Sunday, November 22, 2009

Play dough.

I cannot begin to tell you how much I love the fact that The Boss is a ready and willing helper when it comes to measuring and dumping and stirring whatever it is I'm baking or cooking these days. She used to run when the Kitchen Aid was on, but she's made her peace. No doubt she can figure out good things come from it! She requests space on the counter so that she has the best view and doesn't miss a step. We're a good team.

I've been trying a variety of bread recipes in an effort to be a better bread baker and learn how certain ingredients will affect the texture. I'm getting better with practice and it makes me appreciate the fact that people once baked their own bread every day.

I find bread is a fun thing to do with kids. Sure there is a lot of waiting around time, but their attention is so easily diverted anyway. The kids sure do love punching the dough down after the first rise. Fun! The Boss and her buddy helped me out with this batch--I'm not sure if they liked punching the dough down or swiping finger licks of the cinnamon sugar mix better.

The bread was good warm on the first day and made great toast (and probably would make great french toast) the next day. You'll see my version didn't have raisins because we simply didn't have any. Unconscionable in a toddler household!Brown Sugar Raisin Bread
Williams Sonoma

1 TBSP active dry yeast
3 TBSP granulated sugar
1 1⁄4 cups warm water (105° to 115°F)
1 cup warm milk (105° to 115°F)
3 TBSP unsalted butter, melted
1 TBSP salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
6 to 6 1⁄4 cups bread flour, plus more as needed
3⁄4 cup golden raisins
3⁄4 cup dark raisins

2⁄3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
mixed with 4 1⁄2 tsp. ground cinnamon

In a bowl, sprinkle the yeast and a pinch of the granulated sugar over 1⁄2 cup of the water and stir to dissolve. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, combine the remaining 3/4 cup water, the milk, butter, the remaining granulated sugar, salt, egg and 2 cups of the flour. Beat on medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Add the yeast mixture and 1⁄2 cup of the flour and beat for 1 minute. Add the raisins, then beat in the remaining flour, 1⁄2 cup at a time, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

Switch to the dough hook. Knead on medium-low speed, adding flour 1 TBSP at a time if the dough sticks, until smooth and elastic, about 4 minutes. My dough took another 1/2 cup of flour, so don't be surprised if you need a lot more. Transfer the dough to a greased deep bowl and turn to coat it. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, 1 to 1 1⁄2 hours.

Lightly grease two 9-by-5-inch loaf pans.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board. Divide the dough in half and roll or pat each half into an 8-by-12-inch rectangle. Lightly sprinkle each rectangle with half of the filling, leaving a 1-inch border on all sides. Beginning at a narrow end, tightly roll up each rectangle into a compact log. Pinch the ends and the long seam to seal in the filling. Place each log, seam side down, in a prepared pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until the dough is about 1 inch above the rim of each pan, 1 to 1 1⁄2 hours.

Preheat an oven to 350°F. Bake until the loaves are golden brown and pull away from the sides of the pan, 35 to 40 minutes. Turn the loaves out onto wire racks and let cool completely.
Makes two 9-by-5-inch loaves.


Amanda said...

looks delicious! I still want to make bread, but have not taken that adventure. However this weekend was full of muffins and cookies at my house :o)

(love love love that picture of the boss!)

jen said...

Well, I'm glad you were out of raisins as I prefer my cinnamon bread without :) And I hadn't even thought of making French toast with it - will have to try it!

Kelly said...

Isn't it fun to have a helper? Sydney helped me for the first time last night, we made a Pumpkin Roll for a teacher appreciation Thanksgiving lunch at her daycare. :)

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Life with Pog & FLeC said...

I wish I had the patience to do real baking like this. I make banana bread and bread that goes in to the machine. That's it. You're cool! Another great picture of The Boss!