Posted by Bonita
Oh. My. God. This Raisin Loaf bread is absolutely amazing. No words here can describe how amazingly soft this bread turned out. I'll probably be one of my top favourites now, along with the Hokkaido Milk Loaf.
When I was in Hong Kong last winter, my uncle and aunt would always pick up these little raisin buns (often than not still fresh from the oven!) from the bakery while they were doing their grocery runs. I fell in love with these buns. They had a delicate, cotton-texture to them, and I just loved the sweetness the raisins added to the bun. I'll confess...I had more of those buns than I really should have. Ever since I've started my craze of bread this summer, my uncle has mentioned to me a couple of times on the phone that I should try to make those raisin buns. And as much as I wanted to, I hadn't found a recipe as a base to start off with. Until now.
This loaf is really easy to make, although it does take a bit of time and care to put it all together. Fortunately, my KitchenAid did most of the grunt work for me (thank goodness!). I've never worked with adding cold butter to a bread dough like this; I've only done the melted butter method, and that was usually added at the beginning of the process before flour would be added. So it was interesting and worrying at the same time; I was afraid that the butter wouldn't be able to incorporate itself properly into the dough and then I would wind up with a dough with random clumps of butter all over it. Luckily, that did not happen. Dough turned out beautifully, although I did need to add a bit more flour after I added the raisins, since the raisins made the dough a bit wet. The dough seemed kind of slow in rising at first too, which worried me. But once I popped it in the oven to bake after the 2nd proof, it all turned out well.
It baked beautifully, came out of the pan beautifully and tasted oh-so-good. It really reminded me of those raisin buns back in Hong Kong. And it's good to know that now I don't have to fly 20 hours (and also spend a ridiculous amount of money on airfare) to get good HK-style bread! The picture above really does no justice to the texture of the bread. The butter gave it an incredibly, incredibly soft, cottony, silky texture, as well as a beautiful scent. I made this bread 24 hours ago, and the loaf is almost gone now! That's how good it is!