Becky Luigart-Stayner; Jan Gautro
Yield
2 loaves, 20 servings (serving size: 1 slice)

This recipe employs the technique of steeping saffron in hot liquid to release its color and aroma, which adds a wonderful, mellow flavor to this bread. Saffron breads are a tradition in southwestern England and throughout many Nordic countries, especially Sweden and Finland. Serve toasted or plain with honey for a special holiday breakfast or brunch.

How to Make It

Step 1

Combine milk and saffron; let stand 10 minutes.

Step 2

Dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in warm water in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes or until foamy. Stir in milk mixture. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add 5 cups flour, raisins, 1/4 cup sugar, butter, and salt to milk mixture, stirring to form a soft dough. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes); add enough of remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel sticky).

Step 3

Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.) Punch dough down; cover and let rest 5 minutes. Divide in half. Shape each portion into a 5-inch round loaf. Place loaves, seam sides down, 3 inches apart, on a large baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Make 2 diagonal cuts 1/4-inch-deep across top of each loaf using a sharp knife. Cover and let rise 30 minutes or until doubled in size.

Step 4

Preheat oven to 375º.

Step 5

Uncover dough. Bake at 375º for 30 minutes or until loaves are browned on bottom and sound hollow when tapped. Remove from pan; cool on wire racks.

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