This week, I had the pleasure of making one of Marion Cunningham’s recipes from The Breakfast Book, and whoa mama!
If you want to make a snack for tea time, or gift a somewhat unusual, larger than life loaf of bread, then I think this is one to consider. It’s a tad sweet, but that’s to be expected with anything including raisins.
Biweekly, my pops has a meeting with all of his colleagues, and when I discovered he was supplying them with Safeway doughnuts, I happily volunteered myself to bake alternative goods instead. Who doesn’t love an opportunity to hone their baking skills, especially without the promise of having to eat the resulting bounty? My pops naturally agreed. All meeting attendees are men, most are somewhat health conscious and avoid heavily sweet things. My kinda crowd to bake for.
Aside from being fairly healthy, the only other stipulation to what I make is that it must go well with coffee. Cannon Beach city hall, the workplace of topic, neighbors a lovely little organic coffee roaster, Sleepy Monk (their site seems to be down currently, here’s their Facebook), that makes some of the best coffee — also the strongest — that I’ve ever had. (And bear in mind I don’t say that in politeness; I’ve lived in Seattle, and with coffee connoisseurs, so I’m familiar with what good coffee tastes like.) So needless to say, the staff is hooked on good coffee and any accompanying treats must go with their cuppa Joe.
After a few months of practice, I think I’m beginning to really get the hang of what they like. This recipe makes either two regular-sized loafs, or one freakishly large round loaf. Since I only have one bread pan, I opted for the one round loaf, and it rose to be jumbo. Now when I say jumbo, I mean JUMBO! Shocked by the enormity of the resulting loaf, I couldn’t help but measure it: 11″ in diameter!
Pardon the terrible photo, but here’s the loaf to scale with a medium-sized apple:
I halved that big boy, and sent a half to work with each of my parents (naturally after sampling a piece myself), and both workplaces gobbled up every last bit before 9 a.m. My mom didn’t even get a slice!
Without further adieu, the recipe:
Raisin Cinnamon Wheat Bread
Makes: ~32 slices (2 medium loaves, or one jumbo round loaf)
Source: The Breakfast Book
1/2 C warm water
4 1/2 Tbsp dry yeast (2 packages)
1 tsp sugar
2 C warm water
1/2 C nonfat dry milk
6 Tbsp brown sugar (I used less, about 3 Tbsp)
1 Tbsp cinnamon (I used much more than this)
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp butter
2 1/2 C whole wheat flour
2 C raisins (use 1 C golden raisins and 1 C dark raisins, if you have both)
3 C all-purpose flour (approx.)
- Put the 1/2 C warm water in a mixing bowl and stir in the yeast and sugar. Let stand to dissolve for 5 minutes. (This is letting your yeast proof. As a noob to proofing, I let mine proof until it looked like this, which took about 30 min — which I suspect took so long due to using older yeast).
- Add the 2 C warm water, dry milk, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, butter, and whole wheat flour to the yeast mixture. Beat briskly, until the batter is smooth. Add the raisins. Add only enough all-purpose flour to make a manageable dough (I ended up using all 3, plus some). If kneading by hand, turn onto a floured surface and knead for 2 minutes; if you are using an electric mixer with a dough hook, knead for 15 seconds. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes. Resume kneading until the dough looks smooth and elastic.
- Put the dough in a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough double in bulk (mine took about 40 minutes to rise).
- Punch the dough down. If you are making two loaves, divide the dough in half, shape into two loaves, and place in two greased 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 3-inch loaf pans. If you are making one loaf, roll it into a smooth ball, place on a greased baking sheet, and, using a sharp knife, cut two slashes across the top. Let the dough rise, loosely covered, for 45 minutes.
- Put the loaves (or loaf) in a preheated 375 oven. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until done; the round loaf with take 5-10 minutes longer. Remove from the oven and turn onto a rack to cool.