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Photo by: Michael Maes
Cinnamon sugar is swirled through this tender loaf as it is shaped. After the first rising, the raisins are kneaded into the dough. I love this bread warm from the oven, but after a day or two, it toasts beautifully. My method, which mixes the dry ingredients, including the yeast, before adding the warm liquid, saves preparation time.
Place 1 cup flour, sugar, yeast, and salt in a bowl of a heavy-duty mixer.
Heat water, milk and shortening in a small saucepan to 120 to 130°F (49 to 54°C). It will feel hot on you wrist. Add mixture to mixer bowl and beat on Medium speed 2 minutes. Beat in egg. Stir in enough additional flour to make a soft dough.
To knead by hand, place dough on a well-floured surface and shape it roughly into a ball. Place your fingers on top, curled slightly over the ball, and pull the dough toward you. Then push dough away, using the palms of your hands. Turn dough ¼ turn and repeat.
When you begin kneading, the dough will be sticky. Add flour a little at a time. As you knead, keep your fingers together and use the palms of your hands. Knead dough 8 to 10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. You should not use more than 3¼ cups (393 g) of flour, total.
To judge whether the dough has been sufficiently kneaded, place it on the work surface, pull both ends gently, and release. The dough should be elastic and spring back. The dough should also be smooth and have little blisters of air that you can see under the surface.
Shape dough into a ball by pulling sides underneath to form a smooth top. Place it, top side down, in an oiled bowl. Turn the dough right side up, thus coating it with a little oil. Cover loosely with plastic wrap.
Let dough rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until doubled. When it has doubled in size, the imprint will remain when you poke two fingers into it. Punch dough down and place it on a lightly floured surface. Knead in the raisins. Cover and let dough rest a few minutes to relax the gluten.
To Make the Filling:
Grease a 9 x 5-inch (22.5 x 12.5-cm) loaf pan. Roll the dough to a 16 x 8-inch (40 x 20-cm) rectangle. Brush with melted butter. Combine the sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over dough. Starting with the short end roll the dough up tightly. (If dough isn’t rolled tightly there will be a hold in the middle of the bread.) Pinch ends and seam and place seam side down in the pan.
Let dough rise again for about 30 minutes or until doubled. Test by pressing dough lightly. If your finger leaves only a slight imprint the dough is ready.
Heat oven to 357°F (190°C) with oven rack in lower third. Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until deep golden brown and loaf sounds hollow when thumped. Using an instant-read thermometer, measure temperature in center of loaf. It should read 190°F (88°C) or higher.
Remove loaf from pan by loosening around side and lifting from the bottom. Cool on wire cooling rack. You must let loaf cool slightly before slicing.
Baker’s Notes: Because the yeast is mixed with the flour before the liquid is added, the liquid can be heated to a higher temperature. This method helps the dough rise faster.
Try using dried cranberries instead of raisins. They add a touch of crimson and a tangy sweetness.
Secret to Success: Roll the dough tightly to avoid a hold in the middle of the loaf.
Nutritional informational is based on 9 servings, and using 3 cups of sugar.
Nutrients per serving (% daily value)