Raisins Bread

Ingredients
First Dough
  • 8 g of fresh yeast
  • 100 g of W280 flour or bread flour
  • 50 g of water
Dough
  • 500 g of W280 flour or for each bread
  • 100 ml of milk
  • 150 g of water
  • 50 g of sugar
  • 100 g of soft butter
  • 7 g of salt
  • 120 g of raisins
  • Portions:
  • 12
  • Time:
  • 1 hour preparation + 7/8 hours rise
  • Difficulty:
  • Medium / Difficult
One of the things that makes me sad the most is to buy bread at the supermarket.

Bread is the greatest food and its making of is the most artisanal process you can find: handle water and flour, feed a started maybe a centenary one, remember that in that fragrant bite there is all the experience and labour of a person who wakes up when it’s still night to bring an excellent product to the table.
I can’t find this magic in the chewy crumb of a cooked and precooked baguette, closed in a cellophane bag. I don’t even find it in those milk bread with the sticky crust or in the "industrial" bread with oil that, to me, always smells a bit rancid.

I remember that once a week me, my mother and my sister used to go by car to the nearby village, Santa Maria di Camisano, to go to the bakery and the cheese shop: the shopping was done for several days and the bread in particular we used to freeze it, just because it was a fresh and artisanal product that once defrosted it was not affected by the treatment.
So we used to buy a couple of big bags of bread, eat at least three loaves on the way home… the car used to smell with a natural and fragrant Arbre Magique.
Before the bill my mum would always ask for an extra couple of raisins bread because my grandfather loved them and waited for them on our return.
The extra bread ended up in the freezer and, they were defrosted on a clean dishcloth on the warm radiator. Fast and without microwave ;-)

This bread, sweeten by the presence of juicy raisins, you can find in every “old fashioned bakery” there: a healthy snack with little sugar to take to school wrapped in a paper napkin, a tasty snack time that you could eat fresh but also toasted once it become stale.
Breaks like this unfortunately no longer exist: I’ve heard that some schools take particular care of break time and "imposes" fruit, yogurt or other healthy foods ... I hope they increase more and more and that in future we will return to fruit or even to good old sandwich with jam, chocolate or raisins.

The good habits are handed down: the "pan con l'ueta" must be remembered. I prepared this bread with Morena’s recipe, a dear friend with a truly unlimited knowledge in bread making.

____________


NOTES

  • Since ancient times grapes were dried under the sun to be stored for long periods: the main area of ​​production was the Mediterranean area. The "sultanina" variety is very valuable: it has soft berries, a soft skin and a very sweet pulp. You can eat it as it is for a very energetic and healthy snack, or it can be added in breads, in cakes but also in vegetarian recipe to get a good sweet and sour taste: it’s important to rehydrate it for a couple of hours in a liquid that can be different, depending on the recipe.
  • I recommend you a book about raisins: "The king of the raisin" by Fredrik SJÖBERG. A book very hard to classify, a definitely original book that you will love or hate. The author takes us to the discovery of Gustaf Eisen, pioneer of the cultivation of raisin in California, a man with a thousand skills as a zoologist, painter, archaeologist, photographer and even expert in earthworms. If you read it, let me know if you liked it.
  • If you are a true food lover, add without fear a handful of chopped walnuts to the dough. Their scent will further enrich the sweetness and fragrance of the bread. Another idea would be to combine the raisins with a grated orange or mandarin zests, if not treated and when in season.
Steps
First, soak the raisins in a bowl with hot water.

Whisk together the ingredients of the First Dough, cover the bowl with a film and wait until it’s doubled in volume

After this time, drain the raisins and dry well with paper towels.

In the first bowl, pour the raised dough, add the water (remember to keep a little aside and use it only if needed) and start to work it with the “K whisk" of the kitchen robot.
With the whisk in motion, slowly add the sugar, milk and about half of the flour.
Knead for 3-4 minutes, then add the rest of the flour by spoonful.
When the kneader is struggling to turn, replace the “K whisk” with the “hook whisk”.

Work well the dough and then add the salt and butter, a little at a time, making it absorb everytime between one addition and another. Add now the raisins without working too long.
[A well kneaded dough is a dough that is not sticky, it has its own structure and malleability, it doesn’t get torn if extended between two hands, to tell it in a simple way. For doing this, the use of a kitchen robot is very recommended: doing it by hand would be so much more difficult.]
Work the dough by hand on a floured surface, form a ball and place it in the bowl, then cover with film and let it rise until doubled (it will take at least 5-6 hours)

Divide the dough into 12 pieces (about 100 g per piece), shape the bread, place them in the baking tray covered with parchment paper and let rise again covering with a nylon sheet [I cut the freezer-bags for opening them and it works very well!]. 
It will take about another 3 hours because they must double again.
Brush with milk and bake at 180 degrees for about 20 minutes. Place the baking tray in the central area of ​​the oven.
Once baked, let them cool on a wire rack and sprinkle with icing sugar or leave them natural.
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Raisins Bread