Many years ago I made cinnamon raisin bread. I tried forming it in various ways. Truly, the complexity got out of hand. Ultimately, the bread didn't present well. It was delicious, but that's not enough. And so it happened that as I was writing that recipe into my bread cookbook that I've been creating for myself, I thought it needed revising. I wrote down how I thought the best way to make the bread might be, and wrote all that into the pages of my book in progress. The difficulty lies in photos. If I want to present photos of how the bread should look, and I have none, well. You see the problem here?
With that in mind, I opted to give my new and revised recipe a try. Thank heaven I did, because this version not only looks wonderful, it tastes like a slice of heaven, to boot.
Cinnamon Raisin Bread
Makes 3 loaves
1 cup milk
1 cup water
1/3 cup honey
- pinch salt
2 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon instant yeast
Warm the milk, water and honey to 105 - 115 degrees F. If it heats too much, allow the mixture to cool slightly. Pour this mixture into a large bowl, or the bowl of a heavy duty stand mixer with dough hook attachment. Whisk in the salt and bread flour and instant yeast and cover. Set aside for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the mixture has grown markedly and is covered in foamy bubbles.FOR THE DOUGH:
1 stick unsalted butter (4 ounces), very soft
3 large eggs
2½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon instant yeast
2 - 3 tablespoons cinnamon
3½ to 4 cups more bread flour
1 - 1½ cups raisins
DOUGH: Add the butter to the sponge and begin beating in with the dough hook or by hand with a wooden spoon. Add in the eggs and mix well, then the salt and cinnamon, yeast and 2 cups of the bread flour. Mix until well combined, with machine or by hand (turning out onto a floured surface when the dough becomes too stiff to beat by hand). Add in the remaining flour, ½-cup at a time, until the dough becomes a soft mass. Do not add more flour than needed to bring the dough together. Knead for 5 minutes more, by machine or by hand, then add in the raisins and knead a further minute or two to fully incorporate. Remove the dough hook and cover the bowl, or if kneading by hand, grease a bowl and set the dough in the bowl, turning once to grease both sides and cover the bowl. Let proof until doubled, about 60 to 90 minutes.
Grease three 8 x 4-inch loaf pans. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and lightly degas. Divide the dough into 3 equal portions. Flatten a portion into an approximate rectangle (see sidebar, left) and roll up tightly from the narrow end, tucking in edges as you roll to keep a neat roll. Set into a greased loaf pan. Repeat with the remaining 2 portions of dough. Cover and let rise until 1-inch above the pan rims. If desired brush with an egg wash. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the loaves for 30 - 35 minutes, or to an internal temperature of between 195 and 200 degrees F. Turn out onto racks to cool completely before slicing.
NOTE: If desired, when flattening out the dough in preparation for rolling into loaves, you can mix 1/3 cup of granulated sugar with a half-teaspoon cinnamon and sprinkle a third of this mixture over each rectangle before rolling up into log shape. Proceed with rolling and set into pans, and proceed with rising and baking.
My passion is teaching people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and passing along my love and joy of food, both simple or exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. I would love to hear from you, to help me continue my journey to explore diverse culinary experiences and hopefully to start you on a journey of your own. Join me also at A Harmony of Flavors on Facebook, and Pinterest.