Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Raisin Bread

This is like a for-real bread recipe, yeast and everything.  It's delicious and surprisingly easy to make.  It does take a lot of steps, so you need to devote an afternoon to it, but 3-4 hours is just rising time.  And, there's no kneading!

This recipe comes from in the January/February 2011 issue of Food Network Magazine and is crafted by their resident healthy cook, Ellie Krieger.  The recipe uses whole wheat flour and honey which cuts down on calories but it still has a wonderful flavor and a subtle sweetness, enhanced by the raisins and aided by the cinnamon.  To be honest, I only decided to make this recipe because I have a huge bag of raisins that I wanted to use up.  The recipe only calls for 2/3 cup of raisins, which I increased to a cup. (I'm going to have to make a lot more loaves to finish my bag.)  This recipe would also be awesome without the raisins, just as a cinnamon bread.  I would add some cinnamon with the dough and then pile it on when you roll it up.

Finally, I've never actually measured my bread pans.  Turns out one is 9 x 6 inches and the other is 9 x 4 inches.  The recipe calls for two 9 x 5 inch pans.  So I divided the dough accordingly and got two slightly different sized loaves.  It didn't vary the baking time or end product.

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Raisin Bread


2 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk
1 egg
2 Tablespoons canola oil, plus more for brushing
3 Tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons instant dry yeast (Note: Surprise--one of those little packets of yeast is more than 1 1/2 teaspoons.  Make sure you measure it out!)
2/3 - 1 cup raisins
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cinnamon (I didn't actually measure this--I just shook, a lot, from the jar)
1/3 cup packed brown sugar

To make the dough, measure out 1 1/4 cups very warm water.  It's important to check the temperature; it should read between 120-130 degrees F (for the yeast to do its thing).  In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine both flours, dry milk, egg, canola oil, honey, salt, yeast and warm water using the dough hook. 

Mix for 3 minutes on the lowest setting, then increase to the next setting and mix 3 more minutes.  You'll have a soft and sticky dough.

Spray a large bowl with cooking spray and transfer dough to bowl.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let it rise at room temperature until the dough has nearly doubled in size, about 1 hour and 30 minutes. 


During the last 30 minutes of your dough rising, soak your raisins in boiling water.  Otherwise, the raisins will pull moisture from your bread and cause it to dry out.  Put the raisins in a bowl, cover completely with boiling water and soak until they plump.  It takes about 30 minutes.  I forgot to do this step, so I let my dough rise for a total of 2 hours while I rehydrated the raisins.  Drain and pat dry.


Transfer dough to a floured work surface.  Picture it as a loose square.  Lift up one side of the dough and fold about one-third of it across; press down on the dough with spread fingers to remove any air bubbles.  Repeat with remaining three sides of dough.

Mist two 9 x 5 inch bread pans with cooking spray.  (Or in my case, a 9 x 4 and a 9 x 5.)

Dive the dough in half and roll out each half into an 8 x 8 inch square. (no joke--I can roll bread dough into a square!  Must try tactic in rolling cookie dough!) 

Brush each square with canola oil, then sprinkle with the cinnamon, brown sugar and raisins.

Roll up each square of dough into a tight cylinder.

Place seam-side down in the prepared pans.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until the dough fills the pans and springs back with touched; abut 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Brush loaves with canola oil and bake in an oven preheated to 375 degrees F until golden brown, about 25-30 minutes. 

Remove from pans and transfer to rack to cool completely.

Makes 2 loaves.

Happy Baking,
The Cookie Princess

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