Tuesday, June 15, 2010

My Tuesday with Dorie: Raisin Swirl Bread

First of all, woo-hoo! I had figured it would be my turn to pick sometime this year but getting Laurie's email for June was a huge surprise. I spent a harried 24 hours or so flicking back and forth between recipes, trying to select something that I would not only love to bake but that said something about me.

My very first TWD post was for the Chocolate Puddings back on 15 July 2008. I wasn't even an official member at that stage but was playing along at home until I could order my copy of Baking. My blog was only a few days old and it was less than a month since my mum passed away. Baking and blogging seemed like a wonderful distraction at a really difficult time. Since then I have gotten married, had a baby and reached the 200 post mark.

All of this brings me to my reason for choosing the Raisin Swirl Bread this week. Baking bread is such a comforting, homey thing to do. There's nothing quite like the smell or taste of your own fresh bread and it is something I hope my kids remember from their childhood as I do.

I loved this bread and I hope anyone who was scared of yeast (or raisins!) had a go and was happy with the results!

Raisin Swirl Bread
pp 59-60 of Baking: From My Home to Yours

For the bread:
1 packet active dry yeast
1/4 cup sugar, plus a pinch
1 1/4 cups just-warm-to-the-touch whole milk
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons or 60g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (optional)
Grated zest of 1/2 orange (optional)
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
3 3/4 to 4 cups all-purpose (plain) flour

For the swirl:
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder (optional)
1 cup moist, plump raisins (dark or golden)
3 tablespoons (45 grams) unsalted butter, softened to a spreadable consistency

To make the bread:
Put the yeast in a small bowl, toss in the pinch of sugar and stir in 1/4 cup of the warm milk. Let rest for 3 minutes, then stir - the yeast may not have dissolved completely and it may not have bubbled, but it should be soft.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the remaining 1 cup of milk, the butter and the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and mix for a minute or two. Add the salt, egg and vanilla, if you are using it, as well as the zest and nutmeg, if you're using them, and mix for a minute. In all likelihood, the mixture will look unpleasantly curdly (it will look even worse when you add the yeast). Add the yeast mixture and beat on low-medium speed for 1 minute more.

Turn the mixer off and add 2 3/4 cups of the flour. Mix on low speed just until you work the flour into the liquids - you'll have a sticky mix. If you've got a dough hook, switch to it now. Add another 1 cup of flour, increase the mixer speed to medium and beat the dough for a couple of minutes. If the dough does not come together and almost clean the sides of the bowl, add up to 1/4 cup more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. Keep the mixer speed at medium and knead the dough for about 3 minutes, or until it is smooth and has a lovely buttery sheen. The dough will be very soft, much too soft to knead by hand.

Butter a large bowl, turn the dough into a bowl and cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Put the bowl in a warm place and let the dough rise until it is doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

Scrape the dough onto a large piece of plastic wrap, wrap it and put it in the freezer for 30 minutes to firm enough to be rolled easily. (At this point, you can instead refrigerate the dough overnight if that is more convenient).




To make the swirl and shape the loaf:
Butter a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.

Whisk together the sugar, cinnamon and cocoa, if you're using it. Check that the raisins are nice and moist; if they're not, steam them for a minute, then dry them well.

Put the dough on a large work surface lightly dusted with flour, lightly dust the top of the dough and roll the dough into a rectangle about 12 x 18 inches.

Gently smear 2 tablespoons of the butter over the surface of the dough - this is most easily done with your fingers. Sprinkle over the sugar mixture and scatter over the raisins. Starting from a short side of the dough, roll the dough up jelly-roll fashion, making sure to roll the dough snugly. Fit the dough into the buttered pan, seam side down, and tuck the ends under the loaf.

Cover the pan loosely with wax paper and set in a warm place; let the dough rise until it comes just a little above the edges of the pan, about 45 minutes.

Getting ready to bake:
When the dough has almost fully risen, centre a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees Celsius). Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat.

Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter, and brush the top of the loaf with the butter. Put the pan on the baking sheet and bake the bread for about 20 minutes. Cover loosely with a foil tent and bake for another 25 minutes or so, until the bread is golden and sounds hollow when the bottom of the pan is tapped. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for 5 minutes, then unmold. Invert the bread and cool to room temperature right side up on the rack.

I have to confess to slicing my bread while it was still warm and I ended up with raisins scattered everywhere. But it was totally worth it ... it is sensational straight from the oven!

Oh and it also makes spectacular cinnamon toast the next day!

Thank you in advance to everyone who baked along with me this week and huge thanks to Laurie for creating such a wonderful group and Dorie for her fabulous book! :-)

48 comments:

  1. I might be a little early commenting, but mine's about to go in the oven and I can't wait to try it based on your pictures! Your bread looks amazing - thank you so much for picking this one!

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  2. This was so yummy! What a great pick, and your loaf looks fantastic! Thanks for hosting this week, and for choosing this recipe for us.

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  3. This was a superb choice Susan! Love the idea of having it the next morning toasted with more cinnamon & sugar. Your loaf looks exactly like Dories! Well done.

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  4. Great pick Susan - I enjoyed this.

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  5. What a great pick! We loved it. Your bread looks wonderful, and that slice of toast...irresistable! Thanks for picking this one, we all enjoyed it.

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  6. Thanks for a wonderful pick. We all enjoyed it at my house and made the leftovers into french toast the next day. Hooray for fresh bread!

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  7. Susan, thank you for this great pick! I love raisins and raisin bread, so I was thrilled when I saw this on the June list. Your loaf looks just fantastic.

