Raisin Bread

I have never been very good at making bread. I like the process, but my loaves tend to turn out too dry or too wet, too hard and most often, most problematically, tasteless...

I bought a 1 Kilo bag of flour, thinking I would make the men some pancakes, but this idea was roundly rejected because of the lack of maple syrup. Like half & half, maple syrup is unobtainable here in Dubai and my New England males are NOT going to eat pancakes without maple syrup. That the French eat pancakes with Jam was not a selling point.

So I decided to make bread. The whole wheat flour is much granier and much heavier than what we have at home. The bran is in much bigger bits, I almost wonder if I should put it through a sifter next time.

I made a sponge with a packet of yeast, some warm milk and honey, and about 8oz of flour. This sat for about 30min. I then added another 240z of flour and about 8oz of water, a tsp of powdered ginger (next time more) and kneaded about a cup of raisins into it and let it sit overnight. By morning, very little had happened and the dough was too dry, so I added more yeast and honey dissolved in water.

After about two more hours I kneaded it again and put it in a well buttered pan. This I let rise in the pan for another two hours before baking it with a pan of water in the bottom of the oven. Our oven is celcius so I have no idea what temperature it was at.

The resulting loaf is ummm.. edible. It has a slightly sour taste, I think the first batch of yeast died, and is really healthy tasting (not in a good way). I am happy with the texture the crumb inside has just the right level of chew-yness and the raisins are pleasantly soft and tasty. The crust is good and crispy. Altogether about a C-. It wouldnt be bad served with cheese and fruit.

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