bakery in my neighbourhood that makes the most wonderful raisin buns with sticky glaze that have a hint of rosemary in them. If you haven't tried those two flavours together before it may seem a bit odd - but the combination of savoury and sweet really works and makes baking (and eating) this bread that extra bit special.
I've been tweaking a few standard bread recipes to turn it into a tasty rosemary and raisin loaf and think I have got a pretty good one here. Raisin bread is typically sweeter than ordinary bread (hence why it burns so easily in the toaster) so I've used treacle in that role. You can also use honey but I prefer the more mellow sweetness treacle delivers. Also I use a combination of strong bread flour and wholemeal flour to give it a fuller bodied crumb. When working with the dough and proving - I like to keep it more on the sticky end of the scale as I think it ends up more stretchy and ultimately rises better.
1/2 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1 1/2 tblsp treacle
2 tblsp melted butter
1/2 tsps sea salt
Small handful finely chopped fresh rosemary
3 cups flour (Play with the combinations if you like - I use 2 cups strong white and one cup wholemeal)
1 cup mixed raisins (I have a mix that includes orange peel. Any dried fruit combination works. I've added some dried cranberries in batch pictured)
1/2 tblsp icing sugar
Dash of milk
Place raisins in small container - add a dash of water to slightly cover and rehydrate them. Combine the yeast, water and treacle in a small bowl. Let stand for 10 minutes or until the yeast softens and froths somewhat. In a larger bowl combine the flour and the salt. Create a well in the centre. Stir in the butter, raisins, rosemary and combined yeast and treacle mixture in stages. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon, then place the dough on a lightly floured surface. Knead for about 6 minutes, adding any remaining flour as necessary. Add flour as you need to work it but try to keep it on the stickier end.
Grease one 8 ½" x 4 ½" loaf pan well. Punch the dough down to deflate it. Form into a smooth loaf and place in the prepared pan. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot for about 1 hour or until the dough has risen to the top of the pans. If desired place some Rosemary on top as a decorative feature
Preheat the oven to 180° C. Uncover the risen loaves. Place the pan into centre of the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the top is dark brown and crusty. Remove from the oven and tap out onto wire rack. Turn the oven off and return the bread to the oven upside down to crisp for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack.
For that special raisin bread glaze, combine half a tablespoon of icing sugar with a splash of milk so it forms a runny paste and brush on the top of the cooling loaf. Watch it transform into a shiny lovely sweet crust. Delicious fresh with a cheese platter or cut thick as doorstop toast and smothered in butter. MMMMM