I should perhaps call the latest bread in the BBA Challenge my Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread–not to eliminate all the suspense at the outset, but my modifications were to leave out the nuts and include a cinnamon swirl. I am generally happy to leave out nuts–no thank you in brownies, chocolate chip cookies, etc–but how could I not add a cinnamon swirl?
I had never read the Cinnamon Raisin Walnut Bread recipe through before but always admired the picture–I had often wondered how it achieved that lovely brown color without using whole wheat flour, assuming the whole time that the cinnamon was entirely contained in the swirl (this being how I’d made cinnamon bread in the past). As I read through, I realized the cinnamon is added to the dough itself, with two further options to “ramp up” cinnamon flavor–the cinnamon sugar swirl, and a cinnamon crust on top. I only opted for one of these special enhancements, the swirl, and I can’t imagine making it without in the future. As for the walnuts, I had meant to go outside my nut-free comfort zone and make one loaf with and one without, but when I realized I would have to split up the dough in the mixer, I bagged it.
Look at all that delicious cinnamon (as before, I used my “true” cinnamon–why skimp when it’s the showcase ingredient?)
I thought I would have to knead the raisins in by hand as at first they didn’t look like they were going to incorporate themselves into to the dough. But lo and behold, at the end of the recommended two minutes of mixing, they had worked their way in nicely.
The beautiful color is already evident, even before it bakes:
No picture of the rolling of the loaves adding the swirl, but it was similar to making the cinnamon rolls. Here are the shaped loaves, after their the second proofing:
I got to have some fun with the lame I got online, on sale. One more “official” breadbaking tool! Slash to create an outlet for the buildup of steam–if you don’t, the steam will figure out a way to escape in a more unsightly manner. Plus those slashes look very professional. (You can also use kitchen shears, or a serrated knife).
Here’s the baked loaf, with an obligatory shot (or two!) of the swirl. This recipe has definitely become my go-to cinnamon bread recipe: other recipes have the yummy filling, but after trying this, I am convinced you need the background flavor of cinnamon throughout the whole loaf, AND the shot of cinnamon sugar in the swirl.