The secret to making perfectly delicious baked goods is paying attention to how every ingredient in the recipe works to achieve the desired results. Dried fruits like raisins, for example, are a great baked goods add-in that introduces a unique sweetness and texture in every bite. However, if you want to get the best results from your raisin-filled recipes, there is one step that you shouldn't skip: soaking the raisins before adding them to the batter.
Soaking raisins has several benefits for your baking. First, it plumps up the raisins, making them softer and juicier, improving their mouthfeel. Soaking these fruity goodies also prevents them from absorbing moisture from the batter during baking. If you add dry raisins to your mix, they tend to draw in moisture from the dough, which can result in drier, harder baked goods. By soaking them, you ensure that the moisture in your batter stays right where it should, keeping your cakes, breads — cinnamon raisin bread, anyone? — or cookies moist and tender. Additionally, soaking enhances the flavor of the raisins and the baked goods. Depending on what liquid you use to soak the raisins, you can infuse them with different aromas and tastes that complement your recipe.
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How To Soak Raisins For Baking
Begin by choosing your soaking liquid depending on the recipe or your personal preference. The most common choice is water, which effectively rehydrates the raisins without altering their natural flavor. However, for an extra flavor boost, many bakers turn to other liquids. Fruit juices, like orange or pineapple juice, can add a subtle fruity undertone. For a more decadent touch, liquors such as rum, brandy, or even whiskey will infuse the raisins with a rich, deep flavor, making them a perfect addition to adult-oriented desserts. Even simple options like tea can lend a unique taste to the raisins. More outside-of-the-box options like eggs also work like a charm.
The next step is soaking the raisins. Place the dried fruits in a bowl and pour enough liquid over them to completely cover the raisins. The soaking time can vary depending on the liquid used. Generally, about 10 to 15 minutes in warm liquid is sufficient. However, if you're using a liquid at room temperature, leave them for at least 30 minutes. You can also refrigerate the bowl if you want to soak the raisins overnight or longer.
After soaking, drain the raisins and pat them dry with a paper towel. Coat the plumped raisins with a bit of the recipe's flour to prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the pan when baking. Finally, add the raisins to your batter and mix well, then proceed with your recipe as usual. Enjoy your delicious baked goods.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.