I have a friend who had a birthday recently. She said all she wanted for a gift was a bread a month. Sort of like the Fruit A Month (anyone see that Everybody Loves Ray episode?) Club except of course that this is … bread!
This month she requested a sweet, nutty bread. I’m not someone who enjoys sweet breads and wouldn’t normally have tried this recipe, but her request got me to look into Peter Reinhart’s recipe for Cinnamon Walnut Raisin Bread. And it’s another winner from Reinhart!
Cinnamon Raisin Walnut Bread
(original recipe from Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice)
3 1/2 cups Unbleached Bread Flour (I used All-Purpose)
4 tsp Granulated Sugar
1 1/4 tsp Salt
2 tsp Instant Yeast
1 1/4 tsp ground Cinnamon
1 large Egg
2 tbsp Shortening (I used 3 tbsp Butter)
1/2 cup Buttermilk or Whole Milk (I used Whole Milk)
3/4 cup Water, room temperature
1 1/2 cups Raisins (I used golden raisins)
1 cup chopped Walnuts
For the Cinnamon Sugar:
1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
2 tbsp ground Cinnamon
Stir together the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, yeast, salt, cinnamon). Add the egg, butter, milk and water and mix until it forms a doughy ball. Turn the ball out onto a floured counter and begin to knead until the dough is soft and elastic (approximately 8 minutes). Sprinkle in the walnuts and raisins, a little at a time, and knead for an additional 2 minutes. I’ve never kneaded in chopped nuts before, so I found that a little difficult but the whole thing comes together beautifully as you knead).
Place the dough in a slightly oiled bowl and cover with muslin. Let rise until doubled in size, approximated 1 1/2 – 2 hours.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and divide into two equal parts. This next part is optional – If you want that lovely swirl filled with cinnamon sugar, then go ahead. Otherwise, you can just shape each half into a loaf and go to the next step. For the swirl – Gently press each part out into a rectangle (about 8″ by 5″), with the long side facing you. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over one side of the rectangle. Now tightly roll, starting from the long side facing you. Seal the end and place in a loaf pan, seam side down. Repeat for the other rectangle. Reserve maybe a teaspoon or so of the cinnamon sugar.
Spritz the loaves with olive oil spray, cover with muslin and let it proof at room temperature for about an hour. Preheat the oven to 180 deg C.
Place the loaf pans in the middle rack of the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Rotate the pans 180 deg and bake for an additional 30 minutes (this is to ensure even baking. It really works for me as I’ve found that the back half of my oven is hotter than the front).
The finished loaf will be golden brown on top and will make a hollow sound when thumped on the bottom. Roll the top of the loaf while warm in a bed of the reserved cinnamon sugar (alternately you can sprinkle some on top of the loaves) while the loaves are warm. The caramelized sugar will give it that extra crunch and burst of cinnamon which is oh-so-delicious!
This is for Susan @ Wild Yeast for YeastSpotting.