This hearty raisin bread is especially good toasted – a real man pleaser. The loaves are very large; depending on your needs, you might prefer to make three smaller loaves, adjusting the temperature and timing as needed.
Dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir in milk, sugar, salt, eggs, butter, and about 3-½ cups of the flour; beat until smooth. Mix in raisins and enough of the remaining flour to make the dough easy to handle. Knead the dough on a floured board until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes). Place in a greased bowl and turn to grease the top. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1-½ hours. Punch down and divide the dough in half. Roll each half into a rectangle and then roll up to form a loaf. Seal the seam and fold the ends under. Place loaves seam-side down in large greased bread pans and let rise until double. Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Bake breads on the middle rack for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown. If breads appear to brown too quickly, cover tops of loaves with foil for the final 15 minutes or so of the baking time. (Loaves should sound hollow when tapped.) Remove from pans and cool on wire racks. Brush with butter if desired or frost with Confectioners’ Sugar Icing.