Sunday, June 22, 2014

Cinnamon Rum Raisin Swirl Bread

Been baking loads of breads too for the past few months. Baking bread is like making macarons (well, at least for me). Many people have lamented about having problems with macaron making, and well, I used to feel the same about baking bread. Yeast has sorta a life of its own, there's often some science behind bread baking (not that I've cracked the code or anything), and I get a sense of achievement (weird I know) every single time I pull a loaf outta the oven.

Cinnamon Rum Raisin Swirl Bread


First attempt; Rolling out the dough; Second attempt

I don't often see cinnamon raisin swirl bread in the local bakeries. Since I was baking bread every other week or so, I decided to try baking a cinnamon raisin bread. I actually made this recipe twice. The first time round, I experimented with two loaves, one with the filling within the loaf, and the other, a twisted loaf with the cinnamon sugar mix sprinkled on top of the loaf. I actually prefered the one with the filling in the loaf cos the cinnamon sugar mixture is more evenly distributed.

I had leftover cinnamon sugar after baking the two loaves, so I halved the recipe and baked just one loaf the following weekend. And cos I wanted to use up the cinnamon sugar filling (and also cos I thought the previous loaf was a little lacking), I used a liberal amount of cinnamon sugar (as evident from the above photo) so the swirling is more pronounced.


And cos I was planning to soak the raisins in a liquid anyway so as to prevent dry hard nibbles within my bread, I decided that I should soak it in rum. Like hello, rum and raisin. I don't have to explain myself right. Why would I soak it in boring ol' water when I can soak it in some booze? Sad to say, the rum flavor was not apparent in any sorta way. Meh. So well, if you don't want to waste the booze, you can just soak it in plain water. Either that or you can really soak it generously with rum (I skimped on it and just used a coupla tablespoons), perhaps that might make a difference.

French toast with homemade bread


I've never made french toast with homemade bread. But as I had a lot of bread from the two loaves I baked, I decided to make some french toast with some leftover bread. *whistles* It was soooooo good! Soaking the bread in a cinnamon eggy custard and then cooking it in a little butter, made the bread slightly crusty on the outside with fluffy eggy innards inside. Topped with fresh berries and maple syrup, mmmmmm.

First attempt with a less pronounced cinnamon raisin filling swirl


Of course, the bread tasted just as good on its own, lightly toasted and smeared with salted butter. Bread is like my kryptonite, I doubt I can ever go on a low carbs diet. Ha.

Cinnamon Rum Raisin Swirl Bread

Bread
1 cup raisins
2-3 tbsp rum
1 cup warm water
1 tbsp active dry yeast
1 cup + 2 tbsp milk
90g unsalted butter, melted
2 tsp salt
610g to 660g all-purpose flour

Filling (*plenty of leftovers)
115g granulated white sugar
1 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
1 large egg, beaten with 2 tsp warm water

Put the raisins in a small bowl and pour the rum over the raisins. Toss to coat well. Let the raisins plump for at least an hour tossing every half hour to make sure all the raisins are coated with rum. Drain and set aside.
Pour a cup of water into the bowl of a standing mixer or large mixing bowl. Sprinkle the yeast over top. Give it a few minutes, then stir to fully dissolve the yeast into the water.
Stir the milk, melted butter, and salt into the water. Add 610g flour and stir to form a shaggy dough. Knead in your mixer on low speed with a dough hook or knead by hand for 8-10 minutes to form a smooth, slightly tacky dough. Check the dough halfway through; if it’s very sticky (think: bubble gum), add a little more flour. The dough is ready when it forms a ball without sagging and quickly springs back when poked.
Toss the raisins with a few tablespoons of flour to absorb any residual moisture from when they were plumped. With the mixer on gradually add them to the bowl and continue kneading until they are evenly distributed.
If kneading by hand, turn the dough out onto your work surface and pat it into an oval. Sprinkled about half the raisins over the top and fold the dough like a letter. Pat it into an oval again, sprinkle the remaining raisins, and fold it again. Knead the dough by hand for a few minutes to distribute the raisins through the dough.
Return the dough to the bowl and cover. Let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about an hour. Meanwhile, combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and beat together the egg and water in a second bowl.
Divide the dough into two pieces. Working with one piece at a time, roll the dough out on the counter. It should be slightly less wide than your baking pan and as long as you can make it. The thinner the dough, the more layers of crazy-good cinnamon swirl you’ll end up with. If the dough starts to shrink back on you, let it rest for a few minutes and then try again.
Brush the entire surface of the dough with egg wash, leaving about two inches clear at the top. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon and sugar. Starting at the end closest to you, roll up the dough. When you get to the top, pinch the seam closed. Transfer the loaf to your loaf pan seam-side down. Repeat with the other half of the dough.
Let the loaves rise until mounded over the top of the pan and pillowy, 30-40 minutes. Halfway through rising, preheat the oven to 375° F.
Brush the top with some of the remaining egg wash. If desired, sprinkle some of your remaining cinnamon-sugar over the tops of the loaves as well. Bake for 40-45 minutes until golden brown.
Remove the loaves from the pans and allow them to cool completely before slicing. Baked loaves can also be frozen for up to three months.

4 comments:

  1. Mmmm sounds like the perfect breakfast. And the swirls look so pretty and neat!

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  2. I do have the same feelings when it comes to baking bread. No matter how long you have been doing it, even successfully, it is always a great sense of achievement with a bonus wonderful smell in your house! I never get tired of it! Your bread looks wonderful and your photos are superb!

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  3. ha homemade bread is my weakness. and my fave sorta breakfast. ;)

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  4. i know right! i absolutely adore the smell of freshly baked bread. wish i can bottle it up as perfume. thanks Renata for the kind words. ^^

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