bread

Raisin Benoitons

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Baking boyfriend had tried to make bread with Bubbly Bob. His experience was that the dough was wet and quite difficult to work with. He ended up adding a fair amount of flour into the dough to make it workable. The bread ended up with a very tough crust but the inside was decent and the flavour was quite good.

Since I have had experience at this point with a wet sticky dough I figured I should be able to tackle a Bubbly Bob bread. Some of the recipes in this book makes 3 loafs of bread, I don’t even have 3 loaf tins! So I decided on something that looks a bit more manageable. and with raisins cuz raisins are tasty.

It doesn’t seem to matter how much I turn the heat up, my kitchen just never get warm enough for optimal yeast work. Fortunately you can split the whole process up in two days so you don’t have to wait till your bread is done before you go to bed.

Normally a bread recipe will say:
1. Mix dough.
2. Knead for 10-15 minutes
3. Rise for 45mins to an hour
4.Shape dough
5. Proof for 30 mins.
6. Bake for 30-45 mins

The shortest time you can get bread ready is about 2 hours. I found with a sticky dough with all the extra hand-kneading and a cold kitchen it becomes 4 hours or more. At the end of the day you ask yourself, is this worth it? If you like bread, and a challenge, maybe!

I find most bread with those lovely, airy open crumbs don’t keep very well: they go hard way faster than I’d like. This one heats back up wonderfully so you can still share it with your co-workers or friends on the 3rd day and they wouldn’t even know it is not fresh. And people are generally very impressed if you tell them it is homemade bread, so this is definitely a winner here. Serve them warmed with some butter smeared on top, oh yes, it will win you some real, actual hearts.

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Recipe from the awesome Larousse Book of Bread
Makes 12 sticks (or more or less depending on how well you shape them)

300g All Purpose Flour
200g Rye Flour
380g Room Temperature Water
75g Liquid Sourdough Starter
5g Active Dry Yeast*
2tsp Salt
300g Raisins
30g Melted Butter

*The book calls for 10g Fresh yeast if you have them. Not sure if it makes a difference.

1. Mix flour and water together and let stand for 30-45mins. (Optional step, never hurt if you have time)

2. Add Starter, salt and yeast into the dough and mix well. Avoid direct contact of yeast and salt. Salt is a YEAST KILLER. YOU DO NOT WANT TO MURDER YOUR YEAST FRIENDS.

3. Now knead the dough. It is going to be sticky, just keep at it like it is your enemy. Work all of the tension out from your system. It helps if you visualize an enemy and yell profanities loudly. The dough is read when it sticks to itself instead of you, or the counter. Don’t forget to shout HURRAH as you have defeated the dough. Then, you can add raisins and butter. If you add raisins too early on you will be pressing on them and they will burst and it is very, very gross.

4. Shape your enemy the dough into a vaguely ball shape and put it back in a bowl and cover with a damp cloth or clingfilm. Let it rise for one hour.

5. The dough would realize what it has done to your shoulder and arm muscles. It’s so embarrassed it will grow double in size.(You can also freeze them at this point and continue the next day if you run out of time)

6. Dust the work surface lightly with flour. Take your dough out, punch it some more to knock all its air out because you are very stressed for some reason.

7. Stretch the dough with your hands out into a somewhat rectangular shape to about 2cm thick. Mine turned out kinda oval but that is fine. You CAN theoretically use a rolling pin but it would be exploding raisins again and we really like those raisins to stay whole if possible.

8. Preheat your oven now. To 220°c/425°f

9. Cut your now flat rectangular-ish dough in half. Then again in 6 in each half so you end up with 12 long stick of dough. Line your baking sheet of choice with parchment and place the sticks on it. Cover with a damp cloth and let them proof for an hour and a half or until it has grow 50% in size. Ish. It is a bit hard to tell with the shape.

10. You have two option to create some steam in the oven before the bread goes in. You can either a) spray a bit of water on the dough or b) put a heat proof something in when you pre-heat your oven. When you are ready to put the bread in, pour 50g of water into that container in the oven to create steam.

**If you choose b) make sure your water is HOT when you pour it into the pre-heated container. I learnt a terrible lesson when I pour not-hot water into my hot ceramic dish it went *CLINK CLINK* and cracked according to physics. I am very attached to my dish and I don’t want you to make the same mistake as I do. 

11. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until they look like they are done. Golden brown and all. Take them out, let them cool down before trying to eat it. I will tell you now the raisins are like little lava spots. IT HURTS IF YOU PRESS ONTO THEM! Don’t say I didn’t warned ya!

 

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