Monday, February 06, 2012

double duty double deals!

Well, at least that's what the headline touts from the right-hand page of the Woman's Day magazine to my right.

The magazine - It's a gift from my mommy. Y'all shut about about how only old ladies read Woman's Day because Family Circle is too 'young' for them. Just shush. I'd read Cosmo, but the scratch and sniff perfume ads give me headaches and the models make me angry.

My brother gets Smithsonian each year as one of his Christmas gifts. I wouldn't mind that either. I could learn some things that don't involve the latest in decorating trends or how to wear this Spring's makeup or what kind of lunch to pack for maximum belly-blasting punch. It might be fun to lean back with a good magazine that engages only my brain and not some languishing feeling of inadequacy, but that's OK. I'm actually fining new things to cook and I rather like the craft ideas (I don't do any of them) and some of the product things are really great, plus which there are some really great columns by very good writers and NO perfume samples.

It's a lovely little mag, really. Not one I'd buy for myself, which is good because if I was left to only buy magazines for me I'd wind up with "Steampunk Weekly" and "Gross Things Our Bodies Do" and the like.

It's better my Mom gets me a subscription to a magazine that reminds me that I am a woman and as such have certain standards to adhere to that don't revolve around toilet humor, science fiction, and ghastly things that should remain firmly bound up in a notebook someplace.

The bright colors of this monthly infusion of ladyness in our home is good for me. And our family. I get inspired by it, and as such might EVEN do a craft with doilies and spray paint and mirrors. It's really pretty cool.

But that is not what I came here to talk about tonight. Nope.

I came here to talk about RAISIN BREAD. The recipe for which I found on FARK.

Seriously. FARK.

This is the most bestest bread I've ever made in the raisin variety. It has a SUPER rise, is moist and tender, slightly sweet, and does 'oven spring' like nothing I've ever seen before. So, here's the recipe, in case you want to be all down-homey and Woman's Day-ey like me (ey):

Awesome FARKIN raisin Bread, with tweaks by Tiff

You'll need:

1 cup water
1 cup 1% milk
2 packages active dry yeast (or 2 level TBSP instant yeast)
6-7 cups all-purpose flour (6.5 for a nice firm-soft dough)
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup oil (I used cheap olive oil, regardless of virginity, regular veg oil works well too)
2 eggs
1/2 to 1 cup raisins, depending on your raisinattude.
extra cinnamon/sugar for sprinkling.

A big bowl
a small bowl
a big spoon
measuring cups and spoons
a big cookie sheet of any shape.
some dish towels.

How to do it:

  • Turn the oven on to its lowest setting. Once it's preheated, turn it off. You just want it warm.
  • Heat the water and milk in the big bowl until it's warm as your index finger when you dunk it in there. Don't worry. you'll know.
  • Add the yeast, give 'er a stir. Let that sit for 10 minutes until you see lil bubbles breaking on the surface.
  • Add the sugar and salt and cinnamon to the liquid.
  • Add a cup of the flour to the liquids, whisk until smooth.
  • Add the oil and the egg. Stir until smooth.
  • Add 2 more cups of flour, one at a time , whisking until smooth each time.
  • Dump 3 more cups of flour on top, and start kneading in. We use our Kitchenaid mixer for this. You can do the workout thing though and go old-school with hands and strength, turning, folding, and smooshing until the dough is a silken ball that separates easily from a well-floured surface and can hold its shape if lifted up high like you were baptizing it in the light of a Serengeti sunset.
  • OK, now drop that dough in the big bowl (after lightly greasing it) and wash your hands. Then take a clean dishtowel and run some hot water through it and wring it out, then drape it over the top of the bowl.
  • Put the big bowl in the oven you heated earlier. If the bowl is plastic, put it in a pan of cold water so the base doesn't melt. Now go do something else for a couple hours while the bread proofs.
  • Once the loaf has plumped up about twice what it was, (and when a finger poked into yields a hole that doesn't fill in at all), punch it back down. Let that poor sad mass sit quietly under a moist towel like before for about 10 minutes to rest. It's going to need that time, as you're about to Work It Out.
  • Once the dough is rested, punch is down again to get rid of errant air bubbles.
  • Shape into a flat rectangle about a half-inch thick, cut in 2 pieces, spread with sugar, cinnamon, and raisins. Roll each piece longways into a loaf, pinching seam to seal. Place in prepared pan (that means greased, y'all) seam side down. Don't worry about the rolled edges - they're fine to leave 'open.' I made one in a loaf pan and one like a giant sweet raisiny croissant in a pie dish. Both worked.
  • Preheat the oven again while you're doing this.
  • Place the loaves in the warm oven.
  • Once the loaf has doubled in size, take it out, leave lightly covered with a dishcloth.
  • Preheat the oven to 350F. Put the loaves back in to bake for ~30-35 minutes. DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN for at least 25 minutes. Peek after that and begin softening some butter for when the bread is ready. If you've done it right, a steak knife will slide in and out clean in the middle of the loaf.
  • Leave the bread to bake for until such time as the tops are the color of a nice glass of bourbon (neat), then pull out and let cool for 10 minutes in the pan. Maybe slather the top with some melted butter. It's up to you.
  • Then tip out onto a cooling rack and let cool as long as you can stand it.



So, yeah. ME being all weird AND domestic. It's just how we do roll.

Tiff out.

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