Preparation / Directions:
Sponge: Dissolve the yeast cakes in 1/2 cup of cooled, scalded milk.
Cool to 110-115 degrees
F. with 1/4 cup sugar and about 2 tablespoons flour. (This takes about
15-30 minutes to rise in small mixing bowl.) Beat until smooth and set it
to rise on top of stove. Add about 6 cups flour and remainder of milk in
large bowl. Add sponge, beat together and let rise 1 hour in a warm place.
Cover with clean dish towel. Add well beaten eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla
and work into dough, alternating with warm melted butter, adding more flour
as you work 6 cups in. Knead dough quickly and lightly about 1/2 hour
until smooth and dough does not stick to hand or bowl. Add liquor and
raisins last. After kneading place dough in large bowl (or 2 smaller) and
set in warm place to rise until double in bulk (from 1-2 hours). Cover
with clean towel. Grease and flour loaf pans and fill 2/3 full. Cover again
with clean towel. Let rise until just above edge of pan. Bake in hot oven
15-20 minutes at 375 degrees, then turn to 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
If it browns too quickly, cover with brown paper for last 15 minutes. When
bread shrinks from sides of pan and is easily removed. Cool in pans
about 15 minutes, then turn loaves out on racks to cool.