These raisin and walnut bread are made with a combination of whole wheat flour and all-purpose flour. It has a lovely crust on the outside with a soft chewy texture on the inside. Perfect for breakfast or dinner.
Pour hot water over the raisins. Let them soak for 30 minutes to an hour. Then drain completely. Pro tip - soaking the raisins will ensure they do not absorb moisture from the bread making it dry.
Wet ingredients - combine warm water with honey, oil, and yeast. Then add the melted butter, milk, and eggs. Set aside for 3 to 5 minutes until foamy. Pro-tip- instant yeast does not need to be activated but I like to ensure my yeast is good and working for me. You may choose to add all ingredients directly to the flour.
Measure the whole wheat flour and salt in a mixing bowl or stand mixer with the dough hook. Add the yeast mixture and combine well. Then add the all-purpose flour.Pro-tip - if you do not like kneading I highly recommend using a stand mixer with the hook attachment.
Knead - By hand - transfer to a well-dusted worktop and knead for 5 to 6 minutes - Stand mixer - once all the flour is well incorporated knead on medium for 4 to 5 minutes
When the dough is soft, shiny, but still slightly sticky shape into a ball. Place the dough in an oiled bowl seam side down. Coat the surface with oil to prevent drying. Cover with a clean kitchen cloth or plastic wrap.
Leave in a warm place. Let rise for 60 to 90 minutes until double in volume. Pro-tip - in winter you may need 90 minutes or more but in summer the dough may double in 45 minutes. If you can't attend to it at that moment. De-gas, reshape, and let double in volume again.
When the dough is double in volume transfer to a well-dusted floured surface. Pro-tip - at this point there is no need for additional flour. So use a light dusting of flour
Stretch the dough into a square shape. Spread the drained raisins and chopped walnuts.
Then roll the dough into a jelly roll. Pinch each fold to keep the raisins and nuts in place. Pinch the seams and tuck under.Pro tip - rolling it this way will ensure the raisins and walnuts are evenly distributed. And, it creates a nicely shaped loaf.
Flatten the dough and roll it into a log (like folding a spring roll). Then cut in the middle to make two equal portions. Then shape each portion into a ball.
Transfer both to a floured baking tray. Dust with more flour on top. Cover with a clean kitchen cloth and let rise for 45 minutes to an hour or until almost double in volume.
20 minutes before baking, preheat the oven at 350°F /177°C / Gas Mark 4
Make slits on the top of each bread with a bread scoring tool, blade, or sharp knife. Pro tip - the slits/cuts on the top are air vents to let the steam in the bread escape. This will prevent the bread from bursting naturally into a weird shape.
Place the baking tray on a larger baking rack on the lower third of the oven. Add ½ cup water to the larger baking tray to create steam.Pro tip - the water creates steam which is what gives us that hard crust on the bread.
Bake for about 35 to 45 minutes. until you have a nice golden brown. Pro tip - when baked the internal temperature of the bread should be about 195 F. The bread will have a hollow sound on the bottom when tapped.
Remove and let cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Dust off excess flour from the top. Pro-tip - do not leave the loaf on the tray for too long as the steam will make the bread soggy on the bottom.
Measure all ingredients ahead of time, so you don't forget anything at the last minute.
For accuracy, use a weight measure for the ingredients because every cup of flour can weigh differently depending on how you fill it.
The liquid (milk or water) must be warm (not hot) - about 110F. If the liquid is too hot, it will kill the yeast. Similarly, if the liquid is too cold, it will not activate the yeast.
Most yeasts have a long shelf life, but they can get ruined. Always check the expiry date on the yeast. If unsure, combine the yeast with water/milk, sugar/honey, and oil/butter from the recipe and let stand 5 minutes. If it gets foamy the yeast is good to go. If not, it's best to buy fresh yeast or check the temperature of the milk.
Keep salt away from yeast as it can kill the yeast. I like to combine salt with the flour then add the yeast mixture.
A soft loose well-hydrated dough is not necessarily a bad thing. Often, it will give you soft puffy bread. So, don't be tempted to add more flour than mentioned in the recipe.
Kneading is key to making good bread. While kneading by hand can be therapeutic, using a stand mixer is easier and quicker.
Leave the dough at room temperature to rise until double in volume. While not recommended, when in haste, you can place it in a warm (30 C / 75 F- not hotter) oven this will expedite the rise.
Bread does not have to be time-consuming. You can leave the dough in the fridge to rise for a few hours (even overnight) while you go about your chores. A slow rise will give more flavor to the bread.
Always preheat the oven for at least 10 minutes before you place bread in or the low temperature will spread the dough too much.
Overnight dough - The dough can be prepared a day in advance. Proof it for an hour on the counter then punch down and let the dough rest in the fridge overnight. Overnight proofing is a great way to add flavor to the bagels. The next day, let the dough come to room temperature before you shape and bake them.
Storing bread - These loaves do freeze beautifully. Cool the baked loaves then place them in a freezer-safe storage bag. These can be frozen for up to a month. I like to slice my challah so my kids use a few slices at a time.
Kneading the dough - If possible use an electric mixer because the dough is soft and sticky.
Bread machine - this dough can be easily made in a bread machine. Pour all ingredients in the pan set to dough or manual. Start and let the dough run its cycle for about 9 to 10 minutes - continue with the recipe as shown above.
The nutrition information and metric conversion are calculated automatically. I cannot guarantee its accuracy. If this data is important to you please verify with your trusted nutrition calculator. Thank you