A couple weeks have gone by since I baked. With Ferrett out of town, it would have been rather a lot of bread for just me. Now that he was back, and we had friends coming over for dinner, bread sounded like a great deal.
Like all breads, the first few steps looked pretty much the same: flour, yeast, water, salt. As this is an enriched bread, buttermilk and an egg. Cinnamon. Knead. No reason to clog of the intarwebs with more pictures of that.
Things only got interesting when I had to add a cup and a half of raisins:
That’s a lot of raisins in a fairly small batch of dough. I used Sunkist tri-color raisins, and they were very pretty in the bread. But first I had to get them in the bread. So I started kneading.
The problem with kneading things like raisins into bread dough is that they tear up the gluten strands, which will negatively impact the rise of the dough. Therefore, it’s necessary to take a slow and patient approach to folding them in. Once the bulk of the raisins had been absorbed, about half a cup of escapees were still spread all over the counter. I began rolling the dough around like I was playing Katamari Damacy and giggling like a loon.
Once the dough was ready, the instructions were to let it rise about two hours or until doubled. The recipe also has no degassing, or punching down, phase. But I refrained from adding one and did as I was told.
“Doubled” is a little hard to eyeball at times. I understand why some people use a translucent plastic bucket with measurements: the dough goes only up, instead of outward, so it’s easier to see.
Next was forming loaves, and adding the cinnamon/sugar swirl. The recipe made two loaves, so I divided the bread and rolled each one out, then added the swirly, candy layer:
After that I rolled them as tightly as possible and put them into loaf pans to rise. Forgot to get a picture of them prior to rising, but here is one after:
Clearly, my “divide in half” skills need work.
The loaves took about 10 minutes longer than the recipe called for to get to what I considered “golden brown.”
And the real test of cinnamon bread is how little it gaps along the swirl when sliced:
Impressive looking, n’est pas? Alas, further in the loaf it was quite gappy.
So the real real test of cinnamon bread is how it tastes. And the verdict was delicious! The bread itself was tender and tasty, and deserves to be made again. Next time, however, I think I will try the Cook’s Illustrated method of braiding in the swirl. We’ll see how that goes.