Lately I’ve been itching to make raisin bread, so when the weather broke on Friday I seized the opportunity. In France, French toast in known as pain perdu, which translates to “lost (or wasted) bread”. Back before bread had preservatives, people shopped for it daily – French toast was one way of making use of the leftover bread. I knew that by Sunday, my loaf would make great French toast!
1 package dry yeast (or 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/3 cup warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
5 cups of white flour + 1/4 cup, reserved
4 tablespoons of butter, cut into pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
1 1/3 cups of ice water
3 teaspoons cinnamon
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 1/2 cups raisins
1. Stir the sugar and yeast into the warm water in a 2 cup measure. Let stand for 5 to 7 minutes, until foamy. Use the plastic blade in the Cuisinart to process the flour, butter, and salt for 25 seconds. Add ice water to yeast mixture.
2. With the machine running, slowly pour the liquid through the feed tube. Run the machine until the dough forms a ball. Then run the machine for an additional minute to knead the dough.
3. Shape the dough into a ball and place in a plastic bag that’s been lightly floured. Squeeze out the air and tie with a twist tie at the top, allowing room for the dough to rise. Let it rise in a warm place for an hour and a half, it should double in size.
4. While the dough is rising, put the raisins in a bowl and pour enough warm water to cover them. This will help to plump up the raisins.
5. After the dough has risen, punch down dough in bag. Grease two 4″ x 8″ loaf pans. Divide dough in half, roll out dough in a rectangular shape. combine the cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle half of it on the surface.
6. Drain the raisins and pat them dry with paper towels. Return to the bowl, and toss them with the remaining 1/4 cup of reserved flour. Take 1 1/4 cups of raisins, and press slightly into the dough. Roll up, pinching the ends closed with your fingers, place into greased loaf pan. Repeat with second ball of dough. Cover pans with oiled plastic wrap, return to a warm place for another 45 minutes. Dough should rise above the top of the pans.
7. Bake in a preheated 375º oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until the top is browned. Remove from pans and cool on a wire rack.
Makes 2 loaves.
1/2 cup milk
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon freshly grated orange peel (optional)
8 (1/2-inch) slices day-old bread
4 tablespoons butter
1. Whisk first 7 ingredients in a pie plate.
2. In a large skillet melt 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat.Â Coat four slices of the raisin bread with the egg mixture and transfer them to the pan. Cook the first side until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes, then add another tablespoon butter to the pan. When it’s melted, turn the bread over and cook until golden brown on the second side, another 2-3 minutes. Repeat with the remaining egg mixture and 4 slices of bread.
3. Sprinkle with confectionery sugar, and serve with fresh fruit and warm maple syrup.