Cook.Bake.Eat.Write.

Oh-My-Goodness-Cinnamon-Raisin-Swirl Bread

Posted on: September 13, 2009

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So I was supposed to go camping this weekend…but instead, I baked bread! (^_^)

It’s a cinnamon-sugar-raisin swirly loaf of bread goodness. It’s amazing. It’s gorgeous. It’s—it’s—maybe one the most beautiful breads I have ever baked.

It was such joy to make (mostly because it worked out). And I have the Two Fat Als to thank for the recipe. (They have such a beautiful site—an altogether inspirational culinary experience.) Their method is pretty basic, and they’ve also adjusted the recipe for (temporarily) stand-mixer impaired people like myself.

The science behind the baking fascinates me. I am in awe of the entire process—watching the yeast come to life and bubble and foam, working the dough, letting it proof and witnessing it transform into an edible miracle, a culinary work of art.

And along with this awe comes fear—fear because you never know if it’s going work out. Is the yeast too old, the air too cold/too dry? Is the dough too dry? And the question of all questions—will it rise? I suppose this is all a part of what makes baking so exciting. You never know if it will turn out—when it doesn’t, it is a sad, sad thing. But when it does, the pride you feel of having transformed the plain and ordinary (flour, eggs and water) into something so beautiful is indescribable.

That’s how I feel about this bread. It was a mother of a dough to work with. I worried, I self-doubted and I even thought about scrapping the whole project. But I refused to give up and just kept on kneading (for about 20 min.) until the dough finally came together. The rest was easy.

Oh, it was so pretty when it came out of the oven—a golden dome of crust masking the secret swirl beneath. And the smell of it—it enveloped the whole apartment in a cloud of cinnamon and sugar perfume.

I waited until morning to slice and taste test. (It seems odd to get such delight from slicing bread, but I do. (^o^”) ) It’s fluffy, light, mildly sweet and cinnamon-sugar-infused throughout. It makes me so happy just thinking about it!!

Enjoy!

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Oh-My-Goodness-Cinnamon-Raisin-Swirl Bread (adapted from the recipe from Two Fat Als)

INGREDIENTS

Dough:

1/2 cup milk

4 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1 package dry active yeast (2 1/4 tsp)

1/2 cup warm water

1/3 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1 1/2 tsp salt

3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra

Filling & Glaze:

1/4 cup sugar

5 tsp ground cinnamon

3/4 cup raisins

milk for brushing

1 large egg

2 tsp milk

INSTRUCTIONS

1. For the dough: Heat milk and butter together in a small saucepan until butter melts. Cool to lukewarm.

2. Meanwhile, sprinkle yeast over warm water in a large bowl. Using a wooden spoon, stir slowly in a circular motion while adding sugar, eggs, salt and lukewarm milk mixture.

3. Continue stirring a bit more quickly, and add 2 cups of flour until mixed thoroughly, then add remaining 1 1/4 cups flour until mixed through. Add more flour if dough seems extremely sticky.

4. Remove dough from bowl, and knead on a floured surface for about 10 minutes, adding more flour as necessary, until dough is smooth and elastic. Place in covered, greased bowl to rise for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, until doubled in size.

5. Once risen, punch dough down once in the center, and let rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, mix cinnamon and sugar together for filling, and grease 9×5 inch loaf pan.

6. Roll dough into an 8×18 inch rectangle, with the 8 inch side facing toward you.

7. Brush milk over dough, and sprinkle cinnamon-sugar mixture and then raisins over it, leaving a 1/2 inch edge on the side farthest away.

8.Beginning with the side closest to you, roll dough into a log shape, pressing ends together to make sure that it does not become more than 8 inches. Pinch dough ends together to form a tight seam, and push ends of dough toward the center. Pinch outside dough edges together to form a seal. Place the dough seam-side down into the loaf pan, and press down evenly. Let the dough rise more until it is about 1 inch above the edge of the pan (30-60 minutes).

9. Preheat oven to 350, and combine milk with egg. Before baking, brush this mixture over the top of the loaf. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown, and let cool for 45 minutes before serving.

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