A couple of weeks ago, I attempted to bake my grandmother’s famously delicious raisin bread. I’d actually been meaning to for ages, because my family has the notebook she wrote her recipes and cooking notes in, as well as an envelope full of recipes she clipped and saved from magazines, food packaging, pretty much anywhere.
The raisin bread was a giant flop. First it didn’t rise at all, then it did, then not again – in the end, the bread was too tall, too brown, and completely raw in the middle. Grandma clearly knew stuff about bread that I don’t know, and trying to bake from her handwritten recipe proved difficult in ways I didn’t expect at all. I don’t really know that much about baking bread anyway, I’m still in the early learning stages, so questions about yeast cakes vs. dry active yeast and the like had me confounded.
I tried again the very next day, having adjusted the recipe based on the first try, and it was wonderful! It made me want to dig through the rest of my grandmother’s recipes and, doing so, I found some real gems to share with you all. I have a little pile set aside that I’ll get through eventually, but first up is these super helpful hints on making the perfect pastry, brought to you by Robin Hood Flour (the pre-sifted flour, of course). (Click through to Flickr for a bigger version.) Not that I know anything about making pastry, the tips might be useless – but look at the fabulous artwork. They just don’t make ads like this anymore!