I was in a bread baking mood today so I decided to make this loaf of cinnamon-swirled goodness. It's a cross between raisin bread and cinnamon buns. The dough is leaner than a typical sweet dough recipe because it uses less butter and sugar, which I like because it makes eating one or two thick slices of this for breakfast a little more sensible. It's absolutely divine toasted and buttered up, or even better, spread with some cream cheese.
I kneaded the dough by hand since I'm not prepared to fry the motor of the electric mixer. It takes about 15 minutes to work in enough flour to develop the gluten in the dough. You can tell you're done kneading with the "windowpane test": take a small piece of dough and stretch it out. If you can stretch it into a thin, translucent "window" without the dough tearing, you're good to go. 15 minutes of kneading is a lengthy arm workout, but it's totally worth it.
The recipe makes two BIG loaves, but I made cinnamon buns with half of the dough. Those were consumed straight out of the oven. Unfortunately, no physical or photographic evidence remains.
Brown Sugar Raisin Bread:
1 Tbs. active dry yeast
3 Tbs. granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups warm water (105° to 115°F)
1 cup warm milk (105° to 115°F)
3 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
1 Tbs. salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
6 to 6 1/4 cups bread flour, plus more
3/4 cup golden raisins
3/4 cup dark raisins
For the filling:
2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
mixed with 4 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Directions:In a bowl, sprinkle the yeast and a pinch of the granulated sugar over 1⁄2 cup of the water and stir to dissolve. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, combine the remaining 3/4 cup water, the milk, butter, the remaining granulated sugar, salt, egg and 2 cups of the flour. Beat on medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Add the yeast mixture and 1⁄2 cup of the flour and beat for 1 minute. Add the raisins, then beat in the remaining flour, 1⁄2 cup at a time, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
Switch to the dough hook. Knead on medium-low speed, adding flour 1 Tbs. at a time if the dough sticks, until smooth and elastic, about 4 minutes. Transfer the dough to a greased deep bowl and turn to coat it. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, 1 to 1 1⁄2 hours.
Lightly grease two 9-by-5-inch loaf pans.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board. Divide the dough in half and roll or pat each half into an 8-by-12-inch rectangle. Lightly sprinkle each rectangle with half of the filling, leaving a 1-inch border on all sides. Beginning at a narrow end, tightly roll up each rectangle into a compact log. Pinch the ends and the long seam to seal in the filling. Place each log, seam side down, in a prepared pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until the dough is about 1 inch above the rim of each pan, 1 to 1 1⁄2 hours.
Preheat an oven to 350°F. Bake until the loaves are golden brown and pull away from the sides of the pan, 35 to 40 minutes. Turn the loaves out onto wire racks and let cool completely. Makes two 9-by-5-inch loaves.
Adapted from Williams Sonoma-Bread
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