Monday, March 22, 2010
I thought that husband didn’t like cinnamon raisin bread, so imagine my surprise when I got back from my trip to find that he had eaten his way through most of a loaf (from the store) in my absence. Clearly, we had been suffering from grievous miscommunication on the issue. Resolving it provided all the encouragement I needed to make my own.
This process was less linear than anticipated. I started with the recipe suggested in The Bread Baker's Apprentice, but it just didn’t suit. It made two tiny loaves or one large one; I wanted one medium loaf, which is just about what we can eat up before it goes stale or moldy. It took a few tries before I hit upon the right combination in terms of flavor, texture, and size. By “a few,” I mean “about five.”
That is to say that this recipe has been well-tested, especially by my standards.
Cinnamon Raisin Bread (with or without a cinnamon sugar swirl)
3 ½ cups bread flour (or all-purpose flour plus one tablespoon vital wheat gluten, which is what I used)
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons yeast
¾ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1-2 tablespoons malted milk powder (optional)
1 ½ tablespoons butter, melted
½ cup milk
½ cup water
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup raisins
For cinnamon swirl (optional)
¼ cup white sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
Mix together all the dry dough ingredients (except raisins) in a large bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer. Mix milk, water, and butter, and heat in microwave until about 115 degrees (warm-lukewarm). Mix the egg into the liquids, then pour into the dry ingredients.
Stir together with spoon, and then knead, either by hand or using a dough hook in a stand mixer, for 5-10 minutes or until smooth and elastic – you can add more water if the dough is too dry, or more flour if it’s too moist. Toward the end of the kneading time, stir in the raisins.
Let rise in a warm place for an hour or hour and a half until doubled.
Punch down. If using cinnamon swirl, mix together sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl. Roll the dough into a large rectangle. Pour the cinnamon mixture evenly over the rectangle and roll up into a loaf that will fit in a normal-sized loaf pan.
Place into greased loaf pan and let rise an hour or hour and a half until doubled.
Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes or until hollow when thumped and golden brown. It only takes half an hour in my oven, but my oven: crazy hot.
I particularly recommend buttered slices with Swiss cheese, which I brought with me for lunch several days. I just wish that cinnamon didn’t give me heartburn every time.
Printable recipe here. I plan to submit this to Yeastspotting.