Rustic Raisin Bread

For me, food is much more than a simple act of consumption. Food is culture, a family timeline and every recipe has its own history. Recipes are handed down through the generations, sometimes many generations, from grandmothers to mothers and their Daughters. As you will see, most recipes are usually, but not always, safeguarded by the women of the family. They are the keepers and curators of the recipes, protectors of the written word. I’m almost positive every family has their share of such treasures. These guarded secrets have stood the test of time and are responsible for many memorable family get-togethers.  

Here we will explore and share with you many of these edible family gems. Some are tried-and-true and some are hip-and-new.  

This first recipe was handed down to my wife from her mother who learned how to make the bread from her mother.  My wife's mom had a simple way of storing her recipes…by memory!  In fact, this recipe would have been lost forever had it not been for one of my wife's sisters. It was her that exuberantly encouraged their mom to sit down with her and convert her memories, step-by-step, into actual measurements.   

We’re sure your family will love this raisin bread as ours has over the years. It makes a great addition to any holiday meal or anytime at all. There is nothing better than walking into your home with the aroma of raisin bread baking in the oven. Grab the butter, it’s simply delicious!

1/2 cup warm water
2 packages active dry yeast
Let stand to soften

2 Cups milk – heat to scald
½ Cup butter
½ cup sugar
2 Teaspoons salt
2 Whole eggs, beaten
8 ½ Cups sifted flour (approx.)
11 Ounces raisins

1st  Rising: Until doubled in bulk
2nd Rising: Until double in bulk
10 Minutes resting time between risings.
Oven temperature: 350
Time: 40 Minutes or less
Yield: 2 Loaves

Measure warm water in a large bowl. Sprinkle with the dry yeast and let stand until dissolved. Measure milk in a saucepan and heat to scald. Remove from heat and add butter, sugar, and salt stirring to blend thoroughly. Cool to lukewarm. Stir beaten eggs into the softened yeast and add cooled milk mixture. Add half the flour and beat until batter is smooth. Gradually beat in the remaining flour with the raisins. Transfer to greased bowl, turning once to grease top surface. Cover with a clean cloth and place bowl in a warm spot to permit dough to double in bulk. Punch down dough with fist, turn out on floured board, cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Knead and shape into 2 loaves. Place into greased loaf pans and cover with a cloth. Place in a  warm spot and let rise until almost double. Bake.