Great Grandma’s Raisin Bread

One of my earliest food memories is my great-grandma’s raisin bread. When I was a kid, any time we visited, raisin bread toast was on the menu with breakfast. All I need to do is think about those days and I swear I can smell the aroma coming from the toaster. My mom tells me Great Grandma’s raisin bread was even served at the gift-opening breakfast the morning after my parents’ wedding. And after we moved far away and Great Grandma had passed, my grandma continued making this delicious bread and would send loaves to us for Christmas.

At some point, my grandma wrote down the recipe for me and I think I may have made it once years ago, before I really had any experience making yeast breads. Recently, I started craving it and dug out that old recipe.

Being a frugal Belgian, Great Grandma’s original version contained margarine (referred to as oleo back then) instead of the more expensive butter. As with most bread recipes handed down from that era, it contained white flour, but I figured it could be just as good if I converted it to whole grain and, of course, change the margarine to butter. I also reduced the sugar a bit, although I doubt anyone would miss it.

The end result is that lovely flavor I remember, with just a bit more heartiness from the whole wheat and every bit as comforting as Grandma’s and Great Grandma’s loaves of so long ago. They’ve both been gone for many years now, but when I think of them, warm fuzzy thoughts and special memories come flooding back. I still miss them.
DoughGrandma's RecipeRaisin Bread Toast

Great Grandma's Raisin Bread

  • Servings: two loaves
  • Print
½ cup warm water (105-115 degrees F.)

2 ¼ teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast

½ cup 2% milk, scalded

¼ cup butter, room temperature

¼ cup organic sugar

1 ½ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon vanilla

2 cups whole wheat bread flour

1 ¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour or bread flour

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup raisins, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes and then drained

Mix warm water and yeast in large bowl. Let sit 10 minutes until foamy.

Meanwhile, scald milk. Stir in butter, sugar, salt and vanilla. Set aside and let cool to lukewarm.

Add 1 ¼ cups of the whole wheat bread flour to the yeast mixture and mix until combined. Add milk mixture; mix well. Stir in eggs. Mix in drained raisins and remaining half cup whole wheat bread flour. Stir in enough of the unbleached bread or all-purpose flour to make a stiff dough.

Either knead in the bowl of a stand mixer using the dough hook, or on a lightly floured surface, for about 10 minutes. Oil a large bowl and place dough in it and turn dough over to coat top. Cover bowl with a tea towel or oiled plastic wrap and place in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled in size (about an hour).

Punch down dough. Divide dough in half and place into two greased bread pans. Cover with a tea towel or oiled plastic wrap and let rise another 45 minutes until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake loaves for 30-40 minutes. Remove from pan and cool on wire rack. Makes two loaves.


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