Monday, October 12, 2009
Resplendent with Raisins
Lately, I have been hankering for cinnamon raisin bread. But I'm never really happy with the ones I get from the store. They're either too light and airy or too thick and dense.
I'm picky. I want a lot of things. I want something with just enough chew to support the additional weight of some walnuts. I also want raisins in every bite with a swirl of cinnamon sugar in the middle. But not too sweet. This is bread after all, not cake.
So after hunting around the net and the library, I settled on a near perfect recipe. It's from The Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart (culinary master of all things leavened and someone far more persnickety than me). The nice folks at google even provide a free copy of the recipe. It's a pretty straight forward recipe that makes two loaves, one to eat right away and one to freeze for later. Yarn Widower likes his with peanut butter. I like mine toasted and slathered in butter.
I don't recommend using a standing mixer. Even with the proper dough hook, I don't think the bread gets kneaded all that well. Kneading by hand is a good deal of effort but it's effort well spent. Bread dough is a deliciously tactile thing, especially towards the end when the dough is silky smooth and studded with raisins and walnuts. Even though I have yet to obtain the "windowpane" test, the loaves end up looking, smelling and tasting wonderful. So I wouldn't worry too much if yours doesn't stretch paper thin. I know that the bran in whole wheat can interfere with the formation of gluten and I wonder if cinnamon can do the same.
Regardless, this is one great cinnamon bread. Try it!