the power of cinnamon-sugar swirl

Take a gander at this:

And of course I have a woeful, sneezy head cold on such a perfect day — which may or may not have moping around in pajamas. I have watched the greatest film of our time and its special features (ask me about CGI dinosaurs!). I have napped (and napped) and snuffed my way through half a box of Puffs. And now for the upside: I have munched through about six slices of the cinnamon-raisin loaf I made yesterday.

Cinnamon Raisin Bread
(Peter Reinhardt’s The Bread Baking Apprentice)

Ingredients for two 1.5 lb loaves

  • 3 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 4 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 large egg, slightly beaten
  • 2 tbsp shortening, melted or at room temperature [I used butter]
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk or whole milk, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup water, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups raisins, rinsed and drained

For the cinnamon sugar swirl

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon sugar


Stir together the flour, sugar, salt, yeast, and cinnamon in a mixing bowl (or in the bowl of an electric mixer). Add the egg, shortening, buttermilk, and water. Stir together with a large spoon (or mix on low speed) until the ingredients come together and form a ball. Add more flour or water, if necessary.

Sprinkle flour on a counter, transfer dough to counter, and begin kneading (or mixing on medium speed with a dough hook). The dough should be soft and pliable, tacky but not sticky. By hand, this will take ten minutes; a mixer will need six to eight. Add the raisins in the last two minutes of kneading. The dough should feel warm and not break when stretched. Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

Ferment at room temperature for two hours, until the dough has doubled in size. (Easy way to tell: stick two fingers in the ball of dough. If it sproings back, it’s not ready yet.)

Gently divide the dough in two. Mix together the cinnamon-sugar swirl. Roll out each piece to a rectangle 5 inches wide by 8 inches long and approximately 1/3 inch thick. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar over the surface of the rectangles and form into a tight sandwich loaf: start with the short side and roll up the length of the dough one section at a time, pinching the crease with each rotation to increase the surface tension. The loaf will spread out as you roll it up. Place seam-side down in two lightly oiled loaf pans.

Proof at room temperature for 60 to 90 minutes, until the dough crests about the lips of the pans.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the loaf pans on a sheet pan, making sure they’re not touching.

Bake the loaves for 20 minutes. Rotate the pan 180 degrees for even baking and and continue baking for another 20 to 30 minutes. The finished breads should register 190 degrees in the center and be golden brown on top and lightly golden on the sides. They should make a hollow sound when thumped on the bottom.

Immediately remove the breads from their pans and cool on a rack for at least one hour, preferably two, before slicing or serving.


3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Red Chiffon Skirt on April 2, 2010 at 8:42 pm

    EVERYTHING about this post makes me jealous/hate you!!!

    I’m excited because today its 50 degrees and sunny AND I still don’t have an oven.


  2. Posted by clara on April 3, 2010 at 6:01 am

    looks amazing… reminds me of your high school cinnamon rolls. MISS YOU


    • Posted by iowasthinking on April 3, 2010 at 10:38 am

      Clara, I was going to mention those, but I didn’t know if anyone would remember them! So happy that you do!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: