Raisin Brown Bread

A really wholesome loaf to bake, Raisin Brown Bread is made with a mixture of stone-ground flour, treacle or molasses and rich Muscatel raisins. Serve warm from the oven, cut into slices and spread with butter.

1-

6 oz. plus

2 teaspoons butter

I oz. fresh yeast

6 oz. plus

1 teaspoon soft brown sugar 3 teaspoons lukewarm water 16 fl. oz. milk 3 fl. oz. treacle or molasses 12 oz. Muscatel raisins, soaked in boiling water for minutes and drained 1 lb. stone-ground wholemeal flour

1 lb. stone-ground rye flour l-½ teaspoons salt

1

Grease two 1-pound loaf tins with the 2 teaspoons of butter and set aside.

Crumble the yeast into a small bowl and mash in the 1 teaspoon of sugar with a kitchen fork. Add the water and cream the water and yeast together to form a smooth paste. Set the bowl aside in a warm, draught-free place for 15 to 20 minutes or until the yeast has risen and is puffed up and frothy.

Meanwhile, pour the milk into a medium-sized saucepan and add the treacle or molasses. Scald the mixture over moderately high heat (bring to just below boiling point). Stir in the remaining butter and the remaining sugar, and stir until the butter has melted and the sugar dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool to lukewarm.

Place the raisins in a warmed, large mixing bowl. Add the wholemeal flour, rye flour and salt to the raisins and stir well to mix.

Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and pour in the yeast and milk mixtures. Using your fingers or a spatula, gradually draw the flour into the liquid. Continue mixing until all the flour is incorporated and the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl.

Turn the dough out on to a floured board or marble slab and knead for about 10 minutes, reflouring the surface if the dough becomes sticky. The dough should be elastic and smooth.

Rinse, thoroughly dry and lightly grease the large mixing bowl. Shape the dough into a ball and return it to the bowl.

Dust the top of the dough with a little flour and cover the bowl with a clean damp cloth. Put the bowl in a warm, draught-free place for 1 ½ to 2 hours or until the dough has risen and has almost doubled in bulk.

Turn the risen dough out of the bowl on to a floured surface and knead vigorously for about 4 minutes. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough in half. Roll and shape each piece of dough into a loaf and place in the tins. Cover with a damp cloth and return to a warm place for about 30 to 45 minutes or until the dough has risen slightly.

Preheat the oven to very hot 475 °F (Gas Mark 9, 240°C).

Place the tins in the centre of the oven and bake for

15 minutes. Then lower the oven temperature to hot

425 °F (Gas MARK 7,

220°C). Put the tins on a lower shelf in the oven and bake for another

25 TO 30 minutes.

After removing the bread from the Rich with nuts, candied peel, raisins and eggs, Raisin Cake should be served in small wedges with coffee. oven, tip the loaves out and rap the undersides with your knuckles. If the bread sounds hollow, like a drum, it is cooked.

If the bread does not sound hollow, lower the oven temperature to fairly hot 375 °F (Gas Mark 5, 190°C), return the loaves, upside-down, to the oven, and bake for a further 10 minutes.

Cool the loaves on a wire rack.

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