At the end of 2011, I went to an allergist to find out why I began having some crazy allergic reactions towards the end of my second pregnancy. As it turns out, it’s pretty common to develop allergies during pregnancy, when so many things in your body are changing chemically. Most of my allergies were inhalants (things that float in the air), but 5 of them were foods. The most troublesome of that 5 was soy. I have no issues giving up my soymilk, edamame and occasional tofu. But, those are not the only soy culprits. Soy is everywhere, found very often in any sort of processed food. For starters, it’s very difficult to find bread made without soy. This discovery began my journey, and now obsession, with homemade breads. Now that I’ve gone homemade, I’m not going back.
Our household is on a bit of a bread kick. We’re making one or 2 different types each week and discovering some favorites. This one I had to push to the front of the postings because it’s sure to become an instant favorite in your house as well.
It’s not a quick bread, but it’s really not difficult to make as long as you’ve got the time to meet it a few times in between multiple rises. It’s what I’d call a “bread-making experience”. You’ll be so proud of these two loafs of beautiful bread by the time you’re done, you’ll be calling your friends and family to come over and taste what you made with your own 2 hands.
Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread (originally published in Cook’s Illustrated magazine in March/April of 2011)
– INGREDIENTS –
1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups (12 oz.) warm water, about 95-110 degrees F
1/8 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 cup (8 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 3/4 cup bread flour
3/4 cup nonfat dry milk powder
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups raisins
1 cup confectioners sugar
3 rounded Tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, room temperature
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon water
– PREPARATION –
1. In a small bowl, combine yeast, warm water and 1/8 t sugar. Mix together and let stand for 5-10 minutes. Yeast will dissolve and mixture will look creamy and slightly foamy.
2. Cube butter and toss with 1 T flour. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour, milk powder and sugar. Add the yeast solution and the egg, slightly beaten. Mix on low speed for 2-4 minutes until the dough begins to come together. Cover the bowl and let stand for 20 minutes.
4. Place a cake pan on the bottom rack of the oven. Boil 4 cups of water.
5. Remove the plastic wrap from the bowl. Add salt and continue to mix on low speed until the dough is smooth and elastic and clears the sides of the bowl. While the mixer is running, add the butter, a few pieces at a time. Continue to mix until the butter is fully incorporated, the dough is smooth and is clearing the sides of the bowl.
6. Add the raisins and mix until evenly distributed. Transfer the dough to a large, bowl coated with nonstick cooking spray. Fold the dough over itself 8 times by lifting and folding the dough toward the center. Turn the bowl 90 degrees after each fold. Cover the dough tightly with plastic wrap and place in the middle of the oven.
7. Pour the boiling water into the cake pan and close the door. Keep the door closed for 45 minutes to allow the dough to rise – make sure you don’t let the steam out of the oven.
8. Remove the dough from the oven and punch it down. Repeat the 8 folds. Cover the bowl and return to the oven until it has doubled in volume, 30-45 minutes.
9. Meanwhile, make the filling. In a medium bowl, whisk together the confectioners sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and salt. Set aside.
10. Prepare 2 loaf pans by spraying with non-stick cooking spray.
11. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and divide into two equal pieces.
12. Working with one piece of dough at time, roll out the dough into a 7″ X 18″ rectangle with an even 1/4″ thickness. Using a spray bottle, spray the dough lightly with water. Sprinkle half the filling mixture over the dough, leaving a 1/4″ border around the sides. Spray the filling lightly with water.
13. With the short side facing you, roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Pinch the seam and sides closed to contain the filling. Wrap in plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes. Repeat with the second ball of dough.
14. Using a large knife, cut the cylinder in half lengthwise. Lay the half cut-side up Gently pull each half to 14″ length. Line them up next to each other and pinch one end together.
15. Lay the strip on the left over the strip on the right. Repeat, keeping the cut side up until the two strips are tightly twisted. Pinch the ends together. Transfer the loaf to the prepared loaf pan, keeping the cut side up. Repeat with the second loaf.
16. Cover the loaves loosely with plastic wrap. Return to the oven and let rise for 45 minutes. Remove the loaves and pan of water from the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
17. Allow the loaves to rise at room temperature until the tops of the loaves rise about one inch over the lip of the pain, about 30-50 minutes.
18. Brush the loaves with the egg mixture. Bake for 25 minutes until the crust is golden brown. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees and loosely tent them with foil to prevent the crust from burning. Continue to bake for another 15-25 minutes, until the internal temperature of the bread reaches 200 degrees.
19. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes. Remove the loaves from the pans and let cool fully on a wire rack. Let loaves cool to room temperature before slicing.