It’s Friday, which means it’s obviously confession time. This week’s confession? I’ve ALWAYS been a rules girl. To the point where I’m pretty sure people have disliked me for being such a stickler (though parents lovee me!). If you give me a task with a set of rules, I will absolutely not break them. And if I do, I’ll feel a HORRIBLE sense of guilt about it. In some ways, I think this makes me an excellent worker. Give me a job and I get it done, correctly. In other ways, it has me driving myself crazy and being all sorts of nervous to take creative steps. Which is bad since I consider myself a very creative person.
What did this mean when I was younger? I rarely got in trouble. I rarely disobeyed my parents or any form of authority. I didn’t drink or party in high school and I most always turned homework assignments in when they were due. Because those were the rules! And what are rules, darn it, if they’re not meant to be followed? Oh, they’re meant to be broken? That never even crossed my mind.
What does being a stickler for the rules have to do with my cooking? It means that sometimes I follow recipes too closely. I tend to let the instructions and exactness of recipes get in the way of my creativity and freedom; and sometimes even intentions.
Which is exactly why I forgot to put raisins in my Cinnamon Raisin Bread. Thus making it Cinnamon (Raisin) Bread, instead. You see, the Pioneer Woman didn’t have raisins in hers. But I wanted them in mine. However, when I got to the step where I should add the raisins I got way too excited that my dough looked just like her dough. And I rolled up my bread, sans raisins.
But still, this bread was AWESOME. with a capital AWE. Actually, make that every letter capital. Because it was that good. So good, I’m highly considering making a loaf of it every Sunday for the week. But instead, I think I’m going to challenge myself to a new bread every week. But first I might try this one again with raisins. Though I can’t complain about how it turned out.
But by all means, go ahead and break my rules. If you dare. No really, they’re meant to be broken. I promise.
Cinnamon (Raisin) Bread:
- 1 C milk
- 6 T butter
- 1.5 t active dry yeast
- 2 whole eggs
- 1/3 C sugar
- 3.5 C all-purpose flour
- 1 t salt
- 1/3 C sugar
- 2 T cinnamon
- 1 egg + milk, mixed together for brushing
- Softened butte, for smearing and greasing
- Rasins. If you want to break the rules.
(Look! There are raisins in my photo!)
First, melt the butter with the milk in a saucepan.
Heat it until very warm, but don’t let it boil!
Once the butter is melted, allow the mixture to cool until still warm to the touch, but not hot.
Sprinkle the yeast over the top of the butter/milk mixture, stir it gently, and allow it to sit for 10 minutes.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour and salt and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix sugar and the 2 eggs with the paddle attachment until combined.
Pour in the butter/milk/yeast mixture and stir to combine.
Add half the flour/salt mixture and beat on medium speed until combined. Then add the other half and beat again until combined.
Now, switch to the dough hook attachment on your mixer. I was kind of excited because I had never used my dough hook attachment before!
Let this knead the dough on medium speed for about 10 minutes.
This was super loud and made me quite glad nobody lives below my apartment. Also, my dough was super sticky after 10 minutes, so I followed P-Dub’s directions and added about another 1/4 C of flour and beat for 5 more minutes. Much better.
Now it’s time for some rising action! Warm a glass or metal bowl (just let it sit with super hot water in it and then empty the water). And pour in some canola oil. Toss the dough in the oil to coat and then cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Find a warm place to set the bowl for 2 hours.
I turned the AC off and turned the oven on and put the bowl on top. It didn’t really appear to be rising much… But after 3 hours, I decided to just go for it.
Now, flour your surface (and rolling pin!). And roll the dough into a rectangle. Make sure it’s not wider than the length of the loaf pan you’re going to use. And make sure the length is about 18-24 inches long.
Mix together 1/3 C sugar and 2 T cinnamon.
And smear some melted butter on your dough rectangle.
Then sprinkle the cinnamon/sugar evenly over the “butter-smeared” dough. Yum.
Here was also where I should have added some raisins in. But instead I was thrilled that I actually managed to roll the dough out into a semi-rectangle. I followed directions. Yay!
Now, starting at the far end, roll the dough toward you, keeping tight and contained. Pinch the seam to seal it.
And place in your well-buttered loaf pan seam-side down.
I can’t find my loaf pan and imagine I must have left it at my old apartment. So, a glass baking dish had to do for now.
Back to the adventures of rising. Cover your pan with plastic wrap and allow to rise for another 2 hours. Can we get some cinnamon (raisin) bread up in here, already?
Once again (much to Chris’s dismay), I turned off the AC and on the oven. I put the glass baking dish on top.
Also, this is the point where I noticed the container of raisins sitting untouched on the counter. I briefly contemplated un-rolling the dough and adding them in. But that thought lasted about 2 seconds before I realized it was insane. So, I shed a few tears and went on with me bread sans raisins.
A couple hours later and it looked like it had risen a bit, but not really much to write home about. Huh.
Anyway, I continued on. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. And mix your last egg and some milk together to smear over the top.
Bake it for 40 minutes on the middle or lower rack of your oven (not the highest!).
By the time I took the bread out of the oven it was about 11 p.m. And I thought it was pretty ugly-looking.
Especially, this big rip on one side. Boo hoo. But I covered the bread up and went to bed, figuring I’d deal with it in the morning. When I might actually be in the mood for cinnamon (raisin) bread.
Surprisingly, when I woke the next morning, the bread was much more attractive looking. Hey there, Mr. Loaf.
Guess it just needed a good night sleep. Just like me.
I didn’t take another photo of the ripped side, but it was barely even noticeable in the morning.
For my first real loaf of bread, I was quite happy. I might have even patted myself on the back. Oh and PS? It smelled SO good.
But what was I most excited for? To see the swirl. Obviously.
Yay! The swirl is there! It worked! I don’t know why it wouldn’t have (especially since I followed the rules so exactly), but I was nervous.
Sorry for all the photos. I’m proud of myself, OK?
Like, really, really proud of the swirl. I guess following the rules paid off this time.
Of course, I toasted some slices of the bread right up and devoured them for breakfast.
Sure, they would have been better with raisins. But there’s always next time.
This definitely won’t be the last time I make this here bread. But I’m serious about making a new bread every week. I might even, gasp, attempt to break some rules! Maybe by the end of this, I’ll even come up with my own bread recipes!
Actually, I’m making a very different type of bread tonight, but I’m not telling you what yet. We’ve got “Hurricane Earl” coming into Boston (in quotes because I have a feeling it will just be a rain storm), so Chris and I are planning on cooking a big dinner and likely watching some Dateline. Or The Lovely Bones, which we just got on Netflix. And you?
Let’s just hope the rain doesn’t last for this entire Labor Day weekend.
Are you a stickler for the rules?
And furthermore, what kind of bread should I attempt next week? I got an autographed copy of Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day from last year’s Foodbuzz Festival and there are some beautiful breads in there!
Happy long weekend!