Tag Archives: yeast

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

I’ve been slowly reading my way through the beginning of The Bread Baker’s ApprenticeI have found it to be quite interesting. I’m excited to master the art of baking using Baker’s Math. It’s an entire system using percentages based on the type of bread you are making. Apparently, every bread has a formula. Once you learn the basic formulas, you can easily make any type of bread with a few calculations. I would try to explain it further, only I fear I would confuse myself trying to put it into words for you to understand as I am just starting to grasp the concept. As I learn more about this wonderful Math ( I always knew liking math would help me with baking!), I’ll share more about applying it to making bread.

To go along with using Baker’s Math, I will also need to switch from measuring cups and spoons to weighing ingredients when baking. We have a small kitchen scale already and I’ve used it a few times to measure flour and sugar. It’s not nearly accurate enough to measure teaspoons. I guess I’ll be shopping for a different scale soon.

 

With some of my newly acquired knowledge,  I decided it was time to make another loaf of bread. I had been leaning towards a sourdough bread, but that is a multiple day process. I only had one day to make bread. Since it was Sunday morning, I had breakfast on the brain. My stomach and my brain settled on Cinnamon Raisin Bread. I’m not certain how my stomach agreed to this since I don’t like raisins. I’ll eat them occasionally as a snack, but never in anything or on anything and most definitely not baked or cooked in any way! BLECH!!! Thankfully, my boyfriend does enjoy raisins and is a happy recipient of most everything I bake.

Unlike the first bread, this one started with mixing all the dry ingredients together, then mixing in the wet ingredients. The wet ingredients only had to be a room temperature for mixing. I quite like that as I always stress out that the water is a little too hot and I’ll mess up the entire loaf of bread!

I feel I was a bit more successful in this attempt at making bread. The loaves still aren’t perfect. One even looks mangled. Though this time around, both loaves rose quite well. The only reason they don’t appear to have risen properly is due to me having the wrong sized pans. It appears that I am going to have to add bread pans to my shopping list as well!

The original recipe also includes walnuts, which I left out because I forgot to pick them up at the grocery store. The bread was quite delicious. Yes, I did taste the bread. I even tried a bite with raisins! I didn’t particularly enjoy that bite, but the rest was wonderful. Having cinnamon mixed into the dough adds a little surprise taste even when you don’t get a bite of the cinnamon/sugar swirl.

Next time I try this recipe, I’m going to make one loaf without raisins and add the walnuts. I’m curious to see if the bread will turn out without raisins in the mix. When adding the swirl, I plan to roll the dough out a bit further to get a longer swirl in the middle.

If you are curious to try this recipe, you have a few options. Once again, I’m opting not to share the recipe due to copyright concerns. I know I wouldn’t like it if someone took what was mine. Your first option is to purchase The Bread Baker’s Apprenticeit is a wonderful book and you will enjoy making bread from it. Second, you can Google Cinnamon Raisin Walnut Bread Peter Reinhart and you may just find a copy.

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Anna, Damn Her!

So legend (or folklore) has it, my latest attempt at yeast bread making came from a namesake of mine. As the story goes, a Gloucester fisherman/farmer/hunter/woodsman (I’ll stick with fisherman), had a wife who was a terrible cook. Everyday, he came home to cornmeal mush and molasses. Upon returning home one evening to yet another meal of cornmeal, he took matters into his own hands and mixed in some flour and yeast to make bread. The entire time muttering “Anna, Damn her!” Thankfully, despite having the same name, I am fully capable of making many delicious meals. Though I do often leave the cooking to my boyfriend!

I started my bread making with this particular loaf for a few reasons. First, it has a story and it involves a person I share a name with. I don’t know about you, but I always feel drawn to something that shares my name. Second, it was close to the front of my new bread book. I have had this particular book on my wishlist for over a year. I finally received it for Christmas. There are a multitude of bread baking books out there. To the point where you can choose a book on a specific type of bread. When I was researching the best bread book for me, I settled on The Bread Baker’s Apprentice  for its detailed instructions in