This bread recipe was supposed to go very differently than it did.
Milchbrot, or "milk bread," in the rough German-to-English translation, is something my great-grandmother used to make all the time for special occasions. She had her own homemade recipe memorized like the back of her hand, and within a day of mixing together the milk, yeast sponge, flour and sometimes raisins; braiding them all together and twisting the braid into a turban shape; brushing it with egg wash and baking until golden brown, she had a delectable, pull-apart loaf that was sweet, dense, cakey and elastic.
My great-grandmother always kept her kitchen filled with cookies, pot roasts, cakes, soups and breads made from handed-down recipes from past generations. She didn't write the recipes down, she knew them so well. They were ingrained in her. I truly wish I had the wealth of knowledge as she did about making delicious food, but alas, unless I have a cookbook or printed recipe in front of me, there's no way I could go from raw beef to pot roast without something going terribly awry.
With bread, however, it's a different scenario. I suppose, after all this practice, I've been getting better at concocting my own recipes (though I still have to write them down for my own future reference). But this time, I wanted to use a recipe passed down in my family, the one for milchbrot. Unfortunately, it's never been written down, and no one really knows how my great-grandmother made it as precisely as she did.
So I made my own version and named it Sweet Raisin Bread. A light brioche-like loaf, mixed with milk instead of water, and braided with a filling of butter and raisins, I've made my own adapted recipe of my great-grandmother's bread. It doesn't have that pull-apart elasticity that made hers so delicious, but it does maintain that hint of sweetness and egg-washed golden brown top. My version is also a little more buttery than hers. But I suppose that's how recipes go -- they change from generation to generation. Who knows? Maybe my great-grandmother's milchbrot was different from her own mother's or grandmother's recipe. At least we all love to bake -- and that's a trait I'm glad to have.
Stephanie (aka Girl versus Dough) has joined Tablespoon to share her adventures in the kitchen. Check out Stephanie's Tablespoon member profile and keep checking back for her own personal recipes on Tablespoon!