Another day, another Newfie recipe. I have a feeling that over the month you’re going to notice that the recipes I’m posting are heavily inspired by the east side of Canada. It’s nothing personal, I’m not angrily shaking my fist at British Colombia or the prairies, I’m just really not familiar with what kinds of foods they consider traditional…..well besides Nanaimo, gotta give Nanaimo some love. If you’ve got any recommendations for some west coast eats, I’d love to hear them! So until then, I’d like to share with you one of my favorite Newfoundland recipes, a recipe that forces you to get your hands in there and get ‘em dirty…and sticky with molasses, good old Lassy Raisin Bread!
It’s no secret that Newfoundlanders love their ‘lassy’, we pretty much pour it over everything, so it only makes sense that we would put it in our bread. Man do I love bread. Loooove it. It doesn’t seem to love me so much but we make it work. It’s a love hate relationship.
I hope you didn’t come here looking for a “healthy” bread, because this is white flour at its finest. Soft, fluffy, molasses sweetened bread with plump raisins popping out all over the place, and did I mention that it makes the best toast ever created? Because it totally does, no jam or nut butter necessary, although a little spread of Earth Balance never hurt anyone.
If you’ve never made bread from scratch before, I’m going to tell you now that everything will be ok, don’t fear the yeast. Yeastie Beasties are our friends and we should embrace them, all you need is patience…and to make sure your yeast friends are alive, because if they’re dead you’re going to have one sad looking loaf of bread. Just a few tips before you get started: If you do step number one in the recipe and nothing happens to your yeast, chances are those little suckers have been hanging out in your pantry too long and it’s time to replace them. If your house is cold (and your yeast is alive and kicking) and no matter how long you’ve been staring at that dough it just doesn’t seem to rise, turn the light on in your oven, put the dough in, close the door and the heat from the light should help speed things along. I know it will be tempting to just put the dough in the pan and just walk away during the second rise, but make sure you set a timer for the minimum time and check on it, if you accidently overproof the dough and stick it in the oven, you might end up with a collapsed, messed up looking loaf, and nobody wants that.
Now with all that nonsense out of the way, have at ‘er.
Molasses “Lassy” Raisin Bread
Makes one 9×5 loaf
- 1/2 cup warm water (4.3 ounces)
- 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 2 tablespoons sucanat or granulated sugar (0.8 ounces)
- 3/4 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk, warm (5.7 ounces)
- 1/4 cup fancy molasses (2.5 ounces)
- 2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses (or fancy if you don’t have blackstrap) (1.5 ounces)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (1 ounce)
- 1 teaspoon salt (0.2 ounces)
- 3 – 4 cups unbleached bread flour (15-20 ounces)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon (0.1 ounce)
- 3/4 cup raisins (3.5 ounces)
In a large bowl, mix the sugar and warm water together, then sprinkle the yeast over the top. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes or until yeast starts to bubble.
Add in the warm milk, molasses, oil, cinnamon, salt and 2 cups (10 ounces) of the flour. Using a wooden spoon or the regular paddle of an stand mixer mix slowly for 4-5 minutes until the mixture is smooth with no lumps. If using an stand mixer, switch to the dough hook at this point and begin to slowly incorporate the remaining flour. You may need to use a little more or less flour to bring your dough to the proper consistency; the dough should be slightly tacky, but not wet.
If not using an electric mixer keep mixing in the flour gradually until a soft dough forms that leaves the sides of the bowl. Add the raisins at this point and continue to knead until the raisins are evenly distributed in the dough. Turn the dough out onto the countertop to knead. You may need to adjust the water or flour, this is not uncommon. Knead the dough for an additional 10 minutes by hand.
Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a damp dish towel and let rise for 90 minutes or until double in size. Punch the dough down and knead it for a few minutes by hand before letting it rest for another 10 minutes.
Oil one 9×5 loaf pan. Divide the dough into 3 equal portions, forming each division into a ball. Place the 3 balls of dough in the loaf pan. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean tea towel and allow the dough to rise until it is about 2 inches above the rim of the pan, about 1-2 hours depending on room temperature.
Bake at 375 degrees F for 22 mins, turn oven down to 350, rotate pan and bake for 10 to 20 mins longer. The internal temperature should be 195.
When baked, turn loaves out onto a wire rack to cool. Brush the tops with melted margarine if desired to soften the top crust.