Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Out of this World Cinnamon Raisin Bread

I know it has been a long, LONG time since my last post but I've been really busy working on super awesome videos and getting my office at my boss' house organized. But I've had a few days off and after a lovely Valentine's Day and a full day at Disneyland on Monday I decided I wanted to bake something.

A few weeks ago I picked up the February issue of Martha Stewart Living because the cover was so darn pretty and the cover advertised "One Simple Recipe, 4 Great Breads." Well Martha wasn't kidding - this bread is simple and DELICIOUS. I made the cinnamon raisin loaf and it is incredibly delicious, like better than brownies for dessert delicious. Put a slice in the toaster and spread a little bit of butter on it and try not to eat half the loaf in one evening. YUM. If anyone makes this I'd love to know how it turns out!

Cinnamon Raisin Bread
From Martha Stewart Living

1 Tablespoon plus 1 1/2 Teaspoons active dry yeast (two 1/4 ounce envelopes)
2 1/4 cups warm water
3 Tablespoons plus 2 Teaspoons honey
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for bowl, pans and brushing
7 Cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface and dusting
2 Tablespoons coarse salt
1 Cup raisins
1/2 Cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 Teaspoons ground cinnamon

1. Sprinkle yeast over 1/2 cup water. Add 2 teaspoons honey. Whisk until yeast dissolves. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.
2. Add butter, remaining 1 3/4 cups water and 3 tablespoons honey. Mix the flour and the salt together. Add 3 cups of the flour mixture to the yeast mixture. Mix with a wooden spoon until smooth.
3. Add the raisins, mix until smooth. Add the remaining 4 cups of flour, 1 cup at a time, mixing until dough comes away from the sides of the bowl and forms a ragged, slightly sticky ball.
4. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Wash out the mixing bowl (or use another bowl) and butter the sides of it. Knead the dough until smooth and elastic but still slightly tacky - about five minutes. Shape into a ball. Transfer to prepared bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
5. Allow the dough to stand in a warm place until it doubles in volume (it shouldn't spring back when you poke your finger in), about 1 hour.
6. Butter two 4 1/2 by 8 1/2 inch loaf pans. Once the dough has risen punch it down and divide it in half. Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.
7. Shape one dough half into a 1/2 inch thick rectangle that is about 8 by 10 inches. Lightly brush the dough with water and sprinkle evenly with the cinnamon sugar mixture, leaving a 1/2 in ch border around the edge. Starting with the short side roll dough into a log. Seal edges with fingertips and tuck ends under. Transfer the dough seam side down to the pan. Brush the top with melted butter. Repeat with the second half of the dough.
8. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Drape the loaves with plastic and let dough stand until it rises about one inch above the tops of the pans - 45 minutes to 1 hour.
9. Reduce the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Bake, rotating pans after 220 minutes until tops are golden brown, about 40 to 45 minutes. Transfer to wire racks. Let cool slightly; turn out loaves. Let cool completely before slicing (no really, do this, I didn't and it was bad).

*I made my bread by hand, using a wooden spoon, as the recipe suggests. If you are so lucky as to have a KitchenAid mixer with a dough-hook attachment go ahead and use it, but don't tell me because I will be jealous.

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