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  8. Did you sprinkle a little sugar on top? Great idea--looks wonderful. Bread is my absolute favorite so I'm glad you chose it for us this week.

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  9. LOVED the recipe. Even though I left out the raisins, I still thoroughly enjoyed this one. And can I say that your loaf looks like you pulled it straight out of BFMHTY?!? Fantastic!!

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  10. Your bread looks wonderful, Susan! I love baking bread, too, and am glad that you picked this recipe for us.

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  11. This bread was divine! Thanks for a great choice. My only complaint was that it disappeared too quickly.

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  12. Great pick, your loaf is beautiful. I love the nutmeg in it. My bread did the 'hallow' thing. I would like to know why. It will make great bread pudding.

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  13. Your bread looks gorgeous and perfect with a tight swirl! Great job and great choice for this week.

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  14. Oooh yours looks so fluffy and such a pretty swirl! My post will be up a little later tomorrow, it's baked but I lost my sunlight for photos, so I'll slice it tomorrow. It sure smells good though!

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  15. LOVED this recipe and everything about it. Thanks for choosing a WINNER! I totally agree - very homey and comforting to make, bake and eat. I've made it 3 times already and plan to make more. By the way - I'm copying your swirl - it's so perfect!

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  16. Ciao Susan ! thank you so much for the wonderful choice ! We adored it !

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  17. Susan,
    Count me in as "Happy With The Recipe!!!" I loved this bread and my 16 year old (only one left at home Corbin,/I'm old) loved it too. he he He is a junk food baby. Unlike the other persnickety eaters remaining in the abode. he he Loved your post and that you selected one I was thinking of as well. So we both win because we got to make it. Lovely post btw.

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  18. Your bread looks wonderful! Thanks for a great pick this week!

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  19. My family loved this bread. My husband ate half the loaf. Your bread looks perfect.

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  20. this bread smelled so delicious when baking, and tasted even better for breakfast this morning! an awesome selection!

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  21. thank you for such a FABULOUS choice recipe!! I already am making plans to make it again!! Yours looks amazing--and wow the French toast looks super yummy!

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  22. This was a fabulous pick! And your bread looks beautiful. Thanks for hosting. I enjoyed baking AND eating this bread! I'm going to try your extra cinnamon suggestion tomorrow on my last slice!

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  23. Thank you so much! This was terrific and I love the last picture of yours with the cinnamon sugar! Delicious!!

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  24. Your choice was excellent! Thank you so much for choosing it. I love homemade bread and this recipe was so good!!
    Your bread looks great, I love the last picture the best!

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  25. Thanks, Susan! I never thought I would be able to bake a perfect loaf of bread. Excellent pick. :D

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  26. Great pick! Thanks for hosting!!

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  27. Oooh, perfect! Thanks for the great pick!

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  28. I loved this! A simple bread recipe that does exactly what it's supposed to do. Thanks for picking it!

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  29. I loved this recipe. It's surprising how yeast bread can initially seem like a big undertaking, but it's actually one of the least time intensive recipes when you look at actual work time.

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  30. wow that must be THE most perfect swirl I have ever seen! thanks for hosting, I loved the french toast application w/this recipe :)

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  31. Great pick, Susan. I kept thinking about it and looking over the recipe and for some reason not being excited about it. (I'm not afraid of yeast and break making.) But on Saturday, I went ahead and made it--in to cinnamon rolls. The dough was great to work with and it made great rolls. They were eaten up!
    Now I can't wait to use this recipe to make swirl bread sometime.
    You've done a perfect job!

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  32. your swirl is PERFECT! thanks for this pick--I loved it!

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  33. Oooh, cinnamon toast! I'll have to try that with a slice of my bread. I loved your post and learning a bit about your blog. I didn't begin baking bread until my daughters were gone from the house, but I've plied them with homemade bread of all types every time they're home! Thanks for the lovely pick.

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  34. This was an excellent recipe. Your pictures are really great. Thanks for being our hostess this week.
    Mimi

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  35. Oh, wow! Your bread looks amazing! That swirl is just so perfect! I have never had much suvvess with cinnamon swirl bread, but leave it to Dorie! I am totally trying this recipe.

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  36. Your swirl is perfect! This looks great! Thanks for the pick this week. I had serious trouble, but will try again someday.

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  37. Thanks for hosting this week - great choice, it was a hit at my house and I plan to add it to my weekly baking just so I can watch my baby boy trying to stuff two fistfuls in his mouth again and again :)

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  38. Good pick. Good bread. Good toasted. Yours looks better than good.

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  39. A absolutely perfect loaf! Thank you for picking this - it's really got me interested in making bread.

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  40. your bread and pictures are gorgeous, I am loving your blog, I love to bake and you have lots of yummy stuff here, will stop back in real soon

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  41. My husband loved this more than the giant cinnamon twist he gets at our favorite doughnut shop! :)

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  42. Looks yummy! I haven't worked with yeast much, but I'm liking it so far and having fun experimenting with yeast breads. I invite you to visit my baking blog: http://www.bakingpower.com/

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  43. This is sooo good. OMG! My mom and I ate the entire thing by ourselves. We loved every minute of it! Made the best cinnamon toast I've ever had :)

    I'll definitely be making this over and over again...next time I wanna try making french toast with it!
    Yum :) thanks for the post!

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  44. Thanks so much for sharing the recipe. I made this today and it was fantastic!!!

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  45. happy new year! i finally got to making this, and boy, was it good!

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  46. Can you update the instructions for those of us without a several hundred dollar stand mixer? I know that its a must have item any more but I just don't have one. I saw you did this for your burger bun recipe already!

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