Some things can be said to be passed through the genes: hair color, eye color, earlobes. A simple Punnett square could probably tell you what traits the next generation would exhibit. However, I don’t know if genetics would be able to predict a love for particular foods. My mother’s love for raisin bread seems to be something that was passed down to me. If I were to choose a bagel, I would almost always choose cinnamon raisin. I love to have a slice of cinnamon raisin bread, slightly toasted and lightly buttered if I could afford the calories and carbs every day. However, I have never made it.
When I first undertook this recipe, I was really hesitant because bread is so temperamental. I feel like even the most simplest and standard recipe can go awry simply because your house is two degrees colder than what it was in every other raving reviewer’s abode. However, I was on a bread roll (no pun intended) and I wanted to give it a try at the very least. So I decided to find a well-rated raisin bread recipe and go for it. I found this recipe and it seemed to work out for a lot of people. However, that was not the case for me. Even though this recipe did not require a bread making machine, I would consider that this recipe failed for me. (And unfortunately, I have the photos to prove it). However, I still wanted to post it as a “baking adventure” and maybe tips from you will help me achieve a more successful second attempt in the future!
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1 cup warm water (must be between 110-115 degrees)
- 2 (1/4 ounce) packages active dry yeast
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup raisins
- 8 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 cup white sugar
- 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted (approx.)
- Warm the milk in a small sauce pan on the stove until it just starts to bubble, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Let cool until lukewarm, about 120-125 degrees.
- Dissolve yeast in warm water and set aside until yeast is frothy, about 10 minutes or so (make sure your water is at the correct temperature or the yeast won’t activate.)
- Then mix in eggs, sugar, butter salt and raisins (stir in the cooled milk slowly so you don’t cook the eggs.)
- Add the flour gradually to make a stiff dough.
- Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for a few minutes until smooth.
- Place in a large, buttered, mixing bowl and turn to grease the surface of the dough. Cover with a warm, damp cloth and let rise (I like to let my bread rise in the oven with the light on. It has just the right amount of heat and keeps the bread out of drafts.) Allow to rise until doubled, usually about 1 1/2 hours.
- Roll out on a lightly floured surface into a large rectangle 1/2 inch thick.
- Moisten the dough with 2 tablespoons milk and rub all over the dough with your hands.
- Mix together 1 cup of sugar and 3 tablespoons cinnamon and sprinkle mixture evenly on top of the moistened dough. Roll up tightly (the long way). The roll should be about 3 inches in diameter.
- Cut into thirds, and tuck under ends and pinch bottom together.
- Place loaves into well greased (you can use Crisco or butter for this) 9 x 5 inch pans and lightly grease tops of loaves. Let rise in warm place, uncovered, again for about an hour. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until loaves are lightly browned and sound hollow when tapped.
- Remove from oven and let cool on rack.
- Take melted butter and spread over tops of loaves. After about 20 minutes, lay loaves on their sides and remove from pans. Allow to cool before slicing.
Mistake of the Day: Make sure you have all the proper tools required…even if the recipe doesn’t list them. I did not have a rolling pin. I know, I know, you’re rolling your eyes as we speak. Hey, I can cook, I never claimed to be a baker. In addition, there are a majority of things that do not require me to have a rolling pin in the past. Needless to say, I improvised and used…a martini shaker. It did the trick, but it was probably not as thin as it should have been.
In addition, I did two separate batches. The first batch I did a long slow overnight rise in room temp. Room temp was at a constant 60-degree fahrenheit. The second batch I tried to do a slow rise in the refrigerator as recommended by someone else. What I found was that the slow-rise dough barely rose at all. In addition, it was incredibly difficult to work. The room-temp batch rose slightly more and was much easier to work with. That was the dough that I had placed in the bread pan. Unfortunately I did not take the picture of that loaf before giving it to my parents. However, at their house, the sliced loaf came out looking great. It was slightly undercooked though which was befuddling as it was a very (almost crispy) brown on the outside.
Both loaves were incredibly dense. Neither one was fluffy at all. They were almost like bread-cake texture. The flavor was great though. I could have added a bit more raisins to my liking. Nevertheless, I was a bit disappointed with the outcome. Afterall, one of my baking goals is to do a traditional (and awesome) baguette. The dough looked great, but what does it take to get a super fluffy loaf of bread?
Currently, most of Atlanta is shut down. Every major roadway and highway has been in traffic gridlock for almost 5 hours now as the light “dusting” of snow (less than an inch, probably an inch by now) began about 11am this morning. That gives me plenty of time to start taxes and to catch up on blogging. As the night comes and the black ice begins to form, it leaves me with a free day tomorrow. I may attempt to try Trader Joe’s berry scone mix and add a bit of my own frozen berries. So far I’ve come to enjoy TJ’s easy baked goods so hopefully this will give me a little encouragement to continue in the bakersphere, as fake as it is. Again, any comments or advice on the bread recipe above would be much appreciated. I hope all of you are doing well, and I thank you again for reading!