Raisin Pull Apart Bread – Part 2

Continuing from Raisin Pull Apart Bread – Part 1

A sneak peak at what you're in for...

So to back-track a bit… this pull-apart loaf was made from scratch. Right from making my own raisin yeast water from a formulation I got on Original Yeast, to making the pre-ferment and cooking the raisins that went into the bread. 1/3 cup raisins to 1/2 cup rum and 2 tablespoons sugar, till most of the liquor evaporated and the raisins were plump and flavourful.

Use the entire pre-ferment, which should be about 2 3/4 cups. Adding it to 3 1/2 cups flour. I used a mix of All Purpose and Whole-Wheat flour (2 1/2 cups A.P.:1 cup Whole-Wheat). About a 1/2 cup of the yeast water (extra) and 1/4 – 1/3 cup of warm water, a teaspoon of salt and 4 tablespoons honey. Mixing it all together and kneading it for a bit, before adding in the rummy raisins. Make sure that the raisins are evenly distributed through the dough and knead well. Then cover the dough and leave it to prove for 6 – 8 hours or overnight.

The dough will more than double.

Knock the air out , knead it lightly, and let it stand for 15 to 20 minutes before putting the loaf together (see the picture below). Giving it a minimum of 4 – 5 hours to prove (I gave it 6 hours).

Once the dough has risen, brush the top of the loaf with melted butter and give it a lavish dusting of cinnamon, cardamom and powdered sugar.

If you think it smells divine during the prep, just wait till you pop it into your 200 degrees C preheated oven. The aroma will not just fill your kitchen, but waft through the entire house. Leave your windows open and your neighbours may drop by just to say hello.

A loaf of bread that definitely warrants the journey to YeastSpotting.

Bake the loaf until golden brown for approximately 30 – 35 minutes (turning on the upper element for the last 5 – 7). Cool for a bit in the pan and turn out onto a wire rack.

The honey and the raisins give this loaf just the right amount of sweetness.

So what are you waiting for?

This is a Raisin Pull Apart Loaf isn’t it? Pull out a nice big chunk and enjoy!

A had some extra dough left over after making the pull-apart loaf. Not enough for another loaf, but enough for two buns, generously slathered with butter, and liberally dusted with the sugar and spice mix. Baking then at 220 degrees C for about 20 – 25 minutes.

The result; a lovely deep golden brown bun with a soft white crumb.

Raisin Pull Apart Bread – Part 1

I’ve got a cold and a fever. It’s the weather, unusually cold for Mumbai which doesn’t normally have a winter. Not that I’m complaining. I love cooler weather. The only problem is that the weather’s been yo-yoing, and the weather reporters on the news need to be re-schooled.

Broadcast meteorologists… is that what they call them?

Though if you’ve been following Al Gore and are aware of  global warming, the depleted ozone layer and climate change you’ll know that it isn’t their fault any more. It’s getting seriously impossible to predict the weather from year to year. And this time around it’s not just the Himalayas and its foothills that are completely snowed under but it even snowed in the lower hilly regions in Punjab. The first time in 40 years… Go figure!

Which makes me glad that I’m a plains dweller… for at least these three months of the year. That way I can still keep my dreams of packing my bags and heading northwards alive. Dreaming of clear blue skies, clean air, chirping birds and gentle frost on leaves.

These are a few photos from a trip I took to Ramgarh, in the Kumaon foothills…

Good Afternoon!

Smiling at the sun

Look to the right

Now look to the left

Blades of... Frost

So till the sun comes out again, and the snow thaws, I’ll stay in my part of the world, and settle for the aroma of freshly baked bread in my kitchen.

When you’re city bound you’ve got to do the best you can.

I came across this recipe for raisin yeast water the other day, and I was thrilled. Fancy doing everything from scratch, right from making your own yeast. Now that’s definitely something. So I took a shot at it and it wasn’t too much of a bother, other than baking the loaf, which took a bit of preparation. But at the end, it was well worth the time and effort.

All the yeast water took was, well… water, along with raisins, and of course a clean bottle… and three to four days of letting the raisins ferment at room temperature (between 35 to 40 degrees C). It may take longer in cooler climatic conditions. I kept it out in the sun occasionally…

Raisin Yeast Water

When the fruit has broken down and the water looks like the picture above with plenty of little bubbles on the surface (after 3 – 4 days of letting it stand at room temperature) it’s time to refrigerate the bottle to prevent the water from going too sour. The yeast water can now be used whenever you’re ready to bake… usually sooner than later. Just make sure that you allow the water to come to room temperature before you use it.

I used the water after five days, making a pre-ferment with 1 1/4 cups of the raisin yeast water to 1 1/2 cups of flour. Mixed it well and kept it in an airtight container for 10 hours till it doubled (trebled actually) in volume.

Raisin Yeast Water mixed with Flour
Doubled… almost trebled
All nice and bubbly and ready for the next step

When the pre-ferment is ready, you’re ready for the next step. Kneading the dough for the Loaf you have in mind.

The pre-ferment isn’t sweet but all those raisins got me in the mood for raisin bread. I used fresh raisins (not those from the raisin water) and for added flavour steeped them in rum, cooking them down till the liquor evaporated and the raisins looked nice and plump.

Rummy Raisins

Coming up… a Raisin Pull Apart Loaf liberally dusted with cinnamon, cardamom and powdered sugar.