Saturday, February 11, 2006
Cinnamon Raisin Loaf
February 11, 2006
I'm sort of getting into the weekly rhythm of baking bread. Today I had an all-day planning meeting for my women's political group (we did a fundraiser for John Kerry that made over $25,000 for his campaign; it wasn't our fault he didn't win). Of course, I volunteer to bring bread. A nice cinnamon-raisin bread sounds perfect.
On Friday morning before I go to work, I mix up the sponge. As soon as I get home on Friday afternoon, I take the sponge out of the refrigerator, mix in the rest of the flour and the raisins, and let it rise for a few hours. This is a stiffer dough than the ones I've worked with before, and my KitchenAid mixer starts hopping all over the counter. Jim asks me if that was normal, and I say, "of course," even though I really have no idea. And apparently it wasn't normal because the a lot of the white coating got scratched off the dough hook from all the jumping around. So now I don't know if the dough hook is still safe to use, but I'll think about that later.
I announced at work that I couldn't go to our Friday after-work happy hour because I had to start working on my bread. My coworker Davi told me that if I miss happy hour because of a loaf of bread, he doesn't even want to know me. Which seems kind of harsh. But that problem is solved when we decide just to leave work an hour early, giving me time for both happy hour and bread.
Back to the bread: after the dough doubles in size, I roll it out, pour a bunch of cinnamon and sugar on it, and roll it back up. I put it into the loaf pans and let it rise overnight. I keep waking up and worrying about the dough: what if it rises too much and takes over the refrigerator; what if it doesn't rise at all and I have two hard little raisin frisbees? Actually, it turns out just fine. I get up at 6:30 and put it in the oven. Lovely yeast, cinnamon, and raisin smells all over the house, and my friends in the political group are impressed. They also tell me that if I bake bread every week, my resolutions next year will have to include losing about ten pounds of bread weight. I'll think about that later, too.
Jim asks me if I don't think I'm getting a little obsessed with the whole bread thing. I scoff at him.
My brother Doug read this blog and told me, in a nice brotherly way, that his own rosemary focaccia turns out perfect every time. I think he's kidding, but no, he tells me how he does it (he puts everything in a bread machine). I feel morally superior because I don't use a bread machine, even though I do use a big electric mixer and I also have really lousy rosemary focaccia.
Posted by Marie at 5:19 PM