For some odd reason, I've always been reluctant to bake bread. It is probably a combination of the amount of time it takes, plus the messiness of it with all that flour and kneading, however if one follows the process of baking bread correctly, then the final product is well worth the work.
This weekend I baked my very first batch of cinnamon and raisin bread from scratch (if you don't count the bread machine I've used in the past.) I've always wanted to bake this bread, and after looking at several recipes I found an easy and straightforward cinnamon and raisin bread recipe from allrecipes.ca. It takes forever to make so you've gotta bake it on a day when you've got plenty of time to spare, even though that (time) is becoming much harder these days.
Although time consuming, there is something therapeutic about baking bread, and the smell of it as it's baking, especially a cinnamon and raisin bread, is heavenly.
Cinnamon Raisin Bread Ihttp://www.allrecipes.ca/
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup warm water (110º F/45º C)
2 (2.5 ounce) package active dry yeast
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup margarine, softened
1 cup raisins
8 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons milk
3/4 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1. Warm the milk in a small saucepan until it bubbles, then remove from heat. Let cool until lukewarm.
2. Dissolve yeast in warm water, set aside until yeast is frothy. Mix in eggs, sugar, margarine, salt, and raisins. Stir in cooled milk. Add the flour gradually to make a stiff dough. (it is more sticky than stiff)
3. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface for a few minutes. Place in a large, greased, mixing bowl, and turn to grease the surface of the dough. Cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rise until doubled.
4. Roll out on a lightly floured surface into a large rectangle 1/2 inch thick. Moisten dough with 2 tablespoons of milk. Mix together 3/4 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons cinnamon, and sprinkle mixture on top of the moistened dough. Roll up tightly, and the roll should be about 3 inches in diameter. Cut into thirds, and tuck under ends. Place loaves into well greased 9 X 5 inch pans. Lightly grease top of loaves. Let rise again for 1 hour.
5. Bake at 350 degrees F (174 degrees C) for 45 minutes or until loaves are lightly browned and sounds hollow when knocked. Remove loaves from pans and brush with melted margarine.
I love cinnamon, so choosing just one recipe was a very tough task. While flipping through a Cook's Illustrated Holiday Baking edition (2010) I stumble upon a Quick Cinnamon Streusel Coffeecake and thought it would be perfect for the blog. I mean, it's a coffeecake, quick - in less than 15 min you will have a cake in the oven, it has cinnamon in it and streusel! Four perfect words.
The final result is a moist, cinnamon-y and fluffy-like-a-cloud cake. I think I used a larger pan than I was supposed to so I didn't get a thick layer of the streusel. I got a thin-crispy sugar and nuts layer instead, which wasn't a bad thing at all. I highly reccomend this cake, specially for you guys up north. A piece of this cake with a cup of hot coffee/tea/chocolate is perfect for a snowy day.
Keep yourselves warm! And for those of you who are enjoying the hot weather like me, don't forget to put sunscreen! ;)
Quick Cinnamon Streusel Coffeecake
1/3 cup packed (2 1/3 ounces) light brown sugar - used dark brown
1/3 cup (2 1/3 ounces) granulated sugar - used refined sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup pecans, almonds or walnuts, chopped coarse - I used cashew nuts
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour - I used regular all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups buttermilk or plain whole yogurt*
1 cup packed (7 ounces) light brown sugar
1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar
3 large eggs
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1. For the streusel: Mix sugars, cinnamon, and melted butter together in medium bowl until mixture resembles wet sand; stir in nuts and set aside.
2. For the cake: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350ºF/180ºC. Generously coat a 13 by 9-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
3. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt together in a large bowl. Whisk buttermilk, sugars, eggs, and melted butter in separate bowl until smooth. Using rubber spatula, gently fold egg mixture into flour mixture and stir until batter looks smooth and well combined.
4. Using rubber spatula, scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth top. Sprinkle streusel evenly over batter. Bake until streusel is golden and toothpick inserted into centre comes out with just a few crumbs attached, 40 to 45 minutes. Cool cake on wire rack for 15 min. before slicing and serving.
Serves 8 - I got 16 squares.
*You can make your own buttermilk at home! Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice into a small bowl and add 1 cup milk - whole, skimmed - let stand for 2 minutes and it's ready to use.