When I was a kid, my mom did the weekly grocery shopping at a local market, and my dad would go to the Chinese market about a half hour away to get all sorts of Asian goodies for all of us. We loved the chocolate filled Koalas, the big containers of shredded pork, spicy cracker mixes, and the chocolate Pocky. My favorite, though, was the raisin bread.
Soft, sweet, buttery bread filled with raisins. It’s nothing like the raisin bread in these American markets with their cinnamon swirls. I like cinnamon, but don’t care to pair it with my raisins. I just loved that tall raisin bread, with it’s buttery top and so soft interior.
We moved over a year ago and only know of one Asian market near us…that we have yet to get around to going to. We were going to. We really were. Then the pandemic struck and I’d rather not send my husband straight into an Asian market since he wouldn’t know what to look for or get (I’m not leaving home at the moment). But I’ve been craving and dreaming of the raisin bread.
A few weeks ago, I made some coconut buns, partly to get rid of some shredded coconut and partly to learn how to make buns. Since that was successful on the first try, I decided to make some raisin bread, but as buns so it would be more manageable. My family with it’s two picky eaters (well, one is a toddler) hasn’t caught on to the fact that, now that I can’t bake for other people, I am, of course, baking for them. Just not the regular plain old bread, chocolate chip cookies, and chocolate cake they prefer. Someone help me.
The raisin buns weren’t perfect. They have that homemade taste, or maybe I should use bread flour instead of all purpose. But they reminded me of the raisin bread of my childhood enough that I wish I had made more.
Do keep in mind that I use ratios, so it’s completely possible to scale this up or down as long as you keep in mind the 5:3 flour to liquid ratio for bread (1 tsp of yeast per 16 ounces of flour), and then scale the sugar and butter. If you use 15 ounces of flour, 9 ounces of milk, and 1 tsp of yeast, you’ll need about 1/4 cup of sugar, a stick of butter, and an egg or two (that part’s up to you). The below is based on keeping the 5:3 ratio super basic to 5 ounces of flour and 3 ounces of milk. It should yield somewhere between 5 and 6 buns depending on how big you make them.
- 5 ounces of flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 tsp yeast
- 1/4 cup of butter, softened
- 1 egg
- 3 ounces of milk
1. Weigh the flour and then add the sugar and yeast. Mix.
2. Add the butter in pieces and then add the egg. Mix well.
3. Gradually add in the milk. Mix well.
4. Knead 5-10 minutes. Towards the end of the kneading time, add in about a quarter cup of raisins, or however many you’d like.
5. Let rise in a warm place until about doubled in size.
6. Punch down and shape into round buns into a baking sheet covered with parchment paper or well greased. The dough will be very sticky. Let rise for about 30-60 minutes or until you can’t wait any longer.
7. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
8. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the tops are golden brown.