Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Cinnamon Raisin Bread
To chase the odor, I made cinnamon raisin bread. Plus, I had promised some to DH who has given up cakes, candy and cookies for Lent, but not ice cream, hence creating what I refer to as the Lent loophole. Apparently dessert-type bread also falls into that category.
I found a recipe written on a scrap of paper labeled simply "bread." It looked promising, as it called for an egg and sorghum or honey, making it richer and sweeter than a traditional white loaf -- a perfect base for cinnamon and raisins.
Baking bread is pretty easy and the sense of accomplishment is far greater than the effort. It does take time to rise, but your attention is not required while it does, and punching down the inflated dough can be quite satisfying. It's perfect to make on a rainy day (yeast performs especially well in low pressure) and you almost can't screw it up -- bread is very forgiving.
Below is an illustrated guide. I've also added my adaptation of the recipe, at the end.
Proof the yeast: Let it sit in warm water for a few minutes until it comes alive, i.e., begins to bubble. The water temperature should be warm, not hot.
1 cup milk, scalded and cooled
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup sorghum or honey
1/2 to 1 cup raisins
1 cup warm water
2 packages yeast
1 tsp. sugar
About 6 cups flour
Mix first five ingredients in one bowl. Mix next three in a separate bowl and wait for yeast to bubble a bit. Combine ingredients from both bowls into one large bowl. Add enough flour to make dough. Knead nine minutes. Place in greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled. Knead again.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Divide dough in half and roll out each into a large rectangle. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon. Roll up, tucking in ends. Place into ungreased bread pans. Cover and let rise until doubled again. Brush with melted butter, optional.
Bake 15 minutes at 400, then lower oven to 350 and bake 40 minutes.