Saturday, December 11, 2010

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Hello everyone! I've been MIA for the past few days or 2 weeks (I think?) because I've been busy studying for finals and finishing last minute projects, etc. But I'm back because it's finally winter break for students on the UC system! Yay!!! :) Anyways, the holiday season is coming up and it's time to bake cookies and cakes and desserts! Time to gain weight? haha :)

So, I've been thinking of something with a cinnamon-y flavor because what represents the holidays better than something warm like good old cinnamon? And I was planning on making gingerbread cookies because I always make them during Christmas time...yup, I still like decorating my gingerbread people! haha :) But, when I stumbled across a blogger's recipe for Cinnamon Raisin Bread, I knew I had to give that a try! As you guys may know...I LOVE bread, absolutely adore it! And Cinnamon Raisin Bread is definitely on top of my favorite breads' list. But I'm pretty picky about this type of bread because it's hard to find a cinnamon bread that has the perfect balance of flavor, cinnamon, sweetness, and raisins in the grocery store and bakeries for a matter of fact. And, I feel like Cinnamon Raisin Bread needs to have a smooth texture, yet, it needs to be able to hold up for making French Toasts the next day.

I decided to go with Circle B Kitchen's recipe because she claimed to have a pretty perfected Cinnamon Raisin Bread recipe. And let me tell you, it's definitely a keeper (according to my family). Looks like I won't be looking at Cinnamon Raisin Breads in the bread aisle any longer. Anyways, hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family did :)

Cinnamon Raisin Bread
From Circle B Kitchen

2 ½ cups (11.25 oz) unbleached bread flour
1 ½ cups (6.75 oz) whole-wheat flour (I used whole wheat)
2 T (.6 oz) gluten flour (I eliminated this)
2 tablespoons (1 oz.) granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons (.38 oz.) salt
3 tablespoons (1 oz.) powdered milk
1 1/2 teaspoons (.17 oz.) instant yeast
2 tablespoons (1 oz.) shortening or unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ½+ cups (12 oz.) water, at room temperature (I used about 2 additional tbsp)
½ cup (+) raisins
1/3 cup sugar (I used brown sugar)
1 ½ tablespoons cinnamon

1. Whisk together the bread flour, whole-wheat flour, gluten, sugar, salt, powdered milk, and yeast in a 4-quart bowl of a standing mixer. With the machine running, add the shortening, and 1 ½ cups of the water. When fairly well mixed, slowly add the raisins and continue mixing on low speed until the ingredients form a ball. It should be fairly tacky. If not, add a little more water and continue mixing. It is better for it to be a little too soft that to be too stiff and tough. *I did this process without a stand mixer and it works perfectly fine.

2. Knead for another 10 minutes or so to make a firm, supple dough that is slightly tacky but not sticky. Create a ball with the dough, dragging it towards you against the counter to create surface tension. Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Ferment at room temperature for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size.

3. Combine the cinnamon and sugar. Remove the dough to a flat work surface and press it by hand into a rectangle about 8 inches wide, and 10 to 12 inches long. Sprinkle liberally with 3/4 of the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Roll up the length of the dough pinching the crease with each rotation to strengthen the surface tension. It will spread wider as you roll it.

Pinch the final seam closed with the back edge of your hand or with your thumbs. Place the loaf in a lightly oiled 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch bread pan; the ends of the loaf should touch the ends of the pan to ensure an even rise. Brush the top with melted butter and sprinkle with more cinnamon/sugar. Loosely cover with plastic wrap.

4. Proof at room temperature for approximately 60 to 90 minutes, or until the dough crests above the lip of the pan. *Mine rose up less because I used a 9in loaf pan.

5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees with the oven rack on the middle shelf.

6. Place the bread pan on a sheet pan and bake for 30 minutes. Rotate the pan 180 degrees for even baking and continue baking for 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the oven. The finished loaf should register 190 degrees in the center, be golden brown on the top and the sides, and sound hollow when thumped on the bottom.

7. When the bread is finished baking, remove it immediately from the loaf pan and cool it on a rack for at least 1 hour, preferably 2 hours. *I brushed it with some melted butter and honey for a glossy finish.

This recipe is not too sweet and it's really good. My crust came out dark in the picture, maybe because there's no more natural light right now :( I followed Faye's suggestion and brushed the loaf with a mixture of melted butter and honey and it gives it a nice finish and a slightly sweeter crust! Yum~! :)

PS. This is random, but is anyone going to Korea this summer? I'm thinking of studying abroad again this summer!


Faye said...

Girl, it's so beautiful! I bet it's yummy. Another suggestion when you make French Toast, stuff two slices with cream cheese before dipping into the custard mix.... believe me, it's so delicious!

Hyedong said...

oh~~ It looks delicioius~
I love bread...... yum yum :)

Michelle said...

Faye, Thank you :) Oohh~ I like stuffing cream cheese and strawberry preserves between my french toasts! Next time, I'll try with just cream cheese...sounds sooo good!! :)

Hyedong, Thank you :D 언니, 나두 빵 좋아~ ㅎㅎㅎ