Snowmageddon 2010: a Bread Marathon

As you may have heard, D.C. was just hit by a big snowstorm. I'm happy to report that we are no worse for the wear. Tom and I made it through the weekend without losing any trees, gutters, or our power supply. In fact, we took advantage of our time cooped up inside to bake a lot of bread. I already had a container of bread dough in the fridge (from the master boule recipe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day), and I baked a loaf for our neighbors. Tom also has been experimenting with no-knead doughs and he baked up a couple of loaves using coppa, parmesan cheese, rosemary, and garlic. And after we ventured into the winter wonderland at the tail end of the storm on Saturday and discovered that CVS was open, I was able to buy some raisins and try Nancy Baggett's recipe for "Cinnamon Pinwheel Raisin Bread" from Kneadlessly Simple: Fabulous, Fuss-Free, No-Knead Breads.

The base dough for this bread is Baggett's recipe for "Country Fair White Bread," which contains bread flour, sugar, salt, yeast, and ice water. After the first rise, you stir in melted butter, nonfat dry milk, beaten egg, and raisins. After incorporating those ingredients and letting the dough rest for a few minutes, you shape the dough into a rectangle, brush it with beaten egg, sprinkle on a mixture of cinnamon and sugar, roll it up into a log, and put it in a 9- by 5-inch loaf pan for the second rise. I found this dough almost impossible to handle. Even though I shaped it into a rectangle on a well oiled and floured piece of parchment paper, it was very sticky, and my log got pretty mangled on the way into the loaf pan. After the second rise, you brush the top of the loaf with more beaten egg and sprinkle on more cinnamon sugar before putting it in the oven to bake.

This bread was really delicious. It tasted just like store-bought cinnamon-raisin bread (here, that characterization is meant as a compliment). The texture was lighter than the Oat-Whole Wheat Honey-Raisin Bread I made last week, since this recipe included only white flour. Tom and I enjoyed some toasted for breakfast today, and the bread was a lovely, sweet treat!

Recipe: "Cinnamon Pinwheel Raisin Bread" from Kneadlessly Simple: Fabulous, Fuss-Free, No-Knead Breads by Nancy Baggett.