September 19, 2010

Cinnamon Raisin Swirl

Although this bread contains no whole grains, it's a delicious classic. Cinnamon raisin bread, perfect for toast. I had my best half marathon time yet (of my whole two times) with this as my breakfast of champions. (Not that it means anything, but it is really good!)

Cinnamon Raisin Loaf

2 1/4 cups plus 2 1/2 Tbsp. flour
1 3/4 water
2 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. honey
3/4 tsp. yeast

Make a sponge by combining these four ingredients, whisking two minutes to incorporate air. The sponge should be like a thick batter. Cover with plastic wrap, and leave sit between 1 to 24 hours.

2 cups plus 3 Tbsp. flour
1/4 cup dry milk
3/4 tsp. yeast

Combine the ingredients listed above together. Sprinkle this flour mixture on top of the sponge, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Allow this to ferment 1 to 4 hours at room temperature. (The sponge may bubble through the flour, which is perfectly fine.)

9 Tbsp. butter, softened
2 1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup raisins (I used a combination of golden and regular)

Add the butter to the bowl, and mix on low speed with the dough hook until the flour is moistened enough to form a rough dough. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rest 20 minutes.

Sprinkle on the salt, and knead the dough on medium speed 7 to 10 minutes. The dough will not come away from the bowl until toward the last minute of kneading. Dough should be smooth and shiny and stick to your fingers. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rest 10 minutes.

Add the raisins on low speed for about 2 minutes. It's fine if they are not all incorporated, as they will be when you roll the dough. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover tightly, and let rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. On floured surface, press dough into a rectangle shape, maintaining as many air bubbles as possible. Give the dough a business letter turn. Place dough in greased bowl, cover, and refrigerate 1 hour to firm the dough for rolling.

1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. sugar
4 tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbsp. lightly beaten egg

Whisk together sugar and cinnamon. Remove dough from refrigerator, half of the dough at a time. Roll each piece of dough to a 7 1/2 by 14-inch rectangle. Using your fingers, press dough gently to indent to prevent air bubbles. Brush dough with egg, leaving a 3/4-inch margin on all sides. Sprinkle half the cinnamon mixture on each piece to evenly cover the dough. Roll the dough tightly, brushing the top with egg to hold the dough together as you roll. Tuck the ends underneath, and place in two greased 8 x 4 bread pans. Repeat for second loaf.

Cover the pans loosely with oiled plastic wrap. Allow them to rise 1 to 2 hours or until the center is 1 1/2 inches above the sides of the pan. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350ºF.

Bake bread 50 minutes or until loaves are a medium golden brown. Remove from oven, and brush tops with butter immediately. Remove from pans, and cool on wire racks. Makes 2 loaves.

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