After my cheesecake-brownie happening, I was determined to find something better to my liking and so I looked to Dorie. As I was flipping through the pages, I came upon Raisin Swirl Bread, which I’ve been meaning to make for a while for the kids. The kids love raisin bread but it comes from Pepperidge Farm, containing corn syrup and tons of other not-good-stuff for young’uns (or anyone at that). I would take out a slice for myself and sit down, following with running steps that would come snatch some bits from me and run off again. I don’t think I’ve had a full slice in their presence!
I never got around to it and I was reading the directions and procedures. Calculating all the time for rising, baking, and making, it didn’t seem like I would have enough time that day. I looked through the cookie section and wasn’t feeling it. I went back to the bread, and thought, “Julie would find time to do this” so I started re-arranging my schedule and decided to stay up at night making it. It’s not like I had been sleeping before 2 am for the past couple weeks.
I stayed up till about 3 am that night, taking quick short naps between rising. I loved making it and the house smelled absolutely wonddderful. As for the end results, I wish there had been more swirl instead of just one swirl. And the bread is so much more better toasted.
Cinnamon Swirl Raisin Bread (by Dorie Greenspan)
For the Bread
1 packet active dry yeast
1/4 c sugar, + a pinch
1 1/4 c whole milk, luke warm
1/2 stick (4tbs) unsalted butter
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
grated zest of 1/2 orange (optional)
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
3 3/4 to 4 c all-purpose flour
For the Swirl
1 tbs sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup moist, plump raisins, dark or golden
3 tbs unsalted butter, softened to spreadable consistency
Making the Bread:
In a small bowl, mix together the yeast, pinch of sugar, and 1/4 cup milk. Let it rest for 3 min and then stir. All of the yeast probably hasn’t dissolved or bubbled but should be soft.
In a large bowl, combine the remaining 1 cup milk, butter and sugar with an electrical mixer for 1-2 min. Add the salt, egg, vanilla, zest and nutmeg. The mixture will look curdled and unpleasant but it’s okay. Mix in the yeast mixture.
With the mixer off, add in 2 3/4 cup flour. Mix on low speed until the flour has absorbed the liquid. The mixture will be sticky. If you have a dough hook, switch to it now. Otherwise you can work with your hands is it’s not to hot that day. Add in 1 cup of flour and mix until the sides come clean. If not, add in 1/4 cup flour in 1 tbs at a time. If your doing this by hand, you will have to kneed the dough for about 5 min to come to the same consistency. Butter the bowl and cover the dough in it with plastic wrap. Store in a warm area and let it rise for 1 1/2 hours.
Once the size has doubled, wrap the dough in plastic wrap and store in the freezer for 30 min until the dough is firm enough to work with. If you’re going to use the dough for a later time, you can refrigerate in overnight instead.
To Make the Swirl and Shape of the Bread
Butter a 9X5 in bread pan.
Whisk together the sugar, cocoa and cinnamon. If the raisins aren’t moist and plump, steam them for a min and pat the dry. (I used Sun-maid raisins so they were already plump)
Remove the dough from the freezer and place on a lightly floured surface and roll out to 12X8 rectangle. Smear 2 tbs of butter on the surface. Sprinkle the sugar-cinnamon-cocoa mixture over it (I used a sifter/tea strainer to evenly distribute this). Scatter over the raisin. Now starting from the short side of the dough, roll the dough jelly-roll style snugly. Tuck in the sides and place the dough seam-side down in the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place for 45 min.
Preheat the over to 375. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the remaining tablespoon of butter on the top of the dough. Put the bread pan on the baking sheet and put in the oven to bake for 20 min. Make a foil tent and cover the bread lightly and bake for about another 25 min, until golden brown and sounds hollow when you tap the bottom of the bread. When the bread is done, let it cool for 5 min and then unmold and invert the bread onto a cooling rack, right side up.
It seems like a long complicated process but it’s pretty simple but just long because you have to wait for the bread to rise and all but that’s how yeast breads are. Just keep busy in the times between.