10:47 PM

Cinnamon Swirl Raisin Bread

Imagine this: every morning, you wake up in bed and smell that freshly baked loaf of bread.
Oh wait, I think I might have to move above a bakery for that.

I've never really had much luck when it comes to bread. All sorts of problems arise: they don't rise, they are too dry, etc.

But I'm not discouraged. In fact it made me all the more determined to get it right.
And I think I might have found my saviour in this recipe.

Cinnamon Swirl Raisin Bread
Makes one 1/2 pound loaf
recipe on page 147 of The Bread Baker’s Apprentice by Peter Reinhardt.

For the dough:

226g unbleached bread flour
2 tsp sugar
a scant 3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp instant yeast
1 1/8 tsp cinnamon
less than 1 egg, slightly beaten / .825 ounces
1 tbsp shortening, melted or at room temperature
1/4 cup (60ml) buttermilk at room temperature
1/4 cup (60ml) plus 2 tbsp water, at room temperature
3/4 cup raisins - rinsed and drained

For the cinnamon swirl:

40g sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon

1. Stir together the flour, sugar, salt, yeast and cinnamon in a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer. Add the egg, shortening, buttermilk, and water.
2. Stir together with a wooden spoon or the paddle attachment until the ingredients come together and form a ball. Adjust with flour or water if the dough seems too sticky or too dry and stiff. (I'm no expert, but I think it's better if you start with a drier dough, then slowly work in water bit by bit)
3. Sprinkle flour on the counter, transfer the dough to the counter and begin kneading (or mixing on medium speed, switching to the dough hook). The dough should be soft and pliable, tacky but not sticky. Add flour as you knead (or mix), if necessary, to achieve this texture. Knead by hand for approximately 10 minutes (or by machine for 6 - 8 minutes). The dough should pass the window pane test.
4. Once it passes the test, knead in the raisins by hand to ensure even distribution. Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

3. Proof at room temperature for approximately 2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size. This only took about 1.5 hour for me.

4. Pat the dough into a 5 inch wide by 8 inch long rectangle about 1/3 inch thick. Sprinkle a generous amount of cinnamon sugar over the dough. Then working from the short side of the dough, roll up the length of the dough one section at a time, pinching the crease with each rotation to strengthen the surface tension. The loaf will spread out as you roll it up, eventually extending to a full 8-9 inches long. Pinch the final seam closed with your thumbs. Rock the loaf around to even it out and push the ends in so that they are not tapered. Keep the surface of the loaf even across the top. Place the loaf in a lightly oiled 8 1/2 - 4 1/2 inch pan, mist the top with cooking spray and cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel.

5. Proof for 60 - 90 minutes or until the dough crests above the lips of the pan and is nearly doubled in size.
6. Preheat oven to 350F. Once the loaf is proofed, place loaf pan on a rack in the middle of the oven. Bake the loaf for 20 minutes, then rotate the pan 180 degrees and bake for another 20-30 minutes. The finished bread should register at 190F in the center and be golden brown on the top. It should make a hollow sound when thumped on the bottom.
7. Immediately remove from the pan. If desired, spread 1 tbsp of melted butter on the top and sprinkle some more cinnamon sugar to create a sugary crust.

8. Cool for at least 1 hour before slicing or serving.