raisin-cinnamon bread

rcb_toasted

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:

crisco

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 And yet there I was, all for a miniscule amount that probably could have been replaced by butter with no great loss.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.)

rcb_raisins 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.

rcb_dough_pre

The dough going down for its nap.

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On the other side.

rcb_dough_halved

Was not kidding about the raisins.

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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.

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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:

rcb_done_topview

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.

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3 thoughts on “raisin-cinnamon bread

  1. Mmm, the bread looks great. I’m not always a big fan of raisins, but cinnamon makes everything good, the loaves in the pan right before baking look really pretty.

  2. It has been my experience that nearly all recipes are better with butter, even if the original called for some other shortening. Margarine and other butter substitutes are rather recent inventions, many uses dating from the depression when cost was the major determinant.

  3. @SD — The smell was pretty amazing, even before baking (which never happens). I think I would have been happier if it had been apple-cinnamon, but maybe that’ll be an experiment for the next time.

    @hbudd — I wanted to put a good-faith effort into following the instructions as written, at least the once. Next time, butter and starting it early enough in the day to get a good second rise.

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