January 8, 2012

Raisin Swirl Bread, Minus the Raisins

The kneading continued this weekend.

I made this Raisin Swirl Bread, minus the raisins. So I guess I made Swirl Bread. I have decided that I really don’t like raisins, especially in baked goods. And I had a sort of revelation about it this weekend when I pulled the raisins out of my cabinet. Guess what, I thought to myself? I’m an adult and I don’t have to put raisins in my Raisin Swirl Bread if I don’t want to.

So, I skipped them. Zach ended up being really sad about this, it turned out (I never would have guessed).

I was dying to make something from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking book, and I knew I best not make cookies or cake or anything like that. Because I get weighed every four weeks now. And I have an even healthier appetite now than I did before I got pregnant. And I didn’t spend my first trimester sick and losing weight. My baby is getting plenty of calories. And so am I.

Bread felt like a happy compromise. It would give me something to bake. But I’m a little less tempted by bread than I am by cake and cookies. And the second I saw this recipe, it reminded me of the Pepperidge Farm Cinnamon Raisin Bread that my mom used to buy once in a while when I was growing up. I loved that bread toasted and buttered.

And I loved this bread even more toasted and buttered. And the best part? I didn’t have to pick out the raisins from the swirl.

It was a satisfying recipe to make. The dough came together easily. It rose like it was supposed to. It smelled all yeasty and homemade bread-y. It was fun to roll out, smear with butter, sprinkle with cinnamon, and roll up. It puffed up when baked just like a loaf of bread should.

I was surprised at how tender the bread turned out. It was almost falling apart at the swirl when I ate it this morning. But in a good way. Not in a messy way, I promise.

If I had been looking to consume more calories, I would have used it to make the Sugar-Crusted French Toast that Dorie also includes a recipe for next to this recipe. But it’s all about moderation, my friend Dorie. At least for now.

Raisin Swirl Bread, Adapted slightly from Baking by Dorie Greenspan

For the bread:

1 packet active dry yeast
¼ c sugar, plus a pinch
1 ¼ c warm whole milk
4 tbsp unsalted butter, room temp
¾ tsp salt
1 large egg
¼ tsp vanilla
Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
3 ¾ to 4 cups all-purpose flour

For the swirl:

1 tbsp sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tbsp unsalted butter, room temp

Put yeast in small bowl; add pinch of sugar; stir in ¼ c of the warm milk. Let rest for 3 minutes; stir.

With stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine remaining 1 cup of milk, butter, remaining ¼ c sugar and mix on low speed for 1 minute. Add salt, egg, vanilla, and nutmeg. Mix for another minute. Add the yeast mixture and beat on medium-low for 1 minute. (I was relieved when Dorie said in the book that the mixture will look curdly at this point.)

Add 2 ¾ c flour. Mix on low just until combined. Swap the paddle attachment for the dough hook. Add another cup of flour; beat the dough on medium for 2 minutes. If the dough doesn’t come away clean from the sides of the bowl, add 1 tablespoon of flour at a time, until you have added an additional ¼ cup. Knead the dough for 3 minutes in the mixer. Dough will still be very soft.

Place dough in large buttered bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and place bowl in warm place to let rise until doubled in size, about 1 ½ hours.

Wrap ball of dough in plastic wrap; place in freezer for 30 minutes.

Butter a 9x5 inch loaf pan.

Mix together the sugar, cinnamon, and cocoa.

Roll dough out on large surface dusted with flour until it’s a 12x18 inch slab.

Smear the dough with 2 tbsp butter; then sprinkle with the cinnamon mixture evenly. Starting with the short side, roll the dough up fairly tightly.

Tucking the ends under, place the dough into the pan. Cover loosely with wax paper; let rise in warm spot for 45 minutes.

Brush the top of the loaf with the remaining 1 tbsp butter, melted.

Bake at 375 for 20 minutes. Cover loosely with foil tent. Bake for another 20 minutes, or until loaf is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped.

Let cool on wire rack for 5 minutes in pan. Then remove from pan and continue to let cool.

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