This was four loaves of bread a few hours before I took this picture:
The recipe for the raisin bread, which I will share below, came from The Wings of Life cookbook by Julie Morgan of Cabbage Town Cafe.
The other recipe is for a kind of English Muffin bread you bake in a loaf pan, but I’m not sharing the recipe yet because I wasn’t totally satisfied with it..
Here are the ingredients that Julie Morgan gives:
1 Tablespoon dried yeast
1-2 cups wrist-temperature water
2 1/2 cups potato water or milk
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup molasses
2 teaspoons sea salt
5 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups rolled oats, soaked in 1 cup boiling water
3-4 cups more or less additional whole wheat flour.
Julie’s directions for mixing, kneading, shaping, and baking bread are excellent for beginners. Her directions run over six pages of detailed text, with an additional page with large illustration showing her readers how to knead. Some of the health information has changed since she wrote her book (she uses soy flours and powdered milk sometimes, and she is a vegetarian, but she was never a big fan of margarine), but the general directions are fabulous and very useful. Her detailed descriptions of the process are very interesting, too. She also reminded me why soaking the flours makes the breads taste so much better- it’s simply a matter of the grains having time to really absorb the liquid, and then the mixture has time for flavors to blend and caress each other, resulting in a bread with a more tender crumb, richer flavor, and slices that are nice and moist. Mmmm.
I cannot duplicate Ms Morgan’s directions. So I’ll just give you the short (hahahahaha) version.
I adapted the Wings of Life recipe in a several ways. For one thing, it’s not a cinnamon raisin bread recipe. It’s an oatmeal bread. Second, I didn’t have any oatmeal, more on that later. Thirdly, I soaked the wheat:
I combine 2 1/2 cups of buttermilk, 1/4 cup each melted coconut oil, honey, and molasses, 2 teaspoons of celtic sea salt, with about 6 cups of freshly ground whole wheat flour and 2-3 cups of freshly ground oat groats in my Bosch food mixer using the bread dough hooks.
About the oats- I didn’t have any oats. But I did have some leftover crockpot oat groats. So I used that, and then I adjusted the amount of flour to make sure it all got mixed, but wasn’t sopping. It was a stiffish dough, but not too stiff. This is the kind of thing you just have to get a feel for.
I let this sit for about 4 hours.
Then I soaked 1 tablespoon of yeast in 1/2 cup of warmish water until it bubbled. I smushed the dough down evenly all over the bowl, poking my finger in it in several places to make little wells. I dribbled the yeast mixture in each of the holes and covered them up by pinching the dough over them. I sprinkled cinnamon liberally over the whole, then I turned the Bosch on again and mixed it up until I thought the yeast was well mixed in.
Then I turned the dough out on to the counter, where I had sprinkled some flour and more raisins, tossed a couple handfuls of raisins onto the dough and worked them in by hand. I flattened the dough a bit, then I pulled the end furthest to me over, pushed it down, and then turned the bottom edge up over the middle and pushed it down. I did this all over the dough, turning it in a half circle, folding the top down, kneading, folding the bottom up, kneading, half turn, then repeat. Then I turned it over and did it all again, until the raisins were well mixed.
Then I formed a long, long loaf by hand, cut it in half, and fitted it into an oiled bread pan. When I make a dough like this, I make a fist and gently flatten the dough level, and then use my fingers to push it down more around the edges. This helps it rise into a nice loaf shape.
I let it rise for about an hour- this is because we left the house to go visit the Striderling and his parents, so it had to rise in the van and it was kind of cool. Otherwise, I would have given it 45 minutes.
Then I baked it at 425 degrees F for about 15 minutes. Julie says this step sears over the top of the bread while the yeast is still alive within and releasing gases, so the inside of the loaf is rising up firm against the crust.
Then we turned it down to 350 and baked it another half an hour to 45 minutes. Precise times and temps vary a bit based on your altitude, humidity, oven temperament, and thickness of the dough.
I don’t like cinnamon raisin bread, but my husband loves it and has been asking for it for a very, very long time. An embarrassing length of time. He loved it. In fact, he and all the progeny loved it, and we left some for the HG and Striderling, too. They said it was nice and soft, and had a delicious flavor.
Linked at The Four Moms Bread Baking linky!