02 November 2015

Eats: cinnamon raisin bread

A couple of weeks ago, Baby P’s daycare hosted a Grandparents’ Day for the families at the center. Amazingly, our kiddo was fortunate to have both sets of grandparents visit for the day, and (from what I can tell from photos, at least) it seems that a grand time was had by all! Especially, according to my stepdad, by Baby P, when it came to that morning’s snack in his classroom: raisin bread. “He loves raisin bread,” he told me. “You need to get him some raisin bread.”

At first I was all “yeah, yeah, ok, thanks” because Baby P loves a lot of foods. I didn’t need to make raisin bread in order for Baby P to have a breakfast he’d love. But my stepdad kept bringing up the raisin bread, and after enough mentions, dang it, I wanted raisin bread. And rather than linger awkwardly around Baby P’s classroom hoping to snag a slice, I decided I’d try to make it myself. So armed with this recipe, I did! And you can too!

First of all, you have to scald half a cup of milk, which is apparently important for bread recipes. No really, it is! SCIENCE! Basically you heat it just until it’s bubbling, then let it cool back down before adding to the dough. I took pictures that just looked like milk in a pan, so I think you can manage this without an illustration.

You also need to dissolve yeast – a whole packet, or just over two teaspoons if you get it from a jar – in 1/3 cup warm water. The source is very specific about temperature and timing, but I’m pretty sure you can just do warm water, five or ten minutes, done.

Next up: an egg, 1/4 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup softened butter, a bit of salt, and 1/3 cup raisins, stirred into the milk and yeast. Make sure it’s not too cold, or the butter will congeal too much, but not too hot, or the egg will cook!

It’s ok if the butter is still a bit chunky. It’ll get broken up in time!

Next is the flour. You ultimately need 2 2/3 cup, which I added half at a time and mixed with the dough hook attachment on my mixer after each addition.

And then, the raisins. You can add them earlier. I just forgot.

(Forgot to add raisins to cinnamon raisin bread? Yeah, I know.)

Because I am a pretty pretty princess, I elected to let my Kitchenaid knead the dough for me. I let it go on low speed for about five minutes, until the dough seemed stretchy but soft. Then I sprayed the whole bowl down with buttery cooking spray, turning the dough to make sure it was greased up too. I covered it all with a towel and stuck it in the warm sunny bay window in our kitchen to rise.

An hour and a half later (this is the sort of recipe that takes commitment!) I pressed the dough out into a 1/2” thick rectangle on wax paper. I would’ve used parchment if I’d noticed I had only four inches on the roll. Ugh, whatever, annoying past self.

Note that I made sure one end of my rectangle was approximately the same size as my bread pan. If you’re making multiple loaves at once (the source was originally written for three loaves, actually) you might not bother to plan ahead like that, but if you’re just making the one, then go ahead and overthink it like me!

Now here’s where I skipped a step. You’re supposed to moisten the dough with two tablespoons of milk, but I spaced and skipped right to adding sugar and cinnamon to the top of the bread. It might’ve been better with the milk, but it worked okay without it.

I also didn’t measure the tablespoon of cinnamon – I just sprinkled it on till it looked good – and I cut the sugar back from 1/3 cup to 1/4 cup, because I didn’t want to make it crazy sweet. In the end, my filling wasn’t as generous as that in other photos, but it tasted okay, so feel free to adjust to your liking.

When you’ve spread your sugar and cinnamon, roll the dough up...

And pinch the edges and ends to seal as best as possible. Then grease up the pan, add the loaf, and grease that up too.

Seriously, I should’ve gotten Crisco to sponsor this post for all the butter-flavored aerosol I sprayed everywhere to make this.

Once the dough is in the pan, you... leave it uncovered and wait for it to rise again. I know! Breads are hard! Look at it this way, this is a good time to finally pass along a sugar-covered raisin to that tiny roommate weaving around your legs.

It’s like he knew what was going on up there. All in good time, little guy!

Another hour later, the dough was finally finally ready to bake. Thanks, yeast. Thanks, SCIENCE!

Bake the loaf in a preheated 350-degree oven. Mine took 40 minutes, though it started smelling insanely delicious less than halfway in. It’s not burning, promise!

Once it’s out, I immediately rubbed the top of the loaf with butter (rather than melting the butter separately).

Also, I used two tablespoons of butter, which apparently was the amount for three loaves, not just one. Oh well. As you might imagine, it’s just extra delicious!

Once it’s cooled for about twenty minutes, it can be taken out of the pan, cooled completely, and carried around the apartment to show your spouse while announcing “LOOK WHAT I DID. ISN’T IT PRETTY.”

Even on the inside! Not as filling-rich as some other recipes, but like I said, feel free to pile it on and make it a bit more cinnamon-roll than raisin bread.

As for how it tasted? Buttery and rich and delicious! The texture is fluffy yet also still somehow dense, and because I cut back on the sugar, it feels more like a true bread than a dessert. Not that I’m above eating dessert for breakfast, but if I’m going to offer it to my kid, I could at least make an effort to cut back, you know? And as it’s a true bread, I can feel slightly less guilty about smearing it with peanut butter, nutella, or cream cheese. Mmmm!

In the end, I’m glad that Baby P’s center serves him cinnamon raisin bread, because as delicious as this is, it takes quite a bit of time to make it. But when the mood strikes, now I know I can! Enjoy!


Tina said...

Dang. I was scrolling down, reading fast, just knowing I was going to be rewarded with another photo of your little taste tester at the end. Phooey. Enjoyed your post nonetheless... and hope Baby P really enjoyed his raisin bread!