If you are having a nice lazy day but want to warm up the house with a little oven action, this is a nice recipe. It does take a little bit of time, but it is not hands on time. There is a lot of waiting around. I think you could probably even make the sponge and refrigerate it overnight.
Dolce Milanese (Milan Sweet Bread - Adapted from The Italian Baker)
3 c raisins
4 c water
1 1/2 c water from the raisin soak
3 3/4 t yeast
2 1/2 sugar
1 c bread flour
3T dark spiced rum (Captain Morgan)
1T orange zest
2 1/2 c bread flour
1 c butter (2 sticks)
3-4 T flour
Soak raisins in water for 1-2 hours until plumped up. Reserve 1 1/2 c water while draining the raisins. Set aside raisins.
Make the sponge: Slightly warm water. Place water, yeast, and sugar in a mixing bowl. Let sit for 10 minutes until foamy. Stir in flour until smooth. Cover and let sit until doubled - about 45 minutes to an hour.
Make the dough: Add rum, orange zest, and flour to the sponge. Mix with paddle until smooth. Add butter 1T at a time. Switch to the dough hook. Knead until velvety and soft. It will be very soft but not really too sticky. Transfer to a greased bowl and set aside for about 1 hour or until doubled.
I decided to make this into 2 loaves because I think one would have been tremendous. When the dough is first made, it looks very loose. You think that it can't possibly be right - but it is. The dough absolutely smells wonderful. The final bread is a very soft. You would swear that this dough had egg in it but it doesn't. I can't even think what to compare it to - maybe a Pandoro di Verona. This is the actual reason I wanted this book is for the Pandoro di Verona recipe - which I still haven't made yet.