Please note that I since writing this post, I have posted about soy flour, specifically the fact that I did not realize there were two kinds on the market: regular and defatted. You want to be sure to use defatted soy flour in this recipe. For more information, click here.
My carb induced dreams never tasted as good as they did the first time I made raisin bread from scratch. Those ritual breakfast muffins took a backseat for five whole days while I polished this bad boy off. What's great about raisin bread isn't just the raisins, although they're nice too, it's the subtle spice of the dough. It isn't just bread with raisins in it, it's raisin bread!
This dough has a mixture of white bread flour and whole wheat to give the strength of the bread flour's gluten with the heartiness and tastiness of the whole wheat. It also has a little bit of soy flour in it. Soy flour helps you end up with a loaf that is more moist and tender and it also helps the loaf to have better shelf life. If you can't find soy flour or would rather not use it, you can simply substitute bread flour instead.
This particular recipe utilizes a process called autolyse (pronounced "auto-lease"), where after a few minutes to mix the ingredients, the dough is allowed to sit for a bit before finishing the kneading. This short rest allows the flour to more fully absorb the moisture allowing the gluten to develop more fully. The raisins are added at the very end. Let the dough rise, covered, in a warm place until doubled.
After the dough has doubled, turn it out onto a lightly floured counter. Knead a few times to degas the dough. Using your hands, press the dough out into a large rectangle as wide as the longest dimension of your bread pan. In the photo here, I divided the dough into two smaller loaves and placed into two 4.5 x 8 inch pans, but I wasn't a fan of the proportions of the final loaf. The next time I made this bread, I made a single loaf in a 4.5 x 12 inch pan I picked up at IKEA a few years ago. If you don't have access to a pan like that, I would recommend going for a single 5 x 9 inch loaf pan. Roll the flattened dough up and then pinch the ends down and under to make a tidy log shape. Place in greased loaf pans, pinched sides down. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise again until slightly more than doubled.
Gently remove the plastic wrap and place the loaf into a preheated 375° F oven. Bake approximately 30 minutes, until the crust is nice and browned and the loaf has a nice hollow sound when tapped. If you are unsure whether the loaf is properly baked, you can stick an instant read thermometer in the middle and look for a minimum temperature of 200° F. Remove from the pan immediately onto a cooling rack. Let cool completely (or as much as you can) before tearing into the loaf. It will be hard... I'm telling you, this loaf smells goooooood when it's baking!
Yield: One 4.5"x12" loaf or one 5"x9" loaf
1 TBS instant yeast
2 1/4 cup bread flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup defatted soy flour
1/2 tsp ground ginger
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 cup lukewarm water
1 cup raisins
Mix together the first eight ingredients (through the sugar) until incorporated. Add the oil, egg yolk, and water and mix together. Knead by hand or with a dough hook in a stand mixer for 7-10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Finally, gently knead in the raisins, just until they are evenly distributed. Mixing too much with the raisins in the dough can start to break the gluten strands, so go easy.
Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until double, about an hour. Dump dough out onto a lightly floured counter. Gently knead a few times to degas the dough. Press out into a flat rectangle 9 or 12 inches wide, depending on the loaf pan you are using. Roll the loaf up and pinch the bottom seam together. Then pinch the ends together and down so that from the top, the loaf has a nice shape. Place seam side down in a greased 4.5"x12" or 5"x9" loaf pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until slightly more than double, about another hour.
When the loaf is about half risen, start preheating the oven at 375° F. When the loaf is properly risen, carefully remove the plastic wrap and bake in the center of the oven for approximately 30 minutes. When done, the loaf should have a nice golden crust, sound hollow when thumped, and have an internal temperature around 200° F. Remove from the pan promptly to cool on a wire rack. Cool completely before storing in an airtight container at room temperature for up to five days or over a week in the refrigerator.
NOTES: You can use one package of active dry yeast instead of the instant, but you will need to activate it in the warm water first for five to ten minutes. Therefore, the yeast will be added to the dough with the liquid and not with the dry ingredients. If you do not have soy flour, bread flour can be substituted.