Tuesday, April 7, 2009

No-Work Bread with Bourbon-Soaked Raisins

Alright, we're finally back in business here. Two weekend vacations with only a two-day rest in between was harder on the old bod than I thought. When I got home for good I began a careful sleeping regimen that was hard to bounce back from. 

Anyways, I made this loaf of bread for my friends Dan and Sarah as a hosting gift, along with some Stumptown coffee. [Side note: Stumptown's online ordering is fast and awesome. Do it.] I neglected to take a picture of it once sliced so there's no big picture payoff, but I thought this bread was really good. It was made more impressive by the level of fretting and worrying over the addition of alcohol to a living yeast mixture, and the need to bring the loaf with me on a plane without somehow ruining it en route. 

No-Work Bread with Bourbon-Soaked Raisins:
1/2 cup yellow raisins
2 tbsp. dried black currants
1-2 tbsp. ginger nibs, or minced candied ginger
2 tbsp. brown sugar
Bourbon, to cover
No-Work bread dough, with one cup wheat flour substituted
4 tbsp. sugar, divided
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup rolled oats, ground in food-processor
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
Additional flour for coating work surfaces and such
2 tbsp. water

Begin by combining the first five ingredients in a small bowl, and mix well, breaking up any clumps of brown sugar. Cover and place the bowl in the refrigerator, where it will await your return. I gave my fruit about a 24-hour soaking time. You can go longer if you wish. I probably will next time. 

On the same night, prepare your bread dough as per instructions in the original recipe. Add 2 tbsp. sugar and cinnamon to the top of the dough once it has been placed in its final rising bowl.

As I was going to have to wait about 24 hours before I could remove the dough and give it its second rise, I decided to cover and store the dough in the refrigerator as well. I have found that around 14-16 hours is all the time the yeast needs to activate in the original Double Oven recipe, and didn't want the yeast to exhaust itself, especially because the bourbon-soaked fruit was to be mixed in later. 

Once it's time to move along to the second rise, drain and lightly rinse the fruit, in order to remove the surface alcohol and prevent rapid yeast death. 

Remove the dough from its rising bowl and turn it out on a well-floured work surface. Make a little space in the dough and pour the rinsed fruit in, working quickly to knead in the raisins so that they are well-distributed throughout the dough. 

Combine the whole what flour, 2 tbsp. sugar and rolled oats in the food processor and pulse into well-ground and mixed. This will be used for coating the dough and providing a nice resting place during the second rise.

Here you can see the loaf after it has been rising for about an hour and a half, which is the time that you should begin preheating your oven, with the cooking pot inside.

Follow the cooking directions in the original recipe for cooking times and temperatures, and here's what you will be able to enjoy upon removal:

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