Plaited yeast loaf with raisins
- Put the raisins in a bowl, pour boiling water over them, steep for 5 minutes and then drain.
- Put the milk at room temperature, sugar and butter in the blender jug, crumble the yeast in, and with the measuring beaker in place, heat everything for 3 minutes/speed setting 2/37 °C.
- Put the remaining ingredients for the dough except the raisins in the blender jug and, with the measuring beaker in place, process with the knead button/2 minutes to make a smooth dough
- Place the dough on a floured work surface and knead in the raisins by hand. Then put the dough in a bowl greased with butter, cover with a damp tea towel and allow to rise in a warm place for 1 hour (the volume should approximately double in size).
- Pre-heat the oven to 200 °C and place an ovenproof dish filled with water on the floor of the oven. (Alternatively, fill the dripping pan with water and place on the lowest shelf.) Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper. Divide the dough into three portions, all as nearly the same size as possible, and shape each one into a roll of approximately 45 cm long. Lay the three rolls next to one another, press the ends together lightly at the top, then alternately place the left, then the right roll over the centre one and continue to plait to the end of the rolls. Press the ends together lightly.
- In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolk and milk together with a fork. Brush the plaited dough with the egg wash, sprinkle it with flaked almonds and bake for 30 minutes. If necessary, place some aluminium foil over the plait after 25 minutes so that it does not become too dark.
This loaf can also be made without raisins. Proceed as described above and, before proving, knead the dough by hand on a floured surface and do not add the raisins.
If you like a sweeter version with a nice sheen, push 8 tablespoons of apricot jam through a sieve and put the sieved jam in a saucepan with 2 tablespoons of water until it is liquid. Then bring to the boil for 8 minutes until the jam begins to gel. Coat the still warm loaf evenly with the hot jam. This works particularly well if you use a pastry brush.
This plaited yeast loaf is particularly suited to freezing. Simply defrost at room temperature.
Bon appétit with Monsieur Cuisine