The things we do for love.
I got The Bread Baker’s Apprentice for Chanukah this year (yay!) and while I want to make pretty much everything in it, this one ended up being first. I’m not a huge fan of raisin-cinnamon bread, but a certain two-year-old of my acquaintance is and my not-so-secret plan to buy his lifelong affection through constant association of me and treats at this early stage requires this step.
How committed am I to this plot? This committed:
I’ve never had margarine in the house, let alone this stuff. I even passed up making sugar cookies for Christmas because that would have required buying shortening. And yet there I was, all for a miniscule amount that probably could have been replaced by butter with no great loss.
(Okay, I finally gave up and got shortening after having to turn down a request to make sugar cookies and coming across a few recipes that required it. But it sounds more dramatic the other way.)
Part of my future cooking plans is to use my scale more often; I use it now, but mostly for items that can’t be measured any other convenient way – say, when I’m breaking off hunks of chocolate to use. I used it about half of the time with this recipe, which might explain how things turned out.
Anyway, there are a lot of raisins in this.
The dough going down for its nap.
On the other side.
Was not kidding about the raisins.
I was a little dubious about this being two full loaves; the recipe calls for half the flour of my usual two loaves of sandwich bread and for slightly smaller bread pans than these. Reinhart suggests a couple of alternate methods of cinnamon-sugar delivery and so I did one loaf in each style. Not that you can tell from this picture, but the loaf on the right has a light dusting of cinnamon-sugar rolled into it – less than half of the suggested amount, since I didn’t want to overdo it.
I ended up putting them in the oven after the recommended time for the second rise, but not at a height I was really happy about, difference in pan size aside. I hoped for some decent oven spring, but mostly I knew it was getting late in the evening and I didn’t want to be up all night with these.
There wasn’t much of any oven spring, but they came out respectably for a first attempt anyway. The swirled one is on the left and the one on the right got a dusting of cinnamon-sugar on top of melted butter right out of the oven. Like this:
I think the interior swirl works better from both a taste and handling perspective. Especially since I freeze half-loaves.
All in all, much better than any commercial offering and I have a decent sense of what I can maybe do next time, short of getting smaller bread pans. I feel confident offering up my next batch to my favorite toddler.