Occasionally I’m asked what inspires me to cook or to bake.
Usually, it’s just because I’m hungry.
Occasionally, it’s because I’m feeling creative or experimental.
And other times, it’s because I want to eat my son’s baby food.
A weekend or two ago I was feeding Baby Boy his breakfast. Cinnamon Raisin Granola. Man, I thought, as I scooped another spoonful from the jar and fed it to my eager Boy, this stuff smells good!
He finished up his breakfast, and when I got to my cereal – or waffle or whatever it was – it just didn’t satisfy. I wanted something with cinnamon and raisin. I wanted cinnamon raisin bread. And so once again I put on my bread baking hat and got to it; and behold the results!
Cinnamon raisin bread is actually pretty easy to make. It’s a somewhat time consuming process simply because of the two risings you have to allow, so don’t expect to be making and eating this for breakfast same day – which I did.
But don’t let the time scare you. The actual hands-on work is really pretty simple and straightforward. Honestly, the hardest part of this recipe is not drooling while the delicious cinnamon sugar bread aroma wafts through your kitchen and into the rest of your house.
This cinnamon raisin bread is great hot out of the oven, or a day or two later toasted with some butter. If you’re into french toast (we aren’t really) I bet this would be great to use.
Dissolve yeast in warm water and set aside until yeast is frothy, about 10 minutes or so.
Warm the milk in a small sauce pan on the stove until it just starts to bubble, stirring occasionally.Remove from heat and let cool until lukewarm, about 120-125 degrees.
In a stand mixer or medium size mixing bowl, mix yeast/water, eggs, sugar, butter, salt, and raisins. Add milk slowly. Then add flour gradually until you have a stiff dough (you may need to add a little extra flour to reach the right consistency)
Once mixed and stiff enough to work with your hands without being too tacky, transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and kneed for a few minutes until smooth. Form dough into a ball and place in a large bowl that has been sprayed or buttered.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and then a dish towel. Place it in your oven with the light on (the small amount of heat from the light helps provide just a little heat to aid in rising). Allow to rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.
Roll out on a lightly floured surface into a large rectangle 1/2 inch thick.
Moisten the dough with 2 tablespoons milk and rub all over the dough with your hands.
Mix together 3 tablespoons brown sugar, 3 tablespoons white sugar, and 1 tablespoon cinnamon and sprinkle mixture evenly on top of the moistened dough. Roll up tightly (the long way). The roll should be about 3 inches in diameter. Tuck under ends and pinch bottom together.
Place loaf into well greased (either with butter or cooking spray) 9 x 5 inch pan and lightly grease top of loaf (we sprayed). Let rise in warm place, uncovered, again for about an hour.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until loaf is lightly browned and sound hollow when tapped. Remove from oven and let cool on rack. After about 20 minutes, lay loaf on it's sides and remove from pans. Allow to cool before slicing.