Sunday, September 18, 2011

Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread

I have actually been dying to make cinnamon raisin swirl bread for quite some time now. I had just been putting it off and putting it off yadda yadda so FINALLY I made it. Sure it's good. But is it - get this loaf in my stomach now - good? probably not. But then again, it's like fancy toast, not like moist fudge-in-stuff bread (sounds good though, right?) Making bread is honestly one of the most satisfying things to make. Its a time consuming process but just watching the bread rise is so fulfilling. So I get amped about risen bread dough, so what? No honestly though its actually cool. It actually doubles in size! aaand if I don't eat it quickly enough, I can make homemade homemade french toast. I get to add that extra "homemade" cause I didn't purchase my bread via the bread isle. Well yes I did, but I didn't make french toast with it.

I used a recipe from my favorite baking cookbook "the Martha Stewart Baking Handbook" which my dad and step mom gave me for my 14th birthday. It was my first very own cookbook and I use it constantly. I basically trust every recipe in that cookbook (minus the strawberry buttercream. it like actually sucks don't make it.) So if you are gonna buy a cookbook about baking, Baking Handbook is the one. cause it's just so handy!

I actually have to change some things around though because cutting it in half kinda fudged the consistency a bit. So basically I could just take cred for this bad boy but no one would believe that I pulled a recipe like this out of thin air so.....

 (note I cut the recipe in half because I only had one loaf pan and also zero need for two loaves of cinnamon raisin bread)
2 teaspoons active dry yeast (which is a half a packet - this took some time to figure out...)
1 cup warm milk (I did I minute but its a mixed bag really)
4 cups all purpose flour
4 tablespoons of unsalted butter 
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 1/4 teaspoon salt 
3/4 cup raisins (Martha say's less but I couldn't resist) 
1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon 
vegetable oil to grease the bowl and plastic wrap (or if your ghetto like me a large plastic bag because I keep forgetting to get plastic wrap at the grocery store)

3/4 cup sugar
1 egg ( I would say a half but that's so just use what you need and ditch the rest) 

1. the dough: whisk the warm milk and the yeast together in a large bowl. Then add all of the other dough ingredients and blend with an electric mixture until all of the ingredients look well combined (about 3 minutes) and then continue to blend until the dough forms a uniform ball (or something like it) so about 6 or so minutes more - I realized that using a hand held mixer for this actually sucks. It just isn't the same. Unfortunately I don't have 400 hunded plus to blow on a swanky kitchenaid though so I just had to make do!

2. Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface and gradually need in the raisins and cinnamon until they are combined and well distributed. Place the dough ball into a greased bowl and cover with greased plastic wrap (or, in my case, a plastic bag) and leave in a warm place for about an hour. THIS IS WHERE IT DOUBLES IN SIZE. so exciting. my favorite part. (I like the microwave, if it hasn't been used recently. probably cause papa bear bruns puts it there)

3. This part I'm just gonna tell you exactly what Martha says, cause I have no idea if I actually did this part correctly...."Return the dough to a lightly floured work surface, and pat into a round. Fold in the following manner: Fold the bottom third of the dough up, the top third down, and the right and left sides over, tapping the dough after each fold to release excess flour, and pressing down to seal. Return the dough to the bowl, seam side down."

aight back to the reel cook...
before the rise
4. Return the dough to that flour work area (which I have actually yet to clean. sorry Courtney) and roll it out into a large rectangle. (i'm not gonna get into measurements cause honestly, who's counting?) Fold 2 sides of the rectangle about an inch deep. Cover the dough with a light layer of the egg wash (I didn't have a pastry brush so guess what? I used my hand) Then sprankle the cinnamon sugar blend all over.

after the rise
5. Roll the dough into a log and press in the sides so that it fits nicely into your loaf pan, making to to liberally cover the pan in vegetable oil so the loaf actually comes out once it has been baked! (mines sooo crappy. its an investment clearly and I didn't make it.)

6. Then let it rise again! (and don't forget to cover it in plastic) During this time you can begin to preheat your oven to 425.

 7. FINALLY you can pop that sucker in the oven and let it bake for 20 minutes. Then loosely cover it in tin foil and rotate the pan so it bakes evenly and the top doesn't burn.
After the bake

8. When the bread is finished let it sit for a while before slicing in. (but apparently you don't have to wait for this particular bread. however I've been told to never do that with bread so I decided to wait it out)

could I have given you any more angles? yes, I actually could have.

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