Saturday, March 17, 2012

Cinnamon-Raisin Swirl Bread

Can you just imagine how good this bread is going to taste toasted with a smear of butter?  I'm sorry you can't be here to try some with me.  The aroma as this very delicious bread was cooking was truly intoxicating.  I think there is nothing better than the smell of bread baking except perhaps bacon cooking.  Anyone care to debate me on this subject?

This bread turned out to be easier to make than the recipe might lead one to believe.  It has a number of steps, none of which are difficult but it does take some time.  Good things are worth the wait though, right?  This is makes two generous loaves of bread.  I am happy, as always, that I have my heavy duty Kitchenaid mixer to do the kneading for me which makes baking bread a snap.  Give this a try if you're looking for a baking challenge.

Cinnamon-Raisin Swirl Bread

Makes 2 loaves

1 cup (6 oz) raisins
1 cup (8 oz) warm water
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 cup (8 oz) milk, whole, 2%, or skim
1/4 cup (2 oz) unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons salt
5 1/2 - 6 cups all-purpose flour (I used bread flour)

1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 large egg beaten with 2 teaspoons warm water

Put the raisins in a small bowl and cover them with hot water. Let the raisins plump for at least 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Pour a cup of water into the bowl of a standing mixer or large mixing bowl. Sprinkle the yeast over top. Give it a few minutes, then stir to fully dissolve the yeast into the water.

Stir the milk, melted butter, and salt into the water. Add 5 1/2 cups of the flour and stir to form a shaggy dough. Knead in your mixer on low speed with a dough hook or knead by hand for 8-10 minutes to form a smooth, slightly tacky dough. Check the dough halfway through; if it's very sticky, add a little more flour. The dough is ready when it forms a ball without sagging and quickly springs back when poked.

Toss the raisins with a few tablespoons of flour to absorb any residual moisture from when they were plumped. With the mixer on gradually add them to the bowl and continue kneading until they are evenly distributed.

If kneading by hand, turn the dough out onto your work surface and pat it into an oval. Sprinkled about half the raisins over the top and fold the dough like a letter. Pat it into an oval again, sprinkle the remaining raisins, and fold it again. Knead the dough by hand for a few minutes to distribute the raisins through the dough. (Alternatively, you can reserve the raisins and sprinkle them over the dough along with the cinnamon-sugar.)

Return the dough to the bowl and cover. Let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about an hour. Meanwhile, combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and beat together the egg and water in a second bowl.

Divide the dough into two pieces. Working with one piece at a time, roll the dough out on the counter. It should be slightly less wide than your baking pan and as long as you can make it. The thinner the dough, the more layers of cinnamon swirl you'll end up with. If the dough starts to shrink back on you, let it rest for a few minutes and then try again.

Brush the entire surface of the dough with egg wash, leaving about two inches clear at the top. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon and sugar. Starting at the end closest to you, roll up the dough. When you get to the top, pinch the seam closed. Transfer the loaf to your loaf pan seam-side down. Repeat with the other half of the dough.

Let the loaves rise until mounded over the top of the pan and pillowy, 30-40 minutes. Halfway through rising, preheat the oven to 375° F.

Brush the top with some of the remaining egg wash. If desired, sprinkle some of your remaining cinnamon-sugar over the tops of the loaves as well. Bake for 40-45 minutes until golden brown.

Remove the loaves from the pans and allow them to cool completely before slicing. Baked loaves can also be frozen for up to three months.


whack patti said...


Taradharma said...

I am going to have to try this bread!

I think that the smell of bread baking (particularly this bread) right along with the smell of bacon cooking would be my perfect morning....