I have a confession to make. While I like the idea of Cinnamon Raisin Bread, I'm not wild about the raisins inside. I don't really know why, but I would rather not have any dried fruits or nuts in my bread. I guess it is something to do with breaking up the texture. I don't loathe it or anything and I actually really enjoy dried fruits and nuts in muffins and quick breads. But with sandwich bread, I just want bread without fuss. Sugar is ok, spice too, and definitely some egg in the dough now and then... with that in mind, I decided to make Cinnamon Raisin sans raisins.
I have another confession, this post is full of them I'm afraid. I originally made this bread for a contest. Unfortunately, I didn't win. But that means that I can share the recipe with you. While I can't claim that it is award winning, it certainly is very good.
Usually I make bread with honey, but I thought for this loaf I would use maple syrup. It reminded me of French toast and maple syrup seemed a natural fit.I even went a step further and added some maple sugar. (I had it in the cabinet from one of our last trips to an apple farm.) The result was an excellent piece of toast for breakfast.That lovely combination of cinnamon and maple sugar – it's pretty awesome.
Thankfully, this bread is also not very difficult to make. I used a dough base that is very similar to my white bread. Then it is made exactly like typical cinnamon raisin bread. I do admit that I love to have a bunch of swirls and that means a long roll out of dough. So long, I'm afraid, that I usually roll it out right on to my counter because it ends up longer than my cutting board. You'll notice that I have a tape measure too – because I found that there is a limit. Too many swirls and the bread tends to fall apart a bit. Two feet seems to be just about the perfect length to shoot for.
I can't say there is a shortage of cinnamon sugar either. I never said I didn't like cinnamon sugar. Yum. I even put some on top.
Then it's just about waiting. Waiting is sometimes the worst part. Bread won't be rushed and it does take a bit of planning. I've tried to rush bread before, I wouldn't recommend it. It's worth the time, I promise.
Maple Cinnamon Swirl Bread
My version of french toast in loaf form. Lazy man's french toast if you will. Egg bread, sweetened with maple syrup and cinnamon sugar wrapped up inside.'
- 2 cups warm water (approx. 110°)
- 4 1/2 teaspoons (2 packets) active dry yeast
- 6 tablespoons 100% real maple syrup
- 4 cups (480g) bread flour
- 4 cups (480g) all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 large eggs (lightly beaten)
- 2 tablespoons (28g) unsalted butter (melted and cooled slightly)
- 1/4 cup (or so) all purpose flour (for flouring cutting board)
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons maple sugar (optional)
- 1 large egg (lightly beaten)
- 1 tablespoon water
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl), combine water, maple syrup, yeast and the bread flour and stir with a spatula to combine well. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes while you prep the other ingredients. The mixture should begin to bubble a little bit. (This step isn’t strictly necessary, you could dump all the ingredients in at once, but I find it helps).
2. Add the all-purpose flour, salt, eggs, and melted butter to the bowl and mix a couple turns with your spatula. Then set the bowl in your stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Knead on low speed for about 5 or 6 min – or until the dough completely pulls away from the sides of the bowl and is thoroughly combined. The dough will still be a little sticky, but if it seems really sticky or does not pull away from the sides, add just a bit more flour (be careful not to add too much).
3. While the machine kneads the dough, prepare a large dough bin or a large bowl by lightly greasing with canola oil.
4. Dump the dough out of bowl onto a floured cutting board. Knead by hand another 4 or 5 minutes or so, until the dough is no longer sticky (it might still be a bit tacky - it is maple syrup, but it shouldn’t stick so much to your fingers that it pulls away from the rest of the dough) and bounces back when you lightly press it with your finger – adding flour as necessary. Shape the dough into a ball and pinch the seam closed. Place the dough in the prepared bin (or a large bowl) and turn so that it is lightly coated in oil. Covered the bin loosely with the top or a tea towel over the bowl and allow the dough to rise in a warm, draft free spot for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes. Dough should more than double in size.
5. Near the end of the first rise (around the 1 hour mark), prepare two 9”x5” loaf pans and your filling. Grease the bottom and the sides of the pans with pan grease (or butter and then flour), line the bottom with a rectangle of parchment paper, then grease the parchment. Set aside. In a small bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon, and maple sugar (if using) and mix to combine. Set aside. In another small bowl, combine the water and the last remaining egg to make an egg wash. Lightly whisk with a fork to combine. Set aside.
6. Preheat the oven to 350°.
7. When the dough is ready, punch the dough down. Divide the dough into two equal pieces (I find using a scale to weigh the dough and then divide in two equal halves by weight works best). Take the first piece and flatten it out slightly on your cutting board into a rectangle. Fold the dough in thirds like a letter and stretch this thinner rectangle out until it is about 24” long. (It this point it is longer than my cutting board so I place it on a clean, lightly floured counter top.) Using a rolling pin, flatten out the dough and roll out so that the width on the short end is now roughly the width of the long edge of your pan. (The idea is that once the dough is rolled up, it will sit directly in the pan.) The rectangle should not get any longer, but make sure to get all the air bubbles out. (If you make it too long, there ends up being so many rolls that the bread falls apart a bit when sliced).
8. Using a pastry brush, brush the top of the dough with a think layer of egg wash, leaving about an inch on one end dry. Liberally cover the egg wash with the cinnamon sugar mixture, until the entire surface except the dry inch at the end is covered with an even layer of cinnamon sugar. (Don’t go too too crazy – this should take a little less than half of the cinnamon sugar, maybe even a bit less). Starting at the opposite short end from the side you left dry, start tightly rolling up the dough. Once you get to the end, pinch the seam closed. Pinch the ends closed tightly as well and then place into one of the prepared loaf pans, long edge - seam side down. Brush the top of the loaf with some egg wash (being careful not to touch the sides) and sprinkle with some cinnamon sugar. Repeat with the other ball of dough.
9. Allow the loaves to rise in their pans for 30 minutes or until the dough rises about 1 inch above the sides of the pan.
10. Bake loaves for 30 to 35 minutes, until the tops are nicely golden brown and internal temperature reaches 200° (using an instant read thermometer).
11. Remove bread from the oven and allow to cool in the pans on racks for 10 minutes. Turn out on racks to cool completely (you may need to run a thin spatula along the edges of the pan if the bread sticks). Enjoy!