Double the Raisin Bread – Double the Fun

I few weeks back, i happened to be at Trader Joe’s – my normal go-to store for wine, when i was struck by a hankering for raisin bread.  I walked each and every aisle looking for raisins, and could not find them.  Surely a grocery store must carry raisins, right?  I finally swallowed my pride (asking for directions in a store is even worse than when in a car) and a friendly associate showed me to the raisins.  I had, of course, walked past them several times.  But my excuse is that i was looking for, and expecting, them to be in boxes.  Trader Joe’s does not sell their raisins in boxes – oh no, they sell them in bags.

Once i had located the raisins, i needed to make a choice.  Quick tangent and partial over-share – i am, in general terms, a terribly indecisive person.  My wife is not usually incredibly decisive either – so much so that we have devised the following method of making most decisions:

  1. One of us will narrow down the choices to 3 (no more, no less) choices
  2. The other one will pick one of those choices
  3. The first person will generally say “that is the one i was going to pick”

I share this because one of the things i generally like about Trader Joe’s is that that don’t over-complicate things in terms of options.  The store brand (which is generally what i prefer) is usually the only choice.  So i expected that once i found the generic Trader Joe’s raisins, i would put them in my basket and continue on my way.  What i didn’t count on here was that golden raisins are a thing.  I’m not sure if i did or did not realize this – the concept does make sense to me – if i had put some thought into it or been taken down a line of questioning i’m sure i would have concluded that golden raisins do in fact exist, but i can’t say that i was familiar with the idea of golden raisins.  So my choice was whether to go traditional, or off the beaten path with the golden raisins.  And of course, because i had to make it slightly more complicated, there was also door #3, dried cranberries/not grapes/etc. Door #3 was quickly swept aside, and i decided i would go with the thing i just discovered- the golden raisins.

As you’ll recall from previous posts, i then failed to plan, and wanted to do something different for my birthday, so the golden raisins sat in my kitchen, waiting, feeling more and more unloved each and every day.  For the first week i left them on my table, but the constant sight of them was a reminder of my failure to follow-through on that urge in the grocery store.  They eventually were moved to the cabinet, where i only had to view them once or twice a day.  Each time i mentally made a note – this weekend will be different, raisins – you will become part of delicious raisin bread!

As i got closer to the weekend, i started my usual process of reviewing recipes, trying to combine things and put my own spin on them.  I was struck by two posts (more accurately, the great photos on two posts).  The actual recipes were very similar, with the main differences being the amount of raisins (inconsequential in my eyes) and one used water only, whereas the other used half milk, half water for liquid.  At my house we have converted mostly to almond milk (i’m not necessarily lactose intolerant, but i’m also not the least gassy person after i’ve had a big bowl of cereal with normal milk).  Intrigued, i decided i would do two variations this week – version A would be a ‘no-frills’ raisin bread, cutting out the sugar and cinnamon, and version B would include all those sweet things (and have the half milk).

I was surprised that prepping and executing two different breads in one batch was actually not much more work than a single loaf.  I mentally filed this away- if i can double the output with just a few additional dirty kitchen items, it’s well worth it.  A few things i found useful:

  • This week i measured out all my ingredients before doing any mixing – so i measured out two servings of the salt (in separate containers), then two servings of flour, etc.
  • Given that i use a kitchenaid mixer to start the dough, i went with the ‘plainer’ dough first, to try to avoid any crossover of ingredients
Ingredients 1

Ingredients for Variety A

Ingredients 2

Ingredients for Variety B

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Variety A pre-rise

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Variety B pre-rise

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Variety B w/ scoring

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Cinnamon makes a big difference in the color and texture

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Amazing toasted with a bit of butter

Raisin Bread (Variation A)

Inspired by Life Is Crazy Beautiful and Kitchen Heals Soul

Ingredients

  • 3 cups Bread Flour
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp yeast
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 1/2 cup water

Directions

  1. Mix flour and salt in a mixer.  Mix water and yeast and combine with dry ingredients – mix until a combined dough, then mix in raisins
  2. Let rise overnight or 12-18 hours
  3. Form into a ball and drop into a pre-heated (to 450 degrees) dutch oven for 30 minutes covered, then uncover for 15 minutes for color.

 

Raisin Bread (Variation B)

Inspired by Life Is Crazy Beautiful and Kitchen Heals Soul

Ingredients

  • 3 cups Bread Flour
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp yeast
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon

Directions

  1. Mix flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt in a mixer.  Mix water and yeast and combine with dry ingredients – mix until a combined dough, then mix in raisins
  2. Let rise overnight or 12-18 hours
  3. Form into a ball and drop into a pre-heated (to 450 degrees) dutch oven for 30 minutes covered, then uncover for 15 minutes for color.

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