Cinnamon Raisin Bread
The last few weeks have been crazy town for me. I took a quick weekend trip to San Francisco to run a half marathon (promptly followed by In-N-Out), friends have been visiting Seattle, and I've had a lot of family obligations on the weekends. Needless to say, all of these activities have taken me away from my kitchen and my oven. But I'm back!!
The next two weeks will be a slight calm before the storm because at the end of the month I'm baking for my niece's third birthday party and a friend's wedding cake. I've been dreaming up these two cakes for the awhile now. I'm super excited to share them, be sure to follow along!
Springtime officially began in Seattle this past week. The cherry blossoms on The Quad at the University of Washington, my alma mater, started blooming and have always signified the unofficial start to spring. I'm dreaming of Easter meals, colored eggs, pastel everything, tender spring vegetables and fruits (asparagus and rhubarb!), and long meals while the rain falls.
This weekend I finally carved out some time to bake Cinnamon Raisin Bread. This dough is eggy, light and filled with pockets of cinnamon sweetness. Baking bread is my ideal way to relax on a Sunday afternoon while I anticipate the week ahead - it's the type of therapy I can get behind. This recipe is very easy but does require a fair amount of time for its multiple risings. Start it in the morning and by mid afternoon your kitchen will smell heavenly. This recipe makes two loaves, so eat one immediately and make French Toast with the leftover on the next day, you won't be disappointed.
Of course, the day after I baked it, I came home to find that Rye, my 60 pound Springer Spaniel had jumped onto the counter and ran away with my second loaf. Needless to say, he didn't get dinner that night.
Cinnamon Raisin Bread
Source: America's Test Kitchen
Makes two loaves
Raisins can be omitted if you're not into them. One diced apple can be substituted for the raisins to turn this bread into the best Apple Cinnamon Bread.
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
3-3/4 cups (20-2/3 ounces) bread flour, plus extra for dusting
3/4 cup (2-3/4 ounces) nonfat dry milk powder
1/3 cup (2-1/3 ounces) sugar
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1-1/2 cups (12 ounces) water
1 large egg
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1-1/2 cups (7-1/2 ounces) raisins or 1 apple, diced small (both optional)
1 large egg
A pinch of salt
1 cup (4 ounces) confectioners’ sugar
3 tablespoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
- Cut a stick of butter into 32 small pieces and mix with 1 tablespoon of flour to evenly coat. Lightly beat 1 egg using a fork. Measure 12 ounces of water and heat in microwave for 1m20s until it reaches 110-degrees.
- Add bread flour, powdered milk, sugar and yeast to bowl of standing mixer. Using the dough hook, turn only lowest speed while slowly adding water and egg. Increase to medium-low and mix for 2 more minutes; scrape down the sides of the bowl if needed. Tightly cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 20 minutes before adding salt.
- After 20 minutes has passed, add salt and mix for 10 minutes on medium-low. Allow the mixer to continue to run while slowly adding the small cubes of butter; mixing for 5 more minutes until the butter becomes incorporated into the dough. Add the raisins or apple if using and mix for 1 more minute. Spray a large bowl with non-stick cooking spray, and empty the dough into bowl.
- With a rubber spatula, lift one edge of the dough and fold it over onto itself (towards the middle of the bowl). Rotate bowl 90-degrees and fold again. Continue rotating and folding a total of 8 times.
- Set an oven rack to the middle of your oven, and put a loaf pan on the bottom of a turned-off oven. Cover dough with plastic wrap and place on middle rack of your turned-off oven. Pour 3 cups of boiling water into the pan placed on the bottom of your oven. Allow to rise with the oven door closed for 45 minutes.
- Remove dough from oven, and gently deflate the dough by pushing down in the center. Repeat the fold/rotate from earlier. Again, cover dough with plastic wrap and place on middle rack of your turned-off oven. Allow to rise with the oven door closed for 45 minutes.
- Meanwhile, whisk together the filling ingredients, and set aside. Grease two loaf pans.
- Lightly flour a work surface, and empty dough onto it. Use a bench scraper to evenly divide into 2 parts. One piece of dough at a time, work dough into a 6″x11″ rectangle. Fold dough up like a letter, to form a 3″x11″ rectangle. Roll dough up into a ball, dust with flour, then use a rolling-pin to form a 7″x18″ rectangle; it should be 1/4″ thick.
- Use a spray bottle to lightly spray the dough with water. Evenly cover the dough with half the filling, but leave 1/4″ border on the 18″ sides and 3/4″ on the 7″ top/bottom. Again, lightly spray with water. Roll the dough very tightly into an 7″ cylinder, pinch the seam closed, and pinch the ends closed too. Lightly dust entire surface with flour and allow to rest of 10 minutes, covered with greased plastic wrap. Repeat with second loaf.
- Again working with one loaf at a time, cut the dough in half lengthwise. With the cut-side upward, stretch both halves until they are 14″ long. Place the two halves next to each other; pinch an end together and tightly braid the two strips together, maintaining the cut-side upward. Pinch the final end together, and place in loaf pan with cut-side up. The raisins that are exposed need to be pushed into the seams of the braid. Repeat with second loaf.
- Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise in turned-off oven for 45 more minutes. Remove loaves and pan of water from the oven, and preheat to 350 degrees. Allow the loaves to continue to rise for another 45 minutes until the tops rise 1″ above the pan’s lip.
- Lightly beat an egg with a pinch of salt. Brush the top of the loaves with egg wash and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Tent each loaf with aluminum foil and reduce oven to 325 degrees. Bake for about 20 minutes more until the internal temperature of the loaf reaches 200 degrees.
- Allow pans to cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes before removing from loaves. Allow loaves to cool another 2 hours before slicing. Wrap well after cool to keep bread fresh.