This is yet another quality recipe from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice by Peter Reinhardt. When I saw that our friend Stefanie at Hefe und mehr chose Sweet Breads as this months Bread Baking Day, I knew this was what I was going to make. The title of the recipe is pretty self explanatory. I believe that Reinhardt’s version also calls for walnuts, but I decided to leave them out this time.

This was my first attempt at a loaf bread and overall it was a success. As you would expect, it smelled amazing as it was baking - so comforting and homey. Nick and I made it together on a Sunday afternoon and it was the perfect way to end a nice relaxing weekend at home.

Follow up:

I ended up having to hand knead this most of the way because I was just not pleased with how it was progressing in the kitchen aid. Normally when hand kneading is necessary I call in the reinforcement that is Nick, however, I did most of the kneading myself and was quite proud. I also shaped the loaf on my own as well, with the help of the great picture tutorial in the book. Yay for me :)

It got over baked a bit so it was a tad dry, but it has a great crumb and was utterly delicious. Once it was sliced, a light toasting in the oven brought it totally back to life. I fully enjoyed my slices just plain toasted, but I have no doubt it would be even better with a pat of melted butter. In this recipe Reinhardt gives you some options and I chose to include a cinnamon swirl in the center as well add a cinnamon sugar crust after it baked. This bread was the perfect amount of sweet with the cinnamon swirl in the middle and a nice crunch from the sugary crust. I also loved how it was generously studded with raisins.

Cinnamon Swirl Raisin Bread
Makes one 1/2 pound loaf
recipe on page 147 of The Bread Baker’s Apprentice by Peter Reinhardt.

For the dough:

  • 1 3/4 cup / 8 ounces unbleached bread flour
  • 2 tsp / .33 ounces sugar
  • a scant 3/4 tsp / .15 ounces salt
  • 1 tsp / .11 ounces instant yeast
  • 1 1/8 tsp / .08 ounces cinnamon
  • less than 1 egg, slightly beaten / .825 ounces
  • 1 tbsp/ .5 ounce of lard or shortening, melted or at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk (I used low fat) / 2 ounces, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp / 3 ounces water, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup / 9 ounces raisins - rinsed and drained

For the cinnamon swirl:

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  1. Stir together the flour, sugar, salt, yeast and cinnamon in a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer. Add the egg, lard/shortening, buttermilk, and water. Stir together with a wooden spoon or the paddle attachment until the ingredients come together and form a ball. Adjust with flour or water if the dough seems too sticky or too dry and stiff.
  2. Sprinkle flour on the counter, transfer the dough to the counter and begin kneading (or mixing on medium speed, switching to the dough hook). The dough should be soft and pliable, tacky but not sticky. Add flour as you knead (or mix), if necessary, to achieve this texture. Knead by hand for approximately 10 minutes (or by machine for 6 - 8 minutes). The dough should pass the window pane test. Once it passes the test, knead in the raisins by hand to ensure even distribution. Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
  3. Ferment at room temperature for approximately 2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size. This only took about 1 hour for me.
  4. Pat the dough into a 5 inch wide by 8 inch long rectangle about 1/3 inch thick. Sprinkle a generous amount of cinnamon sugar over the dough. Then working from the short side of the dough, roll up the length of the dough one section at a time, pinching the crease with each rotation to strengthen the surface tension. The loaf will spread out as you roll it up, eventually extending to a full 8-9 inches long. Pinch the final seam closed with your thumbs. Rock the loaf around to even it out and push the ends in so that they are not tapered. Keep the surface of the loaf even across the top. Place the loaf in a lightly oiled 8 1/2 - 4 1/2 inch pan, mist the top with cooking spray and cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel.
  5. Proof for 60 - 90 minutes or until the dough crests above the lips of the pan and is nearly doubled in size.
  6. Preheat oven to 350F. Once the loaf is proofed, place loaf pan on a rack in the middle of the oven. Bake the loaf for 20 minutes, then rotate the pan 180 degrees and bake for another 20-30 minutes. The finished bread should register at 190F in the center and be golden brown on the top. It should make a hollow sound when thumped on the bottom.
  7. Immediately remove from the pan. If desired, spread 1 tbsp of melted butter on the top and sprinkle some more cinnamon sugar to create a sugary crust.
  8. Cool for at least 1 hour before slicing or serving. Good luck with that.

Ball of yummy dough:

After proofing for about an hour in a well oiled bowl:

Adding in the cinnamon swirl:

All rolled up and ready to be proofed and baked:

Fresh out of the oven with a crunch buttery cinnamon sugar crust:

and some superfluous pictures of the bread since I couldn’t decide which pictures to keep in the post. It just looks so good from every angle.

Make this soon and enjoy! And while you’re at it, go enjoy the other yeasty creations from the blogosphere this week over at Yeastspotting.