Sunday, May 23, 2010

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

The weather is still rather damp and dreary, although I do see the sun peeking through now and again. Maybe tomorrow will be dry (fingers crossed). Since I can't dig in the dirt I'll play in the kitchen. Today's adventure is making my first batch of cinnamon raisin bread. This is a childhood favorite and reminds me of my great grandmother's house. When I was a child, I thought she had fascinating things in her home. A box of old Lincoln logs and vintage metal cars, lots of greeting cards and Red Rose tea animals on the mantle, and in the kitchen there were always Archway oatmeal raisin cookies and some delicious cinnamon raisin bread. She wore her hair in a tight bun so I was surprised to see how long her hair was when it was down. I remember watching her use a curling iron that was heated with an oil lamp. I was very young back then so those are some of my only memories of her. I love oatmeal raisin cookies and cinnamon raisin bread to this day.


1 1/2 C. milk
2 C. raisins
1 C. warm water (about 110 degrees F.)
2 (1/4 oz) packages of yeast, or 4 1/2 tsp.
1/4 tsp. sugar
3 eggs
1/2 C. sugar
2 tsp. salt
1/2 C. butter, softened
4 C. whole wheat flour
4 C. all purpose flour

2 Tbs. milk
1/2 C. sugar
1 1/2 Tbs. cinnamon

2 Tbs. butter, melted

Warm milk in a small saucepan on stove until just a bit warmer than 125 degrees F. Remove from heat and stir in the raisins. This will allow them to plump. Set aside.

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. stir in the 1/4 tsp. of sugar. Let sit until foamy.

With a large mixing bowl on your stand mixer, mix together eggs, sugar, butter, and salt. Mix in yeast. Mix in the cooled milk and raisins slowly, so you don't cook the eggs. Mix in the whole wheat flour, one cup at a time. Remove from mixer and start stirring in the all purpose flour, one cup at a time, until it is too stiff to stir. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and begin kneading, adding more of the AP flour as needed to produce a good dough. Knead for about 12 minutes. Shape into a ball and place in a large mixing bowl that has been coated with corn oil. Roll the ball around in the oil to coat all sides. Cover with a clean towel and place in a warm, draft free spot to rise. I like to heat up my oven slightly, then turn on the light in there and use the oven to let the dough rise. You need to let the dough rise until its doubled.

Meanwhile mix together the sugar and cinnamon, for the filling, and divide that between 3 small bowls.

Remove the blob of risen dough from the bowl and place onto a floured surface. Gently punch it down with your fists. Roll the dough out into a square and then cut it into 3 equal (or as close as you can get) pieces.

Now roll each piece of dough, one at a time, out into a rectangle. You want the width to be about the length of your bread pan. Don't roll it too thin. You want it about 1/3" thick, and much longer than it is wide. Rub the rectangle with 1/4 of the milk and sprinkle with one of the little bowl fulls for cinnamon sugar.

Now roll it up tightly, starting at the shorter end. Use some of the milk to help pinch and seal the seam and both ends. Place the loaf,seam side down, into a pan and repeat that process with the remaining 2 thirds of dough. You should end up with something that looks like this.

Brush the tops of the loaves with the melted butter. Cover and return to the warm oven to rise for a second time, again until doubled. Remove the towel and, leaving the pans in the oven, preheat it to 350 degrees F.

Now bake your loaves for approximately 30 minutes. You want them to be nice and brown but not burnt. The finished loaves should sound hollow when lightly tapped.

Remove from pans and place on cooling racks. Do not slice until completely cool.

NOTE: This recipe is an adaptation of "World's Best Cinnamon Raisin Bread" found on Recipezaar. In this inital batch I used 1 cup sugar and 3 Tbs. cinnamon, for the filling, like the original recipe shows, but I feel that is too much and I will use half that amount in future batches. This is supposed to be cinnamon bread...not cinnamon rolls. Having so much sugar in there made it hard to roll the dough tight enough. Mine tended to want to come apart. It's still good, though, and it'll be even better next time.

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