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The Misadventures of Mrs. B: Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Cook. Writer. Wife. Daughter. Sister. Friend. Klutz.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Cinnamon raisin bread.  Three words which work so beautifully together.  Three words which have comprised my breakfast all this past week.  And a snack as I was writing this post.  Because how can you mess around with pictures of a food you happen to enjoy...highly...without eating said food which you know is just sitting in your freezer, a mere 30 microwaved seconds away from edible bliss? How?

You can't.  That's how.

Anyway, I saw this recipe over at Food.Baby and I knew I had to give it a shot.  You see, cinnamon raisin bread is my favorite bread. of. all. time.  When I was little, it was always such a treat to stay at my aunt's house and eat cinnamon toast in the morning.  It was like some sort of luxury item to my young white bread self.  The love affair continues to this day.

The only way I like it any better is with a snowy white vanilla glaze on top, which I first tasted when I visited Amish country with my family...and lemme tell ya, Rob and I are spending a weekend there next month, which means I'm buying and freezing at least two loaves.  And some Shoo Fly Pie, but that's another story.

I made a few alterations to the original recipe, which you can find here.  I held a few optional ingredients back, used soy milk (it worked beautifully!), and altered the amounts of ingredients in the swirl.  The original amounts did not sound like enough to me - in fact, I feel like it could use even more next time!  

To make the dough, warm milk is combined with a pinch of sugar and some yeast, then left to get moist and well-acquainted.  In the meantime, more warm milk is mixed with butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla and salt.  The yeast mixture is added, and then flour.  The dough is left to rise for 90 minutes.

Once risen, it was dumped unceremoniously onto my flour-dusted counter.

Rolled out, it was...

...into a rough rectangle.

I said rough.  Don't judge me.

The dough is spread with butter and sprinkled with sugar, cinnamon and raisins.  You can use regular or golden raisins, as long as they've been steamed or soaked til plump, then dried well.

Starting from one of the short ends, roll the dough firmly.

And, if you're me, you'll realize when it's time to tuck the ends under and plop into the greased loaf pan that you rolled the dough into far too large a rectangle.  You'll end up creating a fat worm shape.  And then tell your husband that this is going to be the ugliest bread ever.

Allow it to rise, loosely covered, for 45 minutes.  And be even more certain of the bread's ugliness.

Bake it for 45 minutes, unmold after 5, and you have...THIS!

Not the prettiest shaped bread, for sure...but close enough for jazz, as they say.

It was a real act of will, waiting for this to cool in order to cut into it.  But it was worth every tortured second.  A little bit of buttery goodness on top...and I'm in heaven, folks.  Heaven.

Of course, it's great without the butter as well.  It's just pretty much awesome all over the place.

In order to not have it go stale before I enjoyed every last crumb, I sliced it up and froze the slices on a cookie sheet.  Once they were frozen they were placed in a large ziploc bag, left in a sacred corner of the freezer, and have been enjoyed daily ever since, a slice with morning coffee here, a slice while watching trash TV there.

This may just become a Sunday ritual for me.

2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast
1/4 cup sugar, plus a pinch
1 1/4 cups whole milk, heated between 110 - 120 degrees F (I used soy!)
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 3/4 to 4 cups all-purpose flour

Cinnamon Swirl:
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup raisins (dark or golden)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

In a small bowl, combine the yeast, pinch of sugar and 1/4 cup of warm milk.  Cover and allow to moisten (around 3 minutes).

Fit your stand mixer with the paddle attachment.  Combine remaining cup of milk, butter and sugar.  Mix for a minute or so.  Add egg, salt and vanilla.  Mix for another minute.  Add yeast mixture and, you guess it...mix it in.

Turn the mixer off! before adding 2 3/4 cups of flour.  Mix on low until flour is mixed in.  Switch from paddle attachment to dough hook.  Add another cup of flour and mix on medium speed.  If dough does not come together and almost clean the sides of the bowl, add more flour (up to 4 tablesppons, one tablespoon at a time).  Knead at medium speed for 3 minutes, until dough becomes smooth and shiny.
Turn the dough into a large buttered bowl and cover. Put the bowl in a warm place (I always use my oven with the light turned on) and let the dough rise until it is doubled in size, about 90 minutes or so.  

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a rectangle, around 12 x 18 inches.  Spread 3 tbs melted butter all over surface, and sprinkle sugars and raisins on top.  Starting from one of the short ends, roll dough firmly.  Seal the seam and tuck ends underneath.  Place seam side down in a buttered loaf pan, cover loosely and allow to rise for 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Melt one tablespoon of butter and spread over surface of bread.  Bake for 20 minutes, then loosely tent with foil and back 25 minutes more, until golden.  Remove bread from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before unmolding, then allow to cool fully before slicing.


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Blogger Peg @ Bloomfield Farm said...

Your recipe is very similar to the one I've used for years, only mine is pretty much doubled. That way I can make MORE of this delicious stuff! I think I'm going to get up and go start some right now!

January 21, 2011 at 9:49 AM

Anonymous Nain @ View From Down Here said...

I like the fact that you use golden raisins...not a big fan of the other kind :-) I'm hungry now...

January 21, 2011 at 10:07 AM

Blogger KLZ said...

Please come cook at my house. Please.

January 21, 2011 at 12:52 PM

Blogger Katie @ This Chick Cooks said...

I wish I had a slice of that right now. I keep wanting to make cinnamon raisin bread and yours looks so good.

January 21, 2011 at 2:51 PM

Blogger Teresa said...

That looks so yummy. I'm going to have to make some this weekend.

January 21, 2011 at 3:37 PM

Blogger Peg @ Bloomfield Farm said...

I made it... and I'm waiting for it to come out of the oven right now!!!

January 21, 2011 at 6:06 PM

Anonymous redkathy said...

Never mind those few wrinkles, this is some beautiful bread Jen. I can smell all the way down here! Nice, very nice.

January 21, 2011 at 10:14 PM

Blogger Liz said...

Cinnamon Raisin bread reminds me of my childhood. Though my mom always bought the stuff from the store.

That is one scrumptious-looking loaf!

January 22, 2011 at 9:28 AM

Blogger Lisa said...

That bread looks so delicious and I like the fact that you used golden raisins. That's definitely my preference. Sounds like a fantastic breakfast. I have a new linky on my blog called "Sweets for a Saturday" and I'd like to invite you to stop by and link this up.

January 24, 2011 at 2:53 AM

Blogger Real Life Reslers said...

This looks wonderful! now if i could just get off my hiney and go make it!!!

January 29, 2011 at 10:39 AM


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