Tra – la, it's July! Time to be patriotic in the only way I know how: bread!
This is New England Raisin Bread, which is beautiful with a lemony flavor, soft interior, crunchy exterior, lots of raisins, and excellent toast potential.
New England Raisin Bread Recipe
From Kathy Cutler's The Festive Bread Book
Makes 1 loaf
1 1/2 tsp yeast
2 Tbsp warm water
3 cups flour
1/2 cup warm milk
2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3 Tbsp butter, softened
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
Proof the yeast by dissolving in warm water and letting sit for about 5 minutes, until frothy.
Mix 1 1/2 cups of the flour with everything else, then add the proofed yeast mixture. Mix in enough flour to make a soft dough, then knead on a floured surface until its smooth – about 10 minutes.
Let rise, covered, in a greased bowl until double in size – about an hour. Then punch down the dough, shape into a loaf, and place in a greased 9- by 5-inch bread pan. Cover and let rise again for about 30 minutes.
Brush with melted butter, sprinkle with sugar, bake in a 350 degree (F) preheated oven for about 35 minutes.
I love the way the raisins pop out of the top of the loaf as it bakes!