Saturday, September 23

Wednesday Baking: Cinnamon Raisin Bread

On Wednesday I’ve two classes plus my first one starts at two in the afternoon - no wonder my favourite school day is Wednesday.
I love I don’t have to set on the alarm and I can spend the whole morning wandering around alone and in my pyjamas.
It’s beginning to become a bit of a habit to use this time to keep my blog a bit updated and, maybe you already guessed, bake something.
When I wake up on this Wednesday morning, the house is empty and it’s completely silent.- I make my morning cappuccino in peace, turn on the radio and start leafing through my cookbooks (a bit drooling…) and looking for something to make.

This morning, absorbed in one of my favourite and most used cookbooks - Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook - I spotted this recipe for Cinnamon Raisin Bread. I love cinnamon. It’s without a doubt my favourite spice, I put it always on my cappuccino and have the tendency to double or triple the amount that’s asked for in my recipes.
In short - this recipe sounded just perfect (especially with another cappuccino!) and I started my Wednesday morning baking session

I have to say - I hope I don‘t sound too cocky… - everything I’ve made so far from cookbook recipes with a picture, looked very similar or sometimes even identical, as my outcome.
The only real surprises came from the experimental baking…
Well, up till now. This time my making didn’t even look slightly as the picture out the book…

Martha Stewart’s picture of this Cinnamon Raisin Bread was light, airy and well, very breadlike. Although it was a bit of a shock mine wasn’t, - I think my yeast didn’t do his job so well... - it was yet one of the best, extremes things I’ve ever tasted. I can't imagine Martha’s version had been any better or have more flavour than my version…

It was delicious, I loved it. It was compact, a bit cookie-ish and soft, and completely perfumed with cinnamon and sugar. Luscious golden-brown and with an amazing over-the-top sweet sticky cinnamon-syrup-swirl inside. It’s indescribable. The texture was perfect and if you had told me about this filling, I know I wouldn’t have believed that so much goodness would all been inside.
I didn’t wait and let cool completely before slicing, and a slightly warm, thick stream of cinnamon sugar came oozing out. Is it possible to get it more sinful or delicious than that?

The dough itself was wonderfully soft and warm, and a real pleasure to knead.
But keep in mind this isn’t a recipe you finish in an hour or so, it will definitely take you a while with all the rising and rolling, so pick a good moment and take your time (!)

A bit obvious; don’t eat this bread as a quick snack out the hand or for example when you’re dressed in white and you don’t have any napkins. Guaranteed trouble. Do devour it however, in thin slices and with a nice cup of tea (and plenty of napkins...)

Cinnamon Raisin Bread (makes 2 loaves)
- 1 envelope (¼ ounce/7g) active dry yeast
- 480 ml (2 cups) warm milk
- 950g (6 ½ cups) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 115g (1 stick/½ cup) butter, room temperature, cut into pieces, plus more for pans
- 100g (½ cup) sugar
- 2 eggs, plus 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 2 ½ tsp coarse salt - 200g (1 cup) raisins
- 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
- 300g (1 ½ cups) dark brown castor sugar
- 2 Tbsp ground cinnamon

1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, sprinkle the yeast over the warm milk and whisk to combine. Add the flour, butter, sugar, 2 eggs, and salt. Attach bowl to mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix on low speed until all the ingredients are well combined, about 3 minutes. Raise speed to medium-low, and continue to mix until the dough is completely smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 3 minutes more.

2. Turn out the dough on a lightly floured surface. Pat out the dough into a big round. Sprinkle with raisins and cinnamon and knead and fold until they are just incorporated. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, and cover with oiled plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

3. Return the dough to a lightly floured work surface, and pat into a round. Fold the bottom third of the dough up, the top third down and the right and left sizes over, pressing down the seal. Return the dough into the bowl and let rise again until doubled in bulk, about 40 minutes.

4. Make the filling. Combine sugar and cinnamon with 2 Tbsp water in a small bowl.

5. Generously butter two 9by5-inch loaf pans (if you don’t have two, one 7 inch round spring form) set aside. 6. Return the dough to a lightly floured work surface, and divide in half. Roll each half out to a large rectangle, a bit bigger than your loaf pans - about 10 inch. Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle each with half of the filling.

7. With the short end of the rectangle facing you, fold in both of the long sides of the dough in. the roll the dough towards you, gently pressing forming a tight log. Roll back and forth to seal the seam. Place loafs in the prepared pans. Cover loosely with oiled plastic wrap, and let rest in a warm place, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 225°C (425°F)

8. Brush the tops of the loafs with beaten egg, and transfer pans to the oven. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until loaves are golden brown, about 45 minutes. If the tops begin to brown too quickly, tent with aluminium foil.) turn out the bread onto a wire rack to cool completely before slicing. (if you can wait…) The bread can be kept, wrapped in plastic up to 4 days.


Ivonne said...

Wow, Julia! I hope you get to spend every Wednesday morning this way!

What a beautiful loaf of bread!

Natalia said...

That picture is making me drool! All that cinnamon sugar oozing out... mmmm! Delicious.

UnGourmetGal said...

Looks great, I bet Martha would want her bread to taste like yours, not the other way around.

peabody said...

Oh this is so stuffed with raisins I love it!

gilly said...

Oh Julia, your bread looks breath-taking! I love cinnamon raisin bread - such a heavenly combination! I will heed your advice on not eating it when wearing white - it's a sure fire way for me to get food on my clothing as well! :)

Mary said...

Your Wednesday mornings sound like heaven to me. Wake up late, bake something (still in my PJs), have coffee with the fruits of my labor. Wonderful!

Julia said...

Hi Ivonne! I hope that as well…! Yum! =)

Hi Natalia, oh, that filling was indeed amazing…I still dream about it!

Ungourmetgal - thank you! That’s so nice!

Hi Peabody…yes - many, many raisins…=)

Thanks Gilly! I love the combo as well so much…scones, muffins, cookies…and maybe your just posted tea biscuits? Delish!

Hi Mary! Haha, yes - it’s a wonderful break in the week - many thanks timetable makers (!)

Brilynn said...

Your bread looks swirly and gooey and fantastic, I wish I had some!

Helene said...

what time is breakfast? Beautiful shots, and great recipe. Too bad hubby does not like raisins. I might sub cranberries or chocolate chips.