Raisin Nut Bread

Raisin, Walnut, and Pecan Bread

This week I made bread using yeast for the first time!  This wasn’t the best week to take on this project (it was quite time consuming!), but I had a lot of fun.  Kneading the bread was a workout!  My arms will be looking good this weekend after that extra work.  I just hope having yummy bread around won’t have a negative effect on my waistline!

I decided to bake bread when I was flipping through my recipe binder.  A recipe for Raisin, Walnut, and Pecan Bread kept jumping out at me.  It sounded so good, and presented a challenge, so I was excited to try it.  The recipe came from Food & Wine, adapted from Del Vecchio’s Bakery.

Raisin, Walnut, and Pecan Bread

Makes 2 loaves

Ingredients

  • 2 cups warm water (105F to 115F)
  • 3 1/4-ounce envelopes active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 5 1/2 cups (plus more) bread flour
  • 2 cups raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup packed golden brown sugar

In a large bowl, mix the warm water and yeast.  Let stand for about 10 minutes, until the yeast dissolves.  Stir in the oil, sugar, and salt.  Add the bread flour and stir until Shaggy dough forms.

“Shaggy” dough

Transfer the dough to a work surface.  Knead for about 8 minutes, until dough is smooth and soft but not sticky.  Add raisins, buts, and brown sugar, and knead to blend.

Goodies kneaded in

Brush another large bowl lightly with oil.  Place dough in the bowl, and turn to coat with oil.  Cover bowl with plastic, and allow to chill overnight.

After chilling overnight

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.  Split dough in two even sections, and form each half into a 6-inch round.  Place on prepared baking sheet, cover, and let rise in a warm area until dough has doubled, about 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350F.  Bake bread for about 45 minutes, until bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when the bottom of each loaf is tapped.  Cool completely, then slice and enjoy.

Freshly baked bread

I had to run to a meeting almost immediately after removing the loaves from the oven.  I wrapped one loaf in foil to take with me.  It was very well received!  I returned to the office 4 hours later, and the whole loaf was gone.  I’m excited to eat the second loaf for breakfast and/or a snack.

My first taste

The bread is just slightly sweet, and the flavors of the raisins and nuts really come through.  I was pleased with the light texture of the bread.  I have to admit, I am proud of this bread!  I’ll definitely be making it again.

Happy Eating!

-C

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