Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread
While I haven’t taken a break from blogging recently today is my first day back at work in about two weeks. Working at a university I sometimes forget that the overwhelming majority of people don’t get so much time off at the end of each year. When I was a student my parents would ask what I wanted to do over winter break and I would firmly state, “nothing”. And I kept my word. I was very good about having a wholly unproductive and enjoyable two week vacation.
Nowadays things are different. It is a great time to spend all day trying out new recipes, stocking up the freezer, and going with friends to SkyZone, an indoor trampoline park in nearby Canton (where I can finally dunk on a 10 ft. hoop). The extra time gave me the opportunity to make more involved breakfasts and this bread was a part of several of those. Given the sugar content though a piece can just as easily function as a dessert.
This recipe comes from Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice which was the first bread book I purchased almost four years ago (and yes, I’ve had the page with this bread tabbed since then intending to make it). The base dough isn’t inherently very sugary but there are a lot of opportunities for you to go crazy. The first is the cinnamon sugar swirl in the middle. Before rolling up the dough to shape into a loaf you can sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top, which then gets spiraled nicely in the finished loaf.
And if you’re really craving something sweet you can brush the top of the just baked loaf with a bit of butter and then sprinkle with more cinnamon sugar. But it has raisins in it, so it’s healthy, right?! As much as I enjoyed this loaf I don’t intend to make it all that frequently, it is not the kind of thing you want to have lots of waiting to be eaten. If you somehow manage to not eat it all right away, I bet this would make some great french toast.
I highly recommend having this toasted. The cinnamon sugar swirl in the middle gets deliciously warm and the outer bits of sugar crisp up a bit and add a nice crunch. The dough also toasts really well and turns that perfect golden brown color pretty quickly. Enjoy!
- 3½ C bread flour (16 oz, 100%)
- 4 tsp + ½ C sugar (30%)
- 1¼ tsp salt (.3 oz, 2%)
- 2 tsp instant yeast (.22 oz, 1%)
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 2 Tbsp butter, melted (1 oz, 6%)
- ½ C milk (4 oz, 25%)
- ¾ C water (6 oz, 38%)
- 1½ C raisins (9 oz, 56%)
- 1¼ tsp + 2 Tbsp ground cinnamon, divided (2.5%)
- In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl if you plan to mix by hand) combine bread flour, 4 t sugar, salt, yeast, and 1¼ t cinnamon.
- In a separate medium bowl combine egg, butter, milk and water and mix well. Turn stand mixer to medium speed and add in liquid ingredients.
- Knead for 5-6 minutes, (or 8-10 by hand) until the dough is smooth and clears the sides of the bowl. Add the raisins in the last minute or two.
- Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled, about 90 minutes.
- Butter and flour two 8x4 inch (9x5 inch is ok too) loaf pans and set aside. When ready turn dough out on to a lightly floured surface and divide into two equal pieces. Pat each piece out to a 6x8 inch rectangle.
- Mix the remaining ½ C sugar and 2 T cinnamon. Spread approximately 2 T of the mixture over each piece of dough. Working from the short side, roll up the dough pieces to form loaves. Pinch the seam closed when you finish rolling up the loaf.
- Place seam side down in the prepared loaf pans. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise until the dough crests the top of the pan, about 90 minutes.
- While rising preheat the oven to 350 F. When ready place the loaves in the preheated oven. Bake for 20 minutes, then rotate to ensure even baking. Bake another 20 minutes. The tops of the loaves should be dark brown. Bake another 5-10 minutes if necessary.
- Brush the warm loaves with melted butter and spread another tablespoon of the cinnamon sugar mixture on each loaf. Let cool 2 hours before slicing.