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Raisin Bread for a very dear friend

Last Friday, my lunch buddy left the company and he would be sorely missed by all of us who have worked with him. His self deprecating jokes provides a constant source of humor. Although he likes to present himself as an ignoramus, we all know the brilliance of his mind. He intends to be a lecturer and I am sure that he will be a great inspiration to his students. I still remember his explanation of how a fluorescent tube works. From his explanation, I can see that he can turn the most technical subject into something that a layman can grasp.

There are 4 of us in our lunch group. Some people jokingly refer to us as the 4 heavenly kings. I must add that it is not because of our looks but now that there are 3 of us left, would we be referred to as S.H.E.? I hope not, because I don't know of any 3 man pop group.

Anyway, I decided to make him a bread which I hope that he will appreciate. It is difficult for me to give my breads away because not many people here in Singapore enjoy hearth breads. Since most people like Raisin Bread with the exception of my wife and daughter, I decided to make a Raisin Bread as my farewell gift to him.

I decided on a 50% preferment with a really tiny sprinkling of yeast. By tiny, I meant that it was probably less than a quarter of 1/8 tsp. This allowed it to take a long slow rise over 6 hours and by the time I returned from my weekly visit to the in-laws, it was just about right to pop into the refrigerator for another 12 hours. The next day, it was mixed into a batch of flour. The hydration was 75% to take into account the moisture needed by the raisins which was at a generous 25%. I mixed the dough with the pre-ferment before I was hauled away by my wife to look for a new sofa set. By the time I returned, the dough was quite well risen and that surprised me because I had not added any yeast yet. I added the salt and a little more yeast as I anticipated the work needed to elevate the raisins.

The oven spring was spectacular and for the first time, I thought that the loaves looked beautiful. They crackled in agreement. This one's for you, SL.





This site was last updated 01/28/07