Saturday, March 3, 2012

Half-the-Time Cinnamon Raisin Bread

There are no problems, just opportunities.

What started out as a problem – the plagiarism of one of my articles by another blog – opened the door to adding a new feature to this site that makes it easier to enjoy the dishes published here: a link at the bottom of the article to download a cookbook-style, notebook-ready copy of the recipe directly, in .pdf format. (Thank you for a great idea, Gitana!) Beginning with this week’s post, there is no longer a need to request a copy of the recipe via a separate e-mail, or to copy and paste the content of each article manually. With copying and pasting no longer necessary, it’s safe for me to adjust the settings so that it will no longer be possible. (As for the plagiarized material, efforts to have that removed are in progress.)

And now, for your gastronomical pleasure, I am pleased to bring you Half-the-Time Cinnamon Raisin Bread. The recipe combines a one-hour roll dough, raisins rehydrated with pomegranate juice, cinnamon and sugar to create a crusty, delicious treat.

A note about one-hour rolls and the dough used to make them. One-hour rolls are made with dough that has more yeast than regular dough, reducing time required for rising, proofing and baking to about an hour. In this recipe, the baking time is increased since we’re using the dough to make a loaf instead of rolls, but it’s still much less time than would be required for a regular dough.

This recipe makes one loaf.

Place 1-1/2 cups of raisins in a small bowl and add only enough pomegranate juice (usually about 6 ounces) to cover. Let the raisins rehydrate while you prepare the bread dough.

Begin preheating the oven to 200 degrees.

In a small bowl, dissolve two ¼ ounce packages of dry yeast and 3 tablespoons of  sugar in ½ cup of warm (about 110 degrees) water and let stand for 5 minutes. The mixture should become frothy.

Mix 3 cups of all-purpose flour, ½ teaspoon of baking soda, and 1-1/2 teaspoons of salt together in a large mixing bowl.

Add the yeast mixture, 1 cup of skim milk and 2 tablespoons of melted butter substitute. Mix while adding an additional cup of flour, 1/2 cup at a time, to form a dough.

When all of the flour is incorporated, knead the dough for 5 minutes, adding up to ½ cup of additional flour only if necessary for a smooth texture.Temporarily remove the dough from the bowl and place it on a lightly floured surface. Wipe the bowl out, rub the inside with butter substitute or a flavor-neutral oil,  and place the dough back in to the bowl.

Turn off the oven. Cover the bowl with foil greased with butter substitute or flavor-neutral oil, and place it in the warm oven till doubled in size, about 25 minutes.

While the dough is rising, combine the 1-1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon and 3 tablespoons of sugar. Also, drain the raisins very well and toss them with 2 tablespoons of flour.

Prepare a floured surface. To get an even distribution, it’s helpful to put the flour in a strainer and tap it as if sifting.

After the dough has risen, press it down to deflate it. Turn the dough onto your floured surface, and pat it into a rectangle about 6 inches by 12 inches by 3/4 of an inch thick.

Distribute the cinnamon sugar evenly over the dough. Spread the raisins evenly over the dough and gently press them into it.

Starting at a short side, keep the dough slightly taut while rolling it into a log. After rolling, pinch the seam to seal it. Place the loaf into an oiled 9 by 5 inch loaf pan, and cover with oiled plastic wrap. Let proof at room temperature for another 20 minutes.

While the bread is proofing, preheat oven to 425 degrees. (The top of the stove while the oven is preheating is a good place to proof the loaf.)

Bake for 15 minutes at 425 degrees. Lower oven temperature to 375 degrees and bake for an additional 20 minutes, or until an inserted knife or toothpick comes out clean

Let the loaf cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove the bread from the pan and place the loaf on a rack to cool. (Let cool completely before slicing, or the bread will fall apart.)

As promised, click here for a copy of the recipe in .pdf format!

I hope you enjoy this tasty, crusty breakfast bread, and that you’ll come back next week for another kitchen-tested, reduced-fat recipe! Till then, stay well, keep it about the food, and always remember to kiss the cook. ;-)

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