Friday, 10 July 2009

Cinnamon Raisin Bread: BBA Challenge

For Day 9 of the BBA Challenge, we made Cinnamon Raisin Walnut Bread. Oh boy! Is this bread good! And, it's relatively easy to prepare! The only problem with this bread is that my taste tester and I cannot decide which cinnamon bread we like better - this one or the no knead version. I think it's a tie! Both breads are great!

This cinnamon bread can be made in an evening. In fact, I started the dough after work, set it out for the first rise, made dinner, then walked on my favorite trail for an hour, came back and shaped the loaves and let them sit for the second rise, then baked them the same night. Granted, it was a little late when I finished and went to bed, but it was worth it. I had a delicious piece of cinnamon toast for breakfast the next morning! Yummy!!!

Peter Reinhart recommends a couple of substitutions to add additional flavor to this bread. I tried them and recommend them as well. It's worth the little bit of extra time & effort it takes to roll the dough out (instead of shaping in into a loaf), and then sprinkle it with cinnamon sugar before baking. Once it's done baking, you can brush the top of the loaf with butter and add additional cinnamon sugar on top. Mmmmm...

Let's get started baking.

If you're baking along with us, turn to page 147 in the Bread Baker's Apprentice to locate the recipe and list of ingredients.

Cinnamon Raisin Walnut Bread

Mixing the dough:

Make sure you have all of your ingredients together. Stir together the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add the egg, shortening, buttermilk, and water. Mix with a large spoon until all the ingredients come together and form a ball.

Kneading the Dough:

Transfer the dough to a counter sprinkled with flour. Begin kneading. The dough should be soft and pliable, tacky but not sticky. If necessary, add a little flour to achieve this consistency.

Sprinkle in the raisins and walnuts during the final minutes of kneading. You want to distribute them evenly without crushing them too much.  Keep kneading in the raisins and walnuts until they are thoroughly incorporated into the dough.

1st Rise:

Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough. Roll it around to coat it with oil.

Cover the bowl with plastic and let the dough ferment for about 2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size.

Shaping the loaves:

Divide the dough into two equal pieces and form them into loaves.

At this point, you can shape the dough into loaves and bake them. Or, for additional flavor, roll the two pieces out into rectangles and add more cinnamon sugar before shaping them into loaves. That's what I decided to do.

Sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top.

Starting to roll the first loaf.

Continue rolling...


There, now we have the first loaf.  Be sure to pinch the seems together.

Then place the loaf seam side down in a lightly greased 8 1/2 by 4 1/2-inch pan. Mist the top with cooking spray.

Shape the 2nd loaf using the same process and cover both loaves loosely with plastic wrap.

2nd Rise:

Proof the loaves at room temperature for 60 to 90 minutes, or until the dough crests above the lips of the pans and is nearly doubled in size.

Baking the Loaves:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F with the oven rack on the middle shelf. Place the loaf pans on a sheet pan. Make sure the pans don't touch each other. Bake the loaves for 20 minutes. Rotate the pans 180 degrees for even baking and continue baking for another 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the oven.

The finished loaves should be golden brown on top and lightly golden on the sides and bottom. The loaves will make a hollow sound when thumped on the bottom.

Cooling the Loaves:

Remove the loaves immediately from the pans and cool on a wire rack for a least an hour. It is best to wait 2 hours before slicing or serving. This is the hard part!

To give the bread even more flavor, brush the loaves with melted butter while they are still warm and sprinkle cinnamon sugar over the top.

Now, all that's left to do is to eat a slice... The best part!

Thanks for joining us this week. Next time, we'll be making Corn Bread. Yes, you heard that right. Corn bread is not normally a yeast bread, but Peter Reinhart included corn bread in this book because he claims it's such a good recipe. Well, we'll just have to see about that! If it's anything like the rest of his breads, it will be fabulous! I'm ready to try something different. How about you?

Happy Baking!

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