspoon    Salt                                                     1 ½ teaspoons Salt
1 ½ Tablespoon Coconut Oil or Butter                   1 ½ tablespoons Butter
Do not use and no substitute for this                              1 ½ tablespoon Dry Skim Milk
½ cup of Raisins                                                        3 ounces of Raisins
1 ½ Teaspoons Yeast                                                            2 teaspoons yeast
Add the ingredients to the bread case in the order it is listed, very important!
Water first, Flour: I add a sprinkle of cinnamon on top of each cup of flour.
Next Sugar, Salt, Coconut Oil or Butter, Raisins and finally the yeast.
Plug in Mister Loaf Model HB-210-215, adjust the settings and let it do all the work, about 2 ½ hours. Don’t leave this model alone, it only buzzes once when the bread is ready. Immediacy turn off the bread maker and using hand mitts remove the pan, cool bread on a rack and BE careful not to burn yourself!
Now, smell that wonderful aroma only fresh baked bread has and enjoy!
I would love to hear your baking stories, please share! Just cook something! Cheers~ Kary ~
Additional notes:
Water temperature: no notes in the instruction booklet, it just seemed to make sense that the water should be room temperature.  
Flour notes: I did not taste or see a difference using the following: 3 cups of Bread Flour or 3 cups of unbleached all purpose flour works. I have not tried to make it with 3 cups of Wheat Flour.

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