>> Thursday, December 17, 2009
Wow. So this whole X-mas thing is next week. As in, a mere seven days away. And I'm definitely not ready. Last night after work, I trekked out to Target to do a little shopping, and it was an absolute madhouse. I'm sure it'll only get worse, but -- alas -- I didn't find anything I was looking for. Just too many decor items I wanted. Ugh! As well, we woke to several inches of unexpected snow this morning. It's chilly. It's slippery. It's not great running weather (unless you put spikes on your shoes, which we're both seriously thinking of investing in).
Guess it's time to indulge my other senses. Grow a layer of extra fat to stay warm. Well, hopefully not that last part. Tonight's gym activities include power yoga and intervals on the bike. Perhaps a mile or two on the tiny indoor track. But that drives me insane. I am, however, happy to report that I'm not confined only to the bike. My foot seems to be all better -- no joke. I'm looking forward to a 10 to 12 miler on Sunday, depending on the temperature.
CINNAMON RAISIN BREAD!
This recipe is from the Martha Stewart Baking Handbook -- a GREAT cookbook that I highly, highly recommend. (Actually, I think I've already recommended it. But it's early, so I'll just do it again.) The recipe in the book yields two loaves. However, I halved it (which is what I'm providing below), and it turned out great. As well, I've provided the more "normal" ingredients in parentheses (as well as some specific ingredient suggestions), but I made it vegan and, again, it turned out GREAT.
What you'll need . . .
. . . for the bread:
- 1 1/8 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 cup warm soy milk (about 110F)
- 1 lb 1 oz (about 3 1/4 cups) bread flour, plus more for dusting
- 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) Earth Balance or butter, room temperature, cut into pieces, plus more for pan
- 1/4 cup sugar (In the Raw works well)
- 2 tablespoons water + 1 tablespoon canola oil + 2 teaspoons baking powder (or one large egg)
- 1 1/4 tsp salt (I used coarse, Kosher salt)
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon
. . . for the filling:
- 3/4 cups sugar (In the Raw works well)
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tbsp water
Method . . .
- Make the dough: In the bowl of an electric mixer, sprinkle the yeast over the warm milk; whisk to combine. Add the flour, Earth Balance (or butter), sugar, cinnamon, water + canola oil + baking powder (or egg), and salt. Attach bowl to mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix on low speed until all the ingredients are well combined, about 3 minutes. Raise the speed to medium-low, and continue to mix until the dough is uniformly smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 3 minutes more
- Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Pat out dough into a 9 inch round, about 1 1/4 inches thick. Sprinkle with raisins and knead until they are just incorporated. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, and cover with an oiled sheet of plastic wrap; let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
- Return the dough to a lightly floured work surface, and pat into a round. Fold in the following manner: Fold the bottom third of the dough up, the top third down, and the right and left sides over, tapping the dough after each fold to release excess flour, and pressing down to seal. Return the dough to the bowl, seam side down, and let rise again -- covered -- until doubled in bulk, about 40 minutes.
- Make the filling: Combine sugar and cinnamon with water in a small bowl. Return the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Roll out one half to a 12 by 10 inch rectangle and sprinkle with the filling.
- Generously butter a 9x5 inch loaf pan; set aside. With a short end of the rectangle facing you, fold in both long sides of the dough, about 1 inch. Then roll the dough toward you, gently pressing as you go to form a tight log. Gently roll the log back and forth to seal the seam. Place the loaf in a prepared pan, seam side down. Cover pan loosely with lightly oiled plastic wrap, and let rest in a warm place until dough rises just above the rim of the pan, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Transfer pan to a rimmed baking sheet. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until loaf is golden brown, about 45 minutes (for me, it took 40 minutes). If the tops begin to brown too quickly, tent with aluminum foil -- and I did have to do this.
- Turn out the bread onto a wire rack to cool completely before slicing. This is important because ALL of the sugar mixture shoots out if you don't wait. It's a delicious landslide, but just wait, and yours will turn out better. :) The bread can be kept at room temperature up to 4 days, in a tightly sealed container.