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Monday, January 14, 2019


This bread, adapted from Beard on Bread by James Beard comes from my ‘Recipes I Have Known and Loved’ cookbook by Jane Brody. It is delicious, and the dough is easy to handle, while most whole wheat bread doughs are sticky. If you would rather not use alcohol, just soak the raisins in warm water or apple juice.
I have tweaked the original instructions and added a few personal hints to make the making if the dough process flow easier, but aside from those small tweaks, the basic ingredients and baking instructions are the same.

Cooked in a new oven … obviously the top got a little too browned and I need to cover with foil a little sooner. Live and learn ;-) 


1/3 cup Raisins * Brandy or Sherry for soaking raisins * 1-1/2 cups warm Water (105 degree to 115 degrees), divided per instructions below * 2 packages active dry Yeast * 2 Tablespoons granulated Sugar * 4 cups Whole Wheat Flour, preferably stone-ground * 1-3/4 to 2 cups White Flour * 2 teaspoons Salt, if desired * 3/4 cup skim or low-fat Milk * 1/2 cup Honey * 2 Tablespoons melted Butter (or margarine or oil)

Assemble ingredients. Place the raisins in a small bowl, add the brandy or sherry just to cover, and soak the raisins until they are soft and swell. Combine the whole-wheat flour, 1-1/2 cups of the white flour, and the salt.

Place 1/2 cup warm water in large bowl, add the yeast and sugar; stir to dissolve, and let the mixture stand until it is bubbly – about 5 minutes.

Combine the remaining 1 cup of water, milk, honey, and butter. Make a well in the flour mixture, add the milk mixture; blending the ingredients well. Add more white flour if necessary to make a manageable dough.

Turn the dough out on a floured surface; drain the soaked raisins and add to the dough, and knead it for about 10 minutes or until it is smooth and elastic. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, turning the dough to grease the top:

Cover the bowl and let dough rise in a warm, draft-free place (either in an oven with just the pilot light on … or under a towel-draped basket on top of the clothes dryer while doing laundry) until it has doubled – about 1 to 1-1/2 hours.

Rising in the oven with pilot light
Rising on clothes dryer
Risen and ready to shape into loaves
Punch the dough down, turn it out, and divide it into 2 pieces, shaping dough into 2 loaves. Place the loaves in greased 9x5x3-inch bread pans, cover, and let rise again until they have doubled in bulk – about 45 minutes.

Bake the loaves in a preheated 425-degree oven for 10 minutes; then reduce the heat to 350-degrees and bake another 30 minutes or so … until the loaves sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.

Cool on wire rack. When cold, slice and bag. Because there is just me now since my husband has graduated to our home in glory, and I don’t want the bulk of my kitchen work to spoil, I half each loaf; wrap those halves in foil, and freeze 3 halves … keeping one half in the bread drawer and thawing the others as I want them.

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