Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Cinnamon raisin swirl bread

It seems I'm getting the hang of this yeasty bread thing, For now. That is, until I come across a new recipe that seems simple enough until I screw up and forget to add half the ingredients until after I've already started kneading the dough.

Yep. I did that. I have a tendency to overexcite very easily when trying out new recipes. My enthusiasm turns me into a airhead, and I proceed to knead bread dough without some key ingredients. It's okay though, I persevered. If there's one thing that baking has taught me, it's to keep pushing forward until you're covered from head to toe in flour, banging your fist on the counter, trying to unstick the sticky dough by adding even more flour, until you're absolutely certain you've ruined your dough,  in which case, keep going; It may not end in defeat.

Not so bad, after all. (Ignore the gigantic hole in the middle of my bread. That's what happens when you're not a good seam pincher.) But enough about me and my less than graceful kitchen missteps. Let's talk about you. Have you ever had cinnamon raisin bread? What about cinnamon raisin bread fresh from the oven? No? Don't be intimidated, I promise you, it's not all that difficult. This is coming from the girl who had a massive kitchen meltdown making this dough, yet still somehow managed to make a downright tasty cinnamon raisin bread. If I can do it, you can do it. So go do it! Make this cinnamon raisin bread! Then, toast it, smear it with butter, or dip it in egg to make a fabulous french toast! It'll make your morning breakfast all the more worthwile.

Cinnamon raisin swirl bread:
Recipe adapted from Food.com

For the dough:
  • 3/4 cup of milk
  • 1/4 cup of warm water
  • 1 packet (.25 oz) active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp of sugar (for yeast)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4  cup granulated sugar
  • 4 Tbs softened butter
  • 1/2 cup of raisins
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
For the filling:
  • 1 Tbs milk
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup of white sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tbs ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tbs melted butter
  • a dash of milk
Warm milk in a saucepan over medium-low heat until slightly bubbling and set aside to cool. Dissolve your yeast by sprinkling it into 1/4 cup of warm water. Stir in a teaspoon of sugar and wait 10 minutes, until yeast has foamed and doubled in volume.

In a large bowl, mix together the egg, sugar, yeast, raisins, 4 Tbs of butter, and salt. Slowly, stir in the cooled milk (it should be lukewarm so as not to cook the eggs). Gradually, stir in the flour 1 cup at a time until a stiff dough is formed. Turn out dough onto a floured surface and knead about 8-10 minutes, until dough is a smooth ball. Place dough into a lightly greased bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and let rise in a warm area until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Punch the dough to deflate it. On a well floured surface, roll out the dough into a large 1/2 inch thick rectangle.  Moisten dough all over with the Tbs of milk.

In a separate bowl, mix together the cinnamon, brown sugar, and granulated sugar and sprinkle evenly on top of the dough. Roll up dough longways and tightly, tuck the ends under and pinch the seam tightly. Place in a greased 9x5 inch loaf pan. Lightly grease the top of loaf with 1/2 Tbs of butter. let rise uncovered in a warm place, for about 1 hour.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Once heated, bake your bread for 35-40 minutes, until loaves are lightly browned and sound hollow when tapped. Rub melted butter atop of the loaf. After 20 minutes or so, lay loaf on the side and remove from loaf pan to cool. Cool completely before slicing. Makes 1 bread loaf.

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