Raisin Walnut Bread

Raisin Walnut Bread

A simple but satisfying bread with raisins and toasted walnuts that is an old family recipe. I already make Pecan Butter Ball cookies every year for the holidays and I attribute that recipe to my Grandmother Bathe. They are a favorite of mine and I recall fondly helping her as a girl and making them every year that I can remember either with my mom when I was young or now with my own family. I wondered through a group email to relatives if there were other family members who might have a similar family tradition that they would share with me for a new section on this blog devoted to family recipes from the Bathe’s (pronounced Bay-thee), my Dad’s side of the family. After putting the word out, I look forward to seeing what comes from my request.

First in is this recipe for Raisin Nut Bread from my cousin Judy who lives in Tennessee. She is lucky to have an old cookbook of her mother’s (my Aunt Betty) titled “What’s Cookin” by the Ladies of the Epiphany of our Lord Parish compiled and edited by the Mothers of the Epiphany School, St. Louis, MO, the church that my grandparents attended.

I remember attending Mass with my Grandma at the Epiphany of our Lord Parish so seeing the name of the church on this cookbook brought back a flood of memories. We would walk to church from her house (my Grandmother never drove a car) and I would attend with her on one of the treasured times I got to spend the night with her when I was a young girl. It didn’t seem at all strange that we shared her bedroom and my Grandpa was in another, in fact it wouldn’t have been near the fun if she hadn’t been in there with me! I loved sleeping in the bed by the window with a tree outside and in the summer having the birds in that tree wake us up!

She attended Mass every day and I’m sure was very involved with this church when her children were growing up. Turns out the recipe I’ve used for those many years for Pecan Butter Balls is also in this cookbook though not attributed to her, but no matter; for me they are and always will be Grandma’s Pecan Butter Balls!

I tried the Raisin Nut bread first from the list my cousin sent me because I usually start off my day with a slice of raisin bread so the notion of making my own WITH walnuts was exciting so I was quick to get this made and in the oven. I was so richly blessed when the folks with California Walnuts (@CAWalnuts on Twitter) sent me a gift of 5 pounds of fresh walnuts; sort of a new obsession. As I told them…toasting them a bit before baking with them has made all the difference in how much I love walnuts. And other nuts which shall not be mentioned (pecans…shh).

Can I just tell you how amazing the house smells! I had every intention of staying true to this recipe but I love ‘fiddling’ with almost everything so I did make some modifications but you can call them optional. Though I must say that bit of rum with the raisins…why would you opt out of that? 🙂

This photo was typical of holiday gatherings when all of the Bathe kids would come to Grandma and Grandpa’s for dinner…with their many kids! I have some great memories of meals in this house; by the time I was old enough to remember, there were something like 15 cousins when the family would gather. In this photo, my grandparents were each at one end of the table; my Mom and Dad are next to each other on the upper right, my Aunt Betty is at the head of the table with Grandma and we’re not sure if that’s my older brother John or me to left of my Grandfather (only 11 months separated our birth!). The two kids on the right are my cousins John and Mary who are Betty and my Dad’s brother Bob’s two kids. I think that’s my Aunt Peggy and Uncle Ted on the left. My Dad’s sibling’s either had five kids, none or…went into the convent; here’s a picture of my Grandma with Sister Mary Lizette; or as we know her, Aunt Jane. My Aunt Jane and my Dad are still alive and both still live in St Louis.

My cousin shared that there are two other interesting things in the cookbook which she had never read before! One she defines as absolutely ridiculous and amounts to how to preserve a husband. Come on Judy, I would have liked to have read that piece…do they suggest formaldehyde or some other method?

The other is a recipe for a happy day and I thought it sweet and words we can still live by from this book that must have been published at least 85 years ago!

Recipe for a Happy Day

A little dash of water cold
A little leaven of prayer
A little bit of sunshine gold
Dissolved in morning air

Add to your meal some merriment
With a thought of kith and kin
And then as a prime ingredient
Plenty of work thrown in

Flavor it with the essence of love
And a little dash of play
Let a nice old book and a glance inside
Complete the well spent day.

I’m making both the cookies and this bread for Christmas gift packages that will be sent to family and friends including my Dad and my Aunt Jane. Hope they enjoy this trip down memory lane as much as I did.

There will be more! Happy Holidays!

