Tuesday, January 06, 2009

baking again

This is not a baking blog, but I'm going to link to one. Peter Reinhart is a bubbly cauldron baker scientist, and can be fun to read. My sister gave me his Whole Grain Breads book for my birthday last year, and that's where the recipe for this bread comes from.

I kind of went on a baking hiatus after my sourdough starter kicked the bucket in November. But the other day I started feeling wistful and was jonsin' for some cinnamon raisin bread. Cinnamon Raisin bread with toasted walnuts, really. And the reason it became blog worthy because this is the most satisfying loaf of bread that I've made in a long time.

For awhile, weekly bread just became One-Of-Those-Things-That-Needed-To-Be-Done, like doing the laundry or making sure you had an appropriate stash of toilet paper on hand. I certainly still liked making bread, but I'll admit there were parts of it that had become somewhat chore-ish. When I first started baking a few years ago I couldn't wait for the bread too cool: I wanted to open it up and see if it had risen evenly inside, or discover how dense the crumb was, and of course I wanted to taste it. But over time, I started doubling the recipes and freezing a loaf, and even refrained from slicing into it for hours, days. Then it got to where I wouldn't eat much of it. It would disappear into A's PB and J sandwiches, and that was just fine by me. Maybe I'd make toast now and again if there wasn't any yogurt around for breakfast, but I was much less allured.

Then I took a break. And I'm not saying I'm ready to go back to Never-Bringing-Store-Bought-Bread-Into-The-House, but I am really satisfied with this loaf. Best toasted, with butter or cream cheese.
Want the recipe?

update: recipe in the comments :)
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kechambers said...

Yes, please.

MeganMonday said...

Overnight "soakers":

1 1/3 c ww flour
1/2 t salt
3/4 c milk
1 c raisins
cover and let sit on the counter overnight

in separate bowl, combine:
1 1/3 c ww flour
1/4 t instant yeast
6 T milk
1/4 c melted butter or veg oil
1 large egg
cover and let sit in fridge overnight. Take out 2 hours before preparing rest of recipe to allow to warm up.

Combine both soakers with:
7 T ww flour
1 t salt
2 1/4 t instant yeast
2 T honey or brown sugar
1/2 t cinnamon

Knead, by hand or with electric mixer (scraping down the bowl occasionally). If needed, add small amounts of flour or water to adjust dough until soft and slightly sticky.
Windowpane test.

Roll out dough and sprinkle:
3/4 c pre toasted chopped walnuts or pecans
knead to incorporate.

Place dough in oiled bowl, cover with cloth or plastic wrap and let rise till 1 1/2 x it's original size.

Flour work surface, press dough into 8 x 8 square.
3 T sugar combined with 2T cinnamon
and roll dough up into tight spiraled loaf.

Put in prepared loaf pan, let rise until loaf rises above pan edge.

Preheat oven to 400. Once bread is in reduce to 325. Bake 20 minutes. Rotate bread. bake another 25-40 minutes, until bread is rich brown and sounds hollow when you thump it on the bottom.

Be sure to let it cool before cutting!!!