This is why I bake. (Cinnamon Raisin Bread)

This is why I bake. I wander around the kitchen, smelling that the floor desperately needs to be mopped, half chilled in my sleep shorts. Out comes the half-finished apple butter to simmer on the back of the stove, the milk and butter to melt together and receive the yeast, the coconut to toast and become brown and a little crunchy around the edges. I stare at the crowded counter and wonder for the fortieth time if I could possibly rearrange my roommate’s dish rack and hot-pot and actually have a tiny bit of space. The hot milk burns my wrist and I realize that the apple butter and the cinnamon bread will actually go together. The music changes and I link together a few steps in the tiny square feet of this kitchen and wonder how I feel so much better this morning than I did last night.

Last night, I had cold cereal for breakfast.
Why I am standing in my kitchen, in the early-noon morning of New York, listening to whatever iTunes chooses and pondering why? Because when I cook, I feel real and that’s enough for me.

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

This is a completely classic cinnamon raisin bread and there’s not much else that needs to be said.

I made this recipe exactly as written, except I added in 1 cup of raisins.

Cinnamon Bread
Adapted, barely, from Ree Drummond
Makes 1 loaf. Allow 5.5 hours, 30 minutes working.

1 cup milk
6 tablespoons butter
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 eggs
1/3 cup sugar
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon butter, softened
2 tablespoons butter, softened (second butter)
1/3 cup sugar (second sugar)
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 cup raisins

Over low-medium heat, melt together the butter with the milk to just before boiling, then allow to cool til a drop doesn’t burn the inside of the wrist. Sprinkle the yeast over the top and allow to soften for 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, beat together the sugar and the eggs until combined, then add the milk/yeast slurry and stir until well mixed. Add half the flour and the salt and stir until combined. Stir in as much of the remaining flour as possible, then turn out onto floured countertop and knead for ten minutes. (If the dough is too sticky, add another 1/4 cup of flour and knead for five minutes more.) Shape into a ball.

Drizzle the oil into heatproof mixing bowl and place the dough inside, turning it so all surfaces are coated with oil. Cover with a clean dishtowel and set in a warm place for two hours, or until it has doubled in size.

Use the one tablespoon of butter to liberally grease the inside of the loaf pan. Punch the dough down, then roll out into a neat rectangle as wide as your loaf pan and 24″ long. Combine the cinnamon and second sugar together. Smear the two tablespoons of softened butter on the dough and sprinkle liberally with the cinnamon sugar, all the way to the edge. Spread the raisins evenly over the cinnamon sugar.

Roll up the dough and pinch the seam closed. Place it seam side down in the loaf pan. Cover with a dish cloth, set in a warm place and allow to rise for two hours, or until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 350. Bake the bread for 40 minutes, or until the crust is golden and it sounds hollow when you knock on it. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edge and flip out to cool on a wire rack the rest of the way.

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2 Responses to This is why I bake. (Cinnamon Raisin Bread)

  1. Joanne says:

    Totally agreed…I am never more at peace, or calmer, than when I am baking or cooking. Or eating bread. That's pretty calming also. This sounds delicious!

  2. The Baker says:

    This bread looks so good!!! Cinnamon raison bread… Yum!!

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