Raisin Walnut Bread

Raisin Walnut Bread

An old fashioned and delicious bread with raisins and walnuts.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course Breads
Cuisine American
Servings 8 Servings
Calories 461.8 kcal


For the Bread:

  • 3 Cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 egg well beaten
  • 1 ½ cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter original called for shortening but I'm betting butter was too expensive to use then; I don't keep any solid shortening in the house; it's either Canola or butter so I opted for butter.
  • 1 Cup seedless raisins
  • ¼ cup rum or water optional but I could not resist...my raisins were a bit dry and what better than RUM Raisin Nut bread?!
  • ¾ cup chopped nuts (not originally called for but I toast mine for 7-8 minutes in the over before chopping them; makes them even more wonderful

For the Glaze:

  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 1-2 tsp milk


  • Heat the rum or water to boiling, remove from heat; add raisins and let sit to absorb liquid for 15 minutes.
  • Sift together, flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.
  • Add raisins (and any liquid) and nuts.
  • Combine egg, milk and butter. Stir into dry ingredients, pour into a greased bread loaf pan, 8 inches by 4 inches.
  • Let stand at room temperature 20 minutes, then bake in moderate over 350 degrees for our 1 1/4 hours.
  • Remove and cool on wire rack.
  • If you want to drizzle with icing, combine powdered sugar and cinnamon.
  • Add enough milk to the powdered sugar until it's just thick enough to drizzle over the top of the bread.
  • Cool completely.


I live in Denver at a mile high altitude so I not only bake goods with leavening at 360 degrees, I also bake for less time. My first test of this bread saw it get too brown and dry at 1 hour and my 2nd attempt was to make 12 loaves using mini loaf pans which only needed 30 minutes, so I would start testing a regular loaf pan at 50-60 minutes where you are.


Nutrition Facts
Raisin Walnut Bread
Serving Size
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat
Trans Fat
Polyunsaturated Fat
Monounsaturated Fat
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Keyword raisin, walnut, bread
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


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  1. What a great post Barbara. I love reading it, from the nuts, to the recipe contributions, to grandmother Bay-thee, preserving hubs {LOL LOL LOL}, and the recipe for a happy day! God knows we all need to chant that!! he he! Have a MERRY CHRISTMAS Barb, and a wonderful 2011!

  2. The photos are the best present I can imagine. The little boy looks JUST LIKE EVAN VANDEGRIFFE. I need to have Eva look at this. I also need to figure out how to print this phto off and get a copy for my kitchen wall. I thank you for the recipes! THANK YOU!!!!

  3. A lovely tribute to your family legacy. The pictures are classic.
    Now for the recipe, do you think it would freeze well? I’d like to make and send to my mom who adores raisin bread for breakfast or a sweet treat but it would take her awhile to eat it.

  4. What am amazing tribute….love the old recipe (raisin and walnuts = classic!), the pictures, everything! I sometimes think I was born in the wrong era.

    1. Thanks Chris and I know exactly what you are saying. I was called The Pioneer Woman long before there was food blogging for my propensity to do things others wouldn’t imagine. I recall fondly the years when my kids were little and the garden was huge; canning and freezing, making all of my and the kids clothes and tending to the fire in the hearth to keep warm (that’s what you have to do if you count on a wood stove for heat!). I’m still determinedly self sufficient and I have to believe a lot of this comes from my Grandma; wonderful, sweet and kind but with a huge work ethic I only hope I embody in my life!

  5. I love your family pictures. They are so precious. My grandma was very religious, too and I had an aunt who was a catholic nun. I still miss my Oma, she was such a warm and loving person. My dad’s family used to get together almost every weekend and I also have the best memories of all of us cousins together.
    Barbara, Thank you for sharing your memories. I am wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas. Let’s get together in January!

  6. I LOVE that you did this! those images are utterly priceless- thank you for sharing- I’m poring over everyone’s expressions. merry almost jesus day, beautiful Barb. xo, salty

    1. Thank you Linda; it was certainly an emotional piece for me and so glad everyone is enjoying them. Now, if it were me…I would have my sweet Grandma smiling! Never heard a harsh word come from her!

  7. I loved reading this post and viewing the pictures. The bread looks great and if it tastes as good as your Grandma’s Butter Pecan Balls then it will have to be a *must bake* item. No need for me to ask for any new cookbooks for Christmas. I’ll just come here and keep browsing your blog for inspiration.

  8. Wow, even though I came many, many years later as my grandmother is your Aunt Betty, the picture definitely made me tear up. As you remember those days at your grandparents (which I suppose are my great-grandparents) the scene of the family sitting around the table on the holidays is almost identical to my memories at my grandmothers (we called her Ma-Ma) home in McMinnville, TN. Wow, thank you for the memories that your write up helped me revisit. Although our memories are different in time they are so much alive in the family that we are lucky to share. Thanks again!

    1. They are great memories Amie; I remember that houseful of kids and us running all over and don’t recall our parents screaming and yelling at us about it either! We must have been OK and they must have been VERY tolerant! Cause it was always fun, that I do certainly recall.

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