As promised, I come bearing my family's super-secret homemade bread recipe! I am really not much of a baker, and this has never failed to turn out deliciously for me, so I have faith in you too!!! (INSTRUCTIONS IN RED ARE FOR CINNAMON BREAD.)
You will need:
2 1/2 cups milk, scalded and cooled
1/4 cup sugar
3 TBSP melted shortening, cooled
1 TBSP salt
1 TBSP yeast (if not instant, dissolve into 1/4 cup warm water)
6 cups (or maybe more) flour
1/2 cup raisins, soaked in very hot water for 10 minutes, then drained well.
1) Mix all ingredients into mixer EXCEPT flour, eggs, and yeast.
2) Mix the yeast into 1/2 of the flour (if instant). Add this to ingredients in the mixer, then add eggs. (If yeast is not instant, add at this point, then add the rest of the flour a little at a time, plus more flour as needed.)
3) Mix for 8 minutes once you are sure enough flour has been mixed in. (I usually check the consistency around the 2 minute mark and adjust the flour if needed. If you wait much longer than that to adjust and add more, your dough will be tough and chewy.)
Add raisins and mix another minute.
4) Put in a greased bowl, cover with a clean dishtowel, and let double in size. Punch down and form into 3 equal pieces for loaves. Lay these into three (well-greased!) bread pans.
Take the first loaf and roll with a rolling pin onto a well-floured countertop. Roll into rectangle, flipping it a couple of times until you can handle it (and it doesn't stick to the counter.) Pour some melted butter onto the dough and spread around equally with hand or a pastry brush. Sprinkle with a cinnamon and sugar mixture (takes quite a bit). Roll up into a loaf and place in pan with the seam on the bottom. Do this to all three loaves.
5) Cover the bread with a dishtowel and let raise until high up n pan (about 45 minutes.)
6) Heat oven to 350. Bake bread 20 minutes, then cover loosely over all three loaves with a piece of tinfoil and bake 20 minutes more.
7) Remove from oven and brush tops with butter. Dump the loaves onto their sides onto cooling racks. After 20 minutes, turn to the other side to finish cooling.
Serve with my favorite White Chicken Chili for an instant hit!