CARDAMOM RAISIN BREAD
- 100g California Raisins
- 7g sachet dried yeast
- 75g caster sugar
- 450g strong white bread flour
- 12 cardamom pods, seeds removed and crushed
- ½ tsp salt
- 75g cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 150ml warm whole milk
- 1 medium egg, lightly beaten plus 1 medium egg yolk
Soak raisins in boiling water for 15 minutes, then drain.
Meanwhile, stir together the yeast, 30ml warm water and a pinch of the sugar in a small bowl. Let it stand until foamy for about 5 minutes.
Stir together flour, remaining sugar, cardamom, and salt in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, then rub in the butter with your fingertips until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in milk, whole egg, and yeast mixture with a wooden spoon until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead, dusting surface and hands with just enough flour to keep dough from sticking, until dough is smooth and elastic, about 8-10 minutes or use the stand mixer fitted with a dough hook for 6-8 minutes.
Pat the dough into a rough 23cm square and sprinkle with the raisins. Fold dough over to enclose the raisins and pinch edges to seal. Knead, dusting surface and hands lightly with flour, until raisins are distributed. Form dough into a ball and place in a large greased bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave to prove in warm place until doubled in size, about 1-2 hours.
Knock back the dough and cut into 3 even pieces. Roll each piece into a 38cm rope. Braid together the 3 ropes to form a loaf, then transfer to a large parchment-lined baking sheet, tucking ends under. Loosely cover with clingfilm and leave in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 180oC, gas mark 4.
Mix the egg yolk with 1 tbsp water and brush over the loaf, bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown and the base sound hollow when tapped. Transfer to a rack to cool.
Bread can be made 2 days ahead and kept, wrapped well, at room temperature or frozen 1 month.