There was a time when the adults in the family still gave and received purchased gifts. This was before we decided we had too much STUFF and as gifts began to collect dust or take up storage and attic spaces. The presents typically were a bit pricey and extravagant as well and you can see why we finally decided to nix the gift giving. We would usually spend about $50+ per person. Did we really need to spend like this? We collectively decided “No.” We decided we enjoyed each other’s company more and would put the money we would normally spend into a travel fund so we could all get together more.
At that time, I was really into bread baking and prided myself in the perfect loaf.
Then I got a bread machine from some of the in-laws.
I was perplexed.
If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that I am a less than appreciative Christmas gift recipient at times. I fully acknowledge this character flaw. (Hmmm….this might be another reason that the family quite giving gifts. )
Why did I need a bread machine? I had a stand mixer? I made and shaped bread by hand.
Were they trying to tell me something?
No, not really. Imagine…they were trying to give me a gift they thought I would appreciate.
I had to remind myself: “Remember the reason for the season.”
Well, since that time, I have used the bread machine more often than I thought. And, during the holidays, it comes in handy to just throw all the ingredients in and let it mix, knead, and bake away.
Bread Machine Raisin Bread
1 1/4 c. water
3 T. butter, melted
2 t. sea salt
3 T. light brown sugar, packed
3 c. all-purpose flour
1 ¼ c. whole wheat flour (fine)
2 T. nonfat dry milk
2 t. cinnamon
2 t. active dry yeast
1 c. raisins (or dried cranberries)
Place ingredients in machine in order listed, except for the dried fruit. Add the fruit during the “mix-in” cycle.
This bread is processed at the sweet bread cycle, or according to manufacturer’s directions.
Makes one 2 pound loaf.
I use jumbo mixed raisins in this batch but you can use any dried fruit from Craisins to chopped dried apples and apricots. Even if you don’t have a bread machine, you can adapt this recipe for a conventional method.
Slice this up, slather on some butter and sprinkle with a little cinnamon and sugar. YUM!
Please stay tuned. Tomorrow I post a Breakfast Bread Pudding that uses this bread. This dish is perfect for Christmas morning.
Finally, it is certainly a day to stay inside and bake.
Only four days left! Are your ready?