this is the second bread recipe in a row that I share!
what can I say, I love kneading and baking bread from scratch. kneading the dough especially has a therapeutic effect to me. I feel somehow reconnected to something that has to do with the grandmas’ wisdom, listening and following their skilful gestures while working on something nourishing to gift to someone else.
this is why I would not like a stand mixer or a bread machine. they’d have me just watching the process going on under the blades or listening to the sound of the churning attachment, without touching the bread dough myself. I’d rather prefer to experience the distinct feel of its changes under my hands. I’m such an old school gal sometimes.
bread is quite possibly the food that best carries the philosophy of slow living and mindfulness to me, yet being forgiving to a certain point. you have to be respectful and let the bread do its things at its own pace, and allow yourself to find a moment of peace in the wait. the hands work with energy, gathering flour and water together into a dough, and then it’s time to rest, rise, develop structure and flavor.
they say you can’t rush a good thing, and whoever first stated this, was damn right.
as I did with other recipes, this one is inspired by a classic from my homeland, precisely from Lombardy. we have a peculiar sweet bread that’s called pan tramvai, aka a sweet bread studded with raisins and enriched with butter and sometimes eggs. it was the workers’ snack for the long tram journey from their town in Brianza to Milan, hence the name. tramvai actually means tram, so it was the travellers and workers’ comfort for the long, usually cold ride to work.
the raisins amount called for in the original recipe is almost half of the dough weight itself, and same goes for the fat content. as I mentioned in this post, my ancestors weren’t really concerned about fat lol
the shaping process for the real pan tramvai is so interesting I want to try it myself soon: it involves some kind of layering, starting from a sheet of dough, then raisins, then another sheet of dough and so on, pressing every layer onto the previous one to shape a log.
since my boyfriend loves pan tramvai I’ll surely test the regular version soon. I’ll probably leave the butter out or use some kind of vegetable oil instead.
the only reason why I could actually reach for butter would be having access to some grass-fed, homemade butter. I was lucky enough to find some during a hike with the boyfriend last summer, when we stopped over at an alpine barn for lunch. it was beautifully golden, moulded into a lovely log with an edelweiss pattern. I’m not a butter person, but that one was so flavorful that a fraction of the required amount for the recipe would be more than enough.
the recipe that I’m sharing now is a simplified version: no preferment, no layering, no butter and no eggs in the dough. the resulting bread, shaped into rolls, is more of a milk bread with an egg brush on top and a hint of sweetness coming from local honey and raisins, of course.
here I used some durum wheat flour I purchased to test a fresh pasta recipe, but keep in mind that this will yield a tougher consistency even though you’ll cut the amount with some bread flour. also keep your eyes peeled for that recipe!
I decided to bake the dough into rolls to have the perfect portion ready for breakfast the next day. I’d highly recommend to pop the portion you want to have in the oven, to soften and warm it up a bit. also keep in mind that these rolls are best consumed within the second day, as they go stale real quick. I haven’t tested it, but a bread pudding could be a nice way to use up any leftover!
if you wish to veganize this recipe I got you covered: just swap regular milk for the almond variety, use maple syrup or agave in place of honey and brush the top of the rolls with a mixture of plant milk and liquid sweetener.
all in all, these sweet raisins bread rolls were a very nice addition to our breakfast table the other day. a sweet treat to bake together with your love, perfect to enjoy hot from the oven (or reheated, if you play in advance) with a cup of tea or coffee and some fruits. slow breakfasts ftw!
hope you liked this recipe and enjoyed reading the story behind pan tramvai’s origin 🙂 if you did, let me know and make sure to never miss a post!
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a simple bread recipe inspired by a classic from Lombardy, known as pan tramvai, aka a rich, fruit-sweetened bread with plump raisins and all the good stuff. this bread recipe is lightened up a notch but still packs all the flavor the original has!
- 120 g durum wheat flour
- 130 g bread flour
- 30 g runny honey
- 100 ml part-skim milk (plant milk is fine too)
- 50 ml vegetable oil
- 50 g plain yogurt (vegan alternative works as well)
- 70 g raisins
- 10 g fresh yeast
- a pinch of salt
- one egg, small
- part-skim milk
warm up milk and honey (or your chosen plant milk and liquid sweetener, see notes) in a small pot until everything is dissolved and small bubbles start to appear. it should feel warm to the touch, but not hot.
dissolve yeast into the mix.
in a large bowl combine sifted flours and salt. make a well in the middle and pour the milk mixture, oil, and yogurt. loosely combine with a fork, then start kneading by hand until the dough comes together.
knead for about 10 minutes, stretching and folding the dough ball until it feels smooth and elastic.
cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place for 2 hours or until doubled in size.
deflate the dough, flatten it out and scatter raisins on top. press them into the dough and knead a little more to distribute them evenly into the bread.
cover and let rise one more hour.
divide the dough into eight equal pieces, shape into little balls or rolls and let rise again, covered, while you wait for the oven to heat up to 180 C.
beat an egg with some milk, lightly brush the top of the rolls with the egg wash (see notes for the vegan version) and bake for 15 minutes.