Many, many years ago (and in another life), I was weak. Physically and emotionally. Emotionally, I was manipulated and shamed into giving in and conforming to a philosophy I eventually rejected. Physically, I had a neuro-muscular disease that weakened me to the point of crawling up the stairs to our bedroom and resting between simple household duties (like feeding and home-schooling and nurturing 5 kids!). I tried to determine which chores I could not do, but baking breads was not one of the tasks I would ever choose to quit. There was too much comfort and grounding in the aroma and taste of fresh bread, right out of the oven, to forego that. Besides, it did not really feel like a chore and gave me a feeling of accomplishment.
This raisin bread recipe is more complicated that most of the recipes I use. Mainly, because it requires more ingredients. It is moist and flavorful, though, and has always been a favorite of mine. I think the recipe came from the mother-in-law of a friend. I don’t recall my kids asking for it often, so it must have been something I enjoyed more that my family. It makes very yummy toast. I think that rolling it out to form the loaves and spreading it with some butter and cinnamon would make it even better (Maybe I will try this soon).
Dissolve 2 pkg (or Tbls) yeast in2 ¼ cup liquid (water or potato water if you cooked potatoes just for this). Mix in 3 eggs, ½ cup butter (softened), ½ cup sugar, 2 tsp salt, and ½ to 1 cup mashed potatoes (just the potatoes, not with butter and milk and salt, etc mixed in). Add in 2 cups of flour and mix all to make a thin batter. Add raisins (approx. 2 cups).
Continue adding flour to make a dough stiff enough to knead. (This will be a longer process than usual because the potatoes add a lot of moisture that keeps needing more flour to be worked in.
Keep adding flour until the dough either 1. Does not stick to the sides of the bowl (if you are using a KitchenAid or some similar mixer), or 2. Doesn’t stick to your hands (if you are kneading the old-fashioned way).
Let rise twice in bowl. (The recipes always say this, but I only let mine rise once.)
Form into 3 loaves. Allow to rise again in the pans.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.
This is a very light and airy loaf of bread. But it should be dense and hold together well after it cools a bit.
***I won’t repeat the details of suggestions I have for baking bread that I have posted in my standard whole wheat recipe. But, I will remind you bakers out there of the time and mess saving tip of oiling the bowl, putting the mass in upside down, then flipping it over for the top of the dough to be oiled as well when the dough is ready to rise. Then, also to do the same thing when putting the formed loaves into the pans.