Ooooh, cinnamon raisin bread….

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

There are few things more tasty than cinnamon raisin bread, in my opinion. Cinnamony, doughy things are my favorite treats; I’ll take a cinnamon roll over chocolate cake pretty much any day of the week. This recipe is one I sort of cobbled together from a bunch of different recipes in order to make it work with what I had on hand. It’s lovely toasted and slathered with butter.

For two loaves, you’ll need:
1/2 c milk
2 T white sugar
2 T brown sugar
2 t salt
3 T butter
2 pkgs of active dry yeast (or 4 1/2 tsp for those of you who have it in bulk)
1 1/2 c warm water
3 c whole wheat flour
2-3 c regular AP flour

First, in a small saucepan over medium heat, warm milk, sugars, salt and butter until the butter is nearly melted. Once it’s cooled to around 100 degrees (or when you can safely keep your hand on the bottom of the pan for several seconds), add it to the yeast in a big bowl, along with the water. Allow to sit for 10 minutes so the yeast can ferment. I let it sit for five because I am notoriously impatient.

Once that’s done, add your wheat flour, stirring with a wooden spoon to work it in. Add 2 c of white flour, stirring. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead a good 6-8 minutes, working in more white flour if necessary. Kneading gives your bread structure in the baking process.

Pop into an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit until doubled, 45-90 minutes depending on how warm the space is. In the meantime, mix together 2/3 c sugar, 3 T cinnamon, and 2/3 c raisins (I added more, but I like raisins).

Once the dough has doubled, punch it down, turn it out, and split in half. Roll each half into a rectangle, oh, about 12 inches by 8 inches, I’d guess. Sprinkle with half the cinnamon mixture, and tightly roll up. My outermost layer was not tight enough and thus I have big ol’ holes in my bread that are a little sketchy in the toaster.

Place rolled loaves in greased 9×5 inch loaf pans, cover with wrap, and let sit until doubled, about an hour, depending on the circumstances. Keep an eye on them; breads that over-rise can collapse due to a lack of internal structure and too much air. Interesting, isn’t it? I only know this because it happens to me all the time.

Heat your oven to 400 degrees and pop loaves in. Half an hour later, tap them to see if they’re done–they should sound hollow if they are–and CAREFULLY remove from the pans. This keeps the crust from over-browning. Let cool, if you can, and enjoy!


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