A perennial favorite at the farmers markets over the years, this bread finds fans in young and old alike. While the variety we sell at market is white we have made light wheat and even whole wheat versions, and you can adjust the kind of flour to suit your tastes by subbing whole wheat flour for the all-purpose. Since cinnamon has a starring role in this bread, make an effort to scout out the freshest spice available. My local co-op sells Vietnamese cinnamon in bulk and it is not even comparable to the pale, bland stuff in most supermarkets. We mix it with white sugar at a rate of one part cinnamon to twelve parts sugar. It’s also good with brown sugar and cinnamon. Don’t like raisins? Leave them out. Usually we don’t soak the raisins but if they seem very dry, cover them with boiling water and let them soak till they’ve cooled to lukewarm. Drain well and use the water in the recipe. Once I got busy with something else when the mixer was running and didn’t get it turned off when the timer rang. The soaked raisins got mashed into little pieces, spreading the raisin sweetness out into all of the dough. We had requests to make it like that again. So don’t worry about that. Still delicious. It makes excellent toast and French toast. Toast nirvana. Trust my granddaughter.
–Joan, 7 February 2016
CINNAMON RAISIN BREAD
- 1 1/3 cups (320 grams) buttermilk
- ½ cup (114 grams) water
- 2 tablespoons (28 grams) butter
- 2 tablespoons (56 grams) honey
- 3¼ cups (448 grams) bread flour
- 1¾ cups (245 grams) all-purpose or wheat flour
- 1½ teaspoons instant yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup (128 grams) raisins
Melt the butter and add to it the honey, water, and buttermilk. Microwave for 1-1½ minutes, just enough to warm it to about 100ºF. Mix together the dry ingredients, including yeast and raisins, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Pour in the wet ingredients and mix on low until all the flour is incorporated, adding additional water a tablespoon at a time if the dough seems dry, then turn to medium and mix for about 5 minutes. Dough should feel supple and soft. Turn into a greased container and cover. Turn out and fold in quarters (see pictures on Molasses Oat post if you’re unfamiliar with this technique) after 20 minutes, then again after another 20 minutes. Cover and set in a warm spot to rise until doubled in bulk.
Divide the raised dough into two pieces and pat each piece into a rough rectangle about 6″x8″. Sprinkle the pieces with sugar/cinnamon mixture. Using your fingers, poke down into the dough so it looks like the photo on the left above, then sprinkle on more sugar and cinnamon till you’ve used about ¼ cup per loaf. The indents you’ve made with your fingers help trap some of the sugar/cinnamon into little pockets. Tightly (this is really important here, tightly) roll each piece, seal the edge to the loaf and tuck the ends under, then place in greased 9″x5″ loaf pans. Cover and let them rise in a warm place until the tops are about 1″ above the lip of the pans and a finger poked into the loaf will leave an indent that does not spring back.
Bake in a preheated 350ºF oven for about 40 minutes. You may need to cover the tops with aluminum foil for the last 10 minutes or so to prevent over-browning. Turn the baked loaves out onto a cooling rack and let them lay on one side for 20 minutes, then turn over to the other side until they are completely cool, about 3 hours. To freeze, wrap tightly in aluminum foil and place in freezer-weight plastic bags.