I really love cinnamon raisin bread and all bread, in general. But baking bread is a major time commitment, so I rarely do it. But, I stayed home from work one day this week with a little head-cold and decided that I'd make myself soup and bake some bread. You may (probably don't) remember that I've already posted a recipe for Cinnamon Raisin Bread on my blog. That one is awesome. Its basically a cinnamon raisin challah. This current recipe is a bit easier than the old one, and a bit healthier (only 1 stick of butter, rather than 2; although, lets be honest, no cinnamon raisin bread is healthy), AND I think it might really be the best cinnamon raisin bread in the world. After being out of the oven for 20 minutes I had already eaten 3 slices. Makes 3 loaves. I've adapted the original recipe a bit: from http://www.food.com. And, as you can see, this lovely picture was taken by the one and only Jason A. Volpe. He's the best.
1 cup warm water (110-115 degrees)
2 (1/4 ounce) packages active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups milk (or buttermilk, or a combo)3 eggs
3/4 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cup raisins, plumped in water & vanilla
~8 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
3 tablespoons cinnamon
6 tablespoons butter, melted
Pour the warm water in a large bowl and add the packets of yeast. Let dissolve about 10 minutes, until frothy. Meanwhile, heat the milk in the microwave until it reaches about 120-125 degrees (this should take less than a minute). Once the the yeast is frothy, add the eggs, sugar, cinnamon, salt, butter, and drained raisins and stir to combine. Add the milk slowly and stir. Slowly (1 cup at a time) add the flour, stirring with a wooden spoon after each addition. You might need more or less flour than 8 cups. Stop adding flour once the bread is not too sticky and is stiff.
Knead the dough on a floured surface for 3 or 4 minutes until smooth.
Grease a large bowl and put the dough inside, rolling it around so all of the dough gets greased. Cover the bowl with a warm damp kitchen towel and place in your oven with the light on (but NOT the heat). Let rise in the oven for 1 1/2 hours, or until dough has doubled in size.
Remove the dough and cut into 3 equal sized pieces. Roll each piece into a rectangle (15x8ish). Pour 1/3 of the melted butter on top and spread around the surface. Mix together the sugars and cinnamon and spread 1/3 of it on top of the butter. Starting at one end roll the dough tightly lengthwise and pinch the end to close it. Pinch the edges and roll them under the loaf. Place in a greased loaf pan and let rise for 1 hour.
After the 2nd rising, bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Remove from oven once the bread sounds hollow when you tap it. Let cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes and then remove loaves from pans and continue cooling.