When I was little one of my favorite foods to eat was cinnamon raisin bread. My favorite toast and bagel flavor, what can I say, I had a sweet-tooth from a young age. I mean is there really any toast better than cinnamon raisin toast? Probably not. Now that my tastes have changed a bit, and a slice of great brioche, challah, or focaccia does the trick, that doesn't mean I've forgotten an old favorite, and you shouldn't either.
When it's dreary, rainy, and cold such as the last day or so has been in New York, this might be the perfect time to try out a new recipe and prove to yourself that you can make homemade bread. Just like I taught a bunch of willing students a few weeks ago.
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C) - just warm enough to touch, NOT HOT
2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup raisins
8 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons milk
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1. Warm the milk in a small saucepan until it bubbles, then remove from heat. Let cool until lukewarm.
2. Dissolve yeast in warm water, and set aside until yeast is frothy. Mix in eggs, sugar, butter, salt, and raisins. Stir in cooled milk. Add the flour gradually to make a stiff dough.
3. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface for a few minutes. Place in a large, greased, mixing bowl, and turn to grease the surface of the dough. Cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rise until doubled.
4. Roll out on a lightly floured surface into a large rectangle 1/2 inch thick. Moisten dough with 2 tablespoons milk. Mix together 3/4 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons cinnamon, and sprinkle mixture on top of the moistened dough. Roll up tightly; the roll should be about 3 inches in diameter. Cut into thirds, and tuck under ends. Place loaves into well greased 9 x 5 inch pans. Lightly grease tops of loaves. Let rise again for 1 hour.
5. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 45 minutes, or until loaves are lightly browned and sound hollow when knocked. Brush with butter for an extra glisten and put back in oven to golden. Remove loaves from pans, and brush with melted butter or margarine. Let cool before slicing.
Best served toast with (if you're naughty) butter and cinnamon sugar.