Some people are not fond of cloves, and if you happen to be one of those people feel free to leave the spice out (the same goes for nutmeg), you can add ginger, pumpkin spice or anything else your heart desires!
The bread does take a good amount of prep-time, so make sure you have a good 3 1/2 to 4 hours to spare -- you won't be disappointed, I promise!
Makes 3 regular loaves, 6 mini loaves
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup water (110 to 115 degrees)
2 packages active dry yeast
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup raisins
8 cups flour
1 Tbsp cinnamon
scant 1/4 tsp cloves & nutmeg
1 1/2 Tbsp milk
1 cup sugar
3 Tbsp cinnamon
pinch cloves & nutmeg
Heat milk until just simmering, turn off, and let cool until 120-125 degrees. Combine warm water and yeast and let sit about ten minutes. Add eggs, sugar, salt, butter, and raisins and mix well. Slowly stir in the cooled milk so as not to curdle the eggs. In a separate bowl combine the flour, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, and whisk until incorporated. Gradually add the dry mixture to the wet ingredients. Place the finished dough in an oiled bowl and set in an oven that has been preheated to 175 degrees Fahrenheit. Put the bread in the oven, and turn it off. The low heat will allow the bread to rise without cooking it. Let the dough rise until doubled in size (about an hour).
Once the dough has doubled, roll dough out into a rectangular shape (I get my three bread pans out and measure it length-wise with the dough). Roll out dough until it is just past the bread pans, and try to keep the shape as rectangular as possible. The dough will try to round out around the edges. Once the dough is sufficiently rolled out, add the 1 1/2 Tbsp of milk, and cover the surface entirely. This will allow the delicious sugar and spice mixture to stick to the dough. Mix the sugar and spices together in a small bowl, and evenly sprinkle over the dough. It may look like you'll have leftover sugar, but use it all! This is what makes the bread so special! When completely covered, roll the dough length-wise (tightly), and cut the dough in thirds. Place into well greased pans (crease side down), and tuck the ends under (otherwise you'll have a gooey mess). Place the loaves in the oven again (just the oven lamp turned on will do), and let rise for another hour.
Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes. The loaves should sound hollow when tapped with a finger.
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