Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

In college, I used to love eating cinnamon raisin toast with nutella on it. Lately, since I've been on a baking kick and I've been using recipes that require dry-active yeast all the time, I decided to make my own cinnamon raisin bread. You could easily make this a chocolate chip bread by substituting chocolate chips for the raisins and cocoa powder for the cinnamon.

Ingredients [makes two (2) 9" x 5" loaves, this recipe can be easily halved]:
1 package yeast (2 teaspoons)
2/3 cup warm water (110 degrees, no warmer)
1 teaspoon sugar

5 cups flour
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup raisins
2/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

Prep time: 30 minutes
Rise time: 1 hour x 2
Bake time: 40 minutes
Start by blooming the yeast in water with a bit of sugar. Once it's frothy and foamy you'll know the yeast is alive and kicking and you're good to go.

In a large bowl, combine butter, eggs, sugar, salt, bloomed yeast, milk, and raisins. I like to cut the butter into small cubes before I add it in. It should start to break up a bit and the mixture will be chunky. Slowly add in the flour, one cup at a time, until it starts to come together.
Knead the dough until it's elastic and firm. Form it into a ball, oil the surface, and put in a bowl covered with saran wrap. Place it in a warm place for about 1 hour until it doubles in size.
Once the dough has proofed, dump it out onto a well-floured board. Roll out into an 18" x 10" rectangle, which should be about 1/2" thick.
Brush the dough with water. Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt and sprinkle over the surface of the dough. Then roll the dough (long edge) to form an 18" long log. Cut the roll in half to form two loaves.
Place the dough in a greased loaf pan and cover with saran wrap. Place in a warm place to proof for 1 hour. When it's big, poofy, and rises above the sides of the loaf pan, it's ready to be baked. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Bake for 40 minutes until golden brown. A trick to testing whether or not bread is ready is to push the crust and knock on the bread. If the crust is firm and knocking the dough feels hollow, the bread is ready. Let the bread cool for 30 minutes before slicing.
Enjoy that lovely cinnamon swirl. Store the bread in an airtight container to keep it moist. If the bread goes stale before you can finish it, you could make french toast.

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