Monday, March 19, 2007

More bread

you're getting more bread today. why? because i like bread too, and your house will smell really good when you bake it. you'll have to reaad the rest of this post to get to the surpris ending, which is the best cinnamon raisin bread you've ever had.

Ok, so i finally finished Lawhead's The Endless Knot. He's got this amazing knack for starting an epic tale, fleshing out the characters, imersing you, scaring you, seducing you. . . and then he paints himself into a corner, gets stuck, and keeps you in that corner with him while he tries to fumble his way out. i was less than impressed. I'd read the first book in The Song of Albion, The Paradise War again anytime, but the rest? not so much.

in better news, i'm in love with Ellis Avery's The Teahouse Fire. the quick version: it's the late 1800's, a young girl is taken to Japan with her missionary Uncle who is killed in a fire shortly after they arrive. The youngster is taken in by a Japanese household as a servant. Life ensues. the Meiji restoration occurs, Western trade begins, Samurai become a thing of the past, and Geishas are suddenly worldly women. I do adore novels like these: Young woman thrown into unexpected circumstances where she must adapt. and props to Avery, i've teared up about 10 times so far. i'll have to find some other books she's written.

On the immediate horizon are Anthony William's Scales, and Jennifer Caress's Perverted Realities. I have GOT to get past that title! but how would i ever read it in the lunchroom at work? i know it isn't dirty, but it shure sounds like it is!

no pictures today. sorry.

alright, you read through my boriness, now you get a reward. this truly is the most incredible cinamon raisin bread i've ever had. i learned the hard way, if the recipe says use bread flour, then, please! for the love of god and good bread, use bread flour! it's about $3 per 5 pounds. a small investment to not have to mess with a recipe.

you'll need:
1 packet dry yeast
1/4 cup + 1 3/4 cups warm water
5 1/2 to 6 cups bread flour
2 tbsp dry milk
4 tsp sugar
1 tbsp salt
3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 cups dark raisins
a little olive oil

for the filling:
3/4 cup sugar + some for dusting
3 tbsp cinnamon
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted & cooled
2 eggs

turn your oven on to the lowest possible setting.

lots of easy steps:
blend dry yeast with 1/4 warm water. let sit about 10 minutes. meanwhile, in a big bowl, blend flour, powdered milk, sugar, salt 3 tbsp butter and 1 3/4 cups water. add the yeast/water mixture, and mix it all together until a dough forms. knead the dough for 15-20 minutes, adding more flour if it's too sticky. don't add too much flour! it will get too dry! pour a little olive oil into the bowl and turn the ball of dough to coat.

turn the oven off, put the bowl of dough in the oven for about 2 hours to rise.

when the dough is nearly done rising, grease 2 loaf pans, and make the ooey gooey insides: combine sugar and cinammon in a small bowl. in another small bowl, beat one of the eggs. cut your dough into 2 equally sized ball of dough. leave the dough you aren't using under plastic so it can't dry out. roll one peice of dough into a roughly 10x14 rectangle. it doesn't have to be perfect. brush it with some egg, sprinkle with half the cinnamon sugar, and drizzle with half the melted butter. rub the mixture together with the back of a spoon or spatula. roll the rectangle up tightly, and pinch the ends. put it into one of the loaf pans. do the same with the 2nd peice of dough. let the loaves rise in a warm place for about an hour. before baking, brush the tops of the loaves with beaten egg and sprinkle on some sugar (the egg helps the sugar stick, and makes the tops of your loaves brown and shiny). Bake loaves at 425 for 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 400 and back another 15 minutes or until cooked through. let cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes before slicing. don't worry, the insides will still be warm and gooey after 30 minutes!


Anonymous said...

If you don't mind large amounts of bread flour, for 11.00 you can get 50# at GFS. Worth it if you're doing a lot of bread making - machine or other.

Been reading a lot of cookbooks lately, Anthony Bourdian for one. Also watch his show on Travel "No Reservations". A fun show to watch. He travels all over the world eating interesting stuff with comments on the people and food - not the Rachel Ray "everything is wonderful", the real reactions - some good - some horrid.

sciffy kitchen elf said...

i'd be driging to GFS right now, except i have no room for 50 pounds of flour, let alone the 10 lbs i usually stock. you would laugh if you saw the size of my galley kitchen.

and Anthony Bourdain? i want to have that man's children. but don't tell my husband i said that, OK? i loved the first 2 seasons of No Reservations, the latest season seems to be more travel adverts than anything else. now that the show is no longer under the radar, the producers have taken over, maybe.