Tits German raisin bread is easier than babka – no filling or difficult shaping – and a good place to start if you’ve never made a sweet bread pudding before. It’s perfect for afternoon tea and breakfast, toasted and buttered. There are videos online on how to braid the dough strands together. It is not difficult and it is a pleasure to bake a bread that looks so impressive.
If you leave in the raisins, alcohol and zest, this makes a nice, slightly sweet white bread, delicious for making ham sandwiches or spreading with jam
Preparation time: 1 hour, plus 3 hours of lifting time | Cooking time: 35 min
- 3.5 g of dried active yeast
- 45 g caster sugar
- 250 g strong plain bread flour
- 125 ml milk
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 45 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 75g of raisins
- 50 ml rum
- Finely grated zest of Â½ lemon and Â½ orange
- 1 egg yolk and 1 teaspoon of milk, mixed together
- 1 tablespoon of pearl sugar
- 1Â½ tablespoon flaked almonds
- Put the yeast in a small bowl with 1 teaspoon of sugar and a few tablespoons of lukewarm water. Stir and let stand in a warm place. After 15 minutes the mixture should be frothy.
- Put the flour, remaining sugar and 1Â½ teaspoon of salt in a bowl (or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook). Add the yeast mixture and mix everything together.
- Heat the milk a little so that it is lukewarm, then add the egg. Gradually add milk and egg to the bowl, stirring as you go.
- When the mixture has formed – it will still be quite sticky – add the butter, little by little, working it well after each addition. If you are working by hand, pour the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead it. I now follow the method of the baker Richard Bertinet. He spreads the dough with his hands, then slaps it on the counter (see thebertinetkitchen.com).
- Alternatively, you can knead the bread in your blender with the dough hook. Whatever process you use, it should turn into a smooth mass, as soft as a pillow. It takes about 8 minutes in the blender. Leave it in a lightly oiled bowl covered with cling film or a tea towel for a few hours to prove it. It must double in size.
- Meanwhile, put the raisins in a small saucepan with the rum and bring to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and let the fruit swell for about an hour.
- Once the dough has risen, scrape it onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the raisins – they should have absorbed all the alcohol, but leave the excess behind – and the zest into the dough. Divide the dough into three equal pieces and shape each into a long sausage about 10 inches long. Place them side by side and pinch them together at the top.
- Braid them, tuck the ends underneath then put the dough on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Cover the bread with a tea towel and let stand for an hour to allow the bread to rise again.
- Preheat the oven to 180 Â° C / 170 Â° C hot air / thermostat 4.
- Tuck in the raisins that burst from the dough inside – otherwise they could burn – and brush the mixture of yolk and milk all over the bread. Sprinkle with pearl sugar and almonds. Bake for 30 minutes. The bread will turn a nice deep golden color (from the washed egg yolk). You may want to cover the bread with foil – to prevent it from darkening – about 7 minutes before the end of the baking time.
- Transfer the bread to a wire rack and let cool. Serve warm or at room temperature with butter.