I don’t worry about my kneading technique. I don’t fret about the yeast or rising times. Even shaping the dough doesn’t cause me consternation. What’s my biggest fear when it comes to baking bread? Making enough.
I love the idea of having nothing but home-baked bread on my counter. The reality is much more challenging. Store-bought loaves, secured in plastic with a wire twist tie, seem to last indefinitely, while home-baked bread goes from slightly misshapen loaf to crumbs overnight. For the bread baker of the family, the rapid consumption of one’s product is alarming.
I’ve long been devoted to the principle of making two loaves of bread at a time. It yields more product for the effort and offers yeasty reassurance that one won’t have to return to the kitchen for another round on a daily basis. This summer, I checked out Peter Reinhart’s cookbook Artisan Breads Every Day from my public library. I quickly reached the renewal limit and did not hesitate to buy a copy for my own library.
Two things had me hooked on Reinhart’s recipes. The first was the long rise time. Once made, the dough must sit in your refrigerator at least overnight but can last as long as four days. For anyone who has spent an afternoon tending to a rising loaf, a long rise time that operates on your time frame is a real gift.
The second thing that I loved is a product of the first. With the dough lasting up to 4 days in the refrigerator, I was able to bake off one loaf right away and then follow it with a second loaf later in the week. In short, a little effort at the beginning of the week yielded a week’s worth of fresh bread for our small family. What’s not to love about that?
This recipe for Whole Wheat Cinnamon Raisin Swirl bread merges Peter Reinhart’s “Everyday 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread” from his cookbook with Melissa Clark’s recipe for Cinnamon-Raisin Swirl Bread published by the New York Times. It makes two loaves and produces a bread worth toasting.
Whole Wheat Cinnamon-Raisin Swirl Bread – Printer Friendly Recipe
Makes 2 sandwich loaves
Do you want bread for morning toast and lunchtime sandwiches? Half the amount of cinnamon-raisin filling called for in the recipe. Bake one cinnamon-raisin swirl loaf and then bake another loaf without the cinnamon-raisin filling for whole-wheat sandwich bread. Problem solved.
For the dough:
794 g (about 6 ¼ cups) whole wheat flour (for best results, weigh the flour)
1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt
5 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 large egg
¼ cup canola oil, more for greasing
1 ¼ cups lukewarm buttermilk
1 ¼ cups lukewarm water
5 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast
For the cinnamon-raisin swirl:
1/3 cup dry sherry
1 cup raisins
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
½ cup dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
To make the dough, stir together the flour, salt and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg and oil. In another bowl, combine the water, buttermilk and active dry yeast. Allow the mixture to sit for about five minutes or until the yeast begins to foam.
With the mixer on low, add the egg/oil mixture and the yeast mixture to the dry ingredients. Stir on low speed for about 1 minute. Allow the dough to sit for five minutes.
Switch to a dough hook from the paddle attachment and mix on medium-low speed for another two minutes. The dough should be malleable and just slightly sticky. If too dry, add a tablespoon of water at a time until the right consistency is reached. If too wet, add a tablespoon of flour at a time.
Continue to mix on medium-low speed for another 4 minutes. At the end of the four minutes, mix on medium-high speed for about 20 seconds. Scrape the dough out of the bowl and onto a lightly floured counter. Knead the dough briefly, about 20 seconds, then shape into a ball and let it sit, covered, for 10 minutes. Knead the dough two more times letting it rest, covered, for 10 minutes each time.
If you plan to bake your loaves off at different times, lightly oil two bowls. Divide the dough in half and place each half in a bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough overnight and for as long as four days.
If baking off both loaves at once you do not need to divide the dough at this time and can place it in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough overnight or for as long as 4 days.
On the day you plan to bake off your bread, bring the sherry to a boil in a small saucepan. Let boil for 1 minute then add the raisins and remove the saucepan from the heat. Let the raisins sit for at least ten minutes. Whisk together the cinnamon and dark brown sugar in a medium bowl. Use your fingers to work in the butter. Set aside.
Three hours before you plan to bake your bread remove the dough from the refrigerator. If baking two loaves at the same time, divide the dough in half and working with one loaf at a time roll it out to a large 14-inch by 8-inch rectangle on a lightly floured work surface. Sprinkle the dough with half the sugar mixture. Drain the raisins and sprinkle half of them over the sugar. Starting with the shorter side of one end of the rectangle carefully roll up the dough and place it in a greased, 8 ½-inch loaf pan.
If baking two loaves at the same time, repeat this process with the second dough using up the remaining sugar mixture and raisins. If planning to bake your second loaf later in the week tightly wrap the raisins and the sugar mixture with plastic wrap for later use.
Cover the loaf (or loaves) loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm, draft-free place for three hours or until almost double in size. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown and the internal temperature of each loaf is 185 degrees F.
Remove from the oven and let sit for five minutes. Turn the loaf (or loaves) out on a wire rack and let cool before slicing. Enjoy!