Saturday, December 11, 2010

Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread

This week, I decided to tackle making bread from scratch! No big mixer, no bread machine… just my two bare hands.Something crazy happened - the yeast frothed, the dough rose (and then rose again), the house filled with the smell of bread, the crust browned…. IT WORKED!
It was probably pretty hilarious to see how excited I was when the dough actually doubled in size, when I cut into it and saw a real swirl, and when I finally took a bite and it tasted like bread!! Delicious bread at that! Simple things, I guess.

Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread
I followed this recipe, but made a few small adjustments:
Yield: 3 loaves
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 cup warm water (must be between 110-115 degrees)
  • 2 (1/4 ounce) packages active dry yeast – I used instant yeast
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup raisins – I used up the last of my raisins, which was about 1.5 cups
  • 8 cups all-purpose flour – I used bread flour, and I ended up using 6.5 cups
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted (approx.)
*When I make this again, I will probably add one more tablespoon of cinnamon, and use a touch less sugar in the filling mixture.
Directions: Warm the milk in a small sauce pan on the stove until it just starts to bubble, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Let cool until lukewarm, about 120-125 degrees. Dissolve yeast in warm water and set aside until yeast is frothy, about 10 minutes or so (make sure your water is at the correct temperature or the yeast won't activate.) Then mix in eggs, sugar, butter salt and raisins (stir in the cooled milk slowly so you don't cook the eggs.) Add the flour gradually to make a stiff dough. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for a few minutes until smooth. Place in a large, buttered, mixing bowl and turn to grease the surface of the dough. Cover with a warm, damp cloth and let rise (I like to let my bread rise in the oven with the light on. It has just the right amount of heat and keeps the bread out of drafts.) Allow to rise until doubled, usually about 1 1/2 hours. Roll out on a lightly floured surface into a large rectangle 1/2 inch thick. Moisten the dough with 2 tablespoons milk and rub all over the dough with your hands. Mix together 1 cup of sugar and 3 tablespoons cinnamon and sprinkle mixture evenly on top of the moistened dough. Roll up tightly (the long way). The roll should be about 3 inches in diameter. Cut into thirds, and tuck under ends and pinch bottom together. Place loaves into well greased (you can use Crisco or butter for this) 9 x 5 inch pans and lightly grease tops of loaves. Let rise in warm place, uncovered, again for about an hour. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until loaves are lightly browned and sound hollow when tapped. Remove from oven and let cool on rack. Take melted butter and spread over tops of loaves. (I skipped this step) After about 20 minutes, lay loaves on their sides and remove from pans. Allow to cool before slicing.
P1010905 Enjoy!