Cinnamon Raisin Bread
I would have to call this my first success with a yeast bread. It's my second yeast bread ever (I'm not counting Claudia Roden ataïf because they didn't require much). And I consider this one a success despite the split seam on the top where the raisins are peaking through. The loaf rose properly, it baked up, turned brown and it's delicious. Besides, the cracking adds character, right? And I don't mind if my raisin bread is literally bursting with raisins! Raisin bread is a favorite around here, which is why it's been on the to-do list for a while. We've been known to plow through a loaf in one day, even if it is normally the store-bought kind. This bread smells so wonderful while it's baking up, I gave it less than 24 hours before it was gone and I was just about right.
This is another one from Baking from My Home to Yours, and although Dorrie suggests using it for French toast, or at least for toast, we just didn't have enough self-control to save it for breakfast. Now I'm really regretting that greedy move. Oh well, I'll just have to make it again!
Raisin Swirl Bread
For the Bread
1 packet active dry yeast
1/4 cup sugar, plus a pinch more
1 1/4 cups just barely warm while milk
1/2 stick butter, softened to room temperature
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Zest of 1/2 orange
Pinch of nutmet
3 3/4 to 4 cups flour
For the filling
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons cocoa powder (unsweetened)
1 cup moist raisins (steamed and dried if necessary)
3 tablespoons butter softened so it's spreadable.
Put the yeast in a small bowl, add a pinch of sugar and 1/4 cup of the warm milk, stir it together and let it rest for 3 minutes. It should soften.
In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, combine the rest of the 1 cup milk, the butter and the 1/4 cup sugar. Mix on low speed until combine, then add the salt, egg, vanilla, zest and nutmet and continue to stir on low for another minute. Add the yeast mixture and stir for one minute more.
With the mixer off, add 2 3/4 cups flour and begin mixing again on low speed until the flour is just worked in. Switch to the dough hook and with the mixer on speed setting 2 beat the dough for a few minutes. The dough should begin coming together off the sides of the bowl. If it doesn't add up to 1/4 cup flour on tablespoon at a time until it does. Kneed the dough for 3 minutes more until it is smooth and shiny. The dough should be very soft.
In a large buttered bowl, turn out the dough and cover tightly with cling wrap. In a warm place, allow the dough to double in size, about 1 1/2 hours. Once fully risen, turn the dough out onto a large piece of cling wrap and either refrigerate overnight,
or freeze for 30 minutes.
For the filling: Combine the sugar cinnamon and cocoa powder. Remove your dough from the refrigerator/freezer and on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough out to a 12/18 inch rectangle. Using your fingers, spread the butter on the bread, then sprinkle with the cinnamon/sugar mixture and finally spread the raisins in an even layer.
Butter a 9x5" loaf pan. Roll the dough snugly, beginning with a short end. Place the dough seam-side down in the loaf pan and tuck the ends under. Cover with a sheet of parchment or wax paper, put in a warm place and allow to rise for another 45 minutes or so.
Preheat the oven to 375. Once the dough is risen, brush the final tablespoon of melted butter over the top, place on a baking sheet and put on the center rack in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes, then place a piece of tinfoil over the loaf and continue to bake for about another 25 minutes.
Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack and bring to room temperature.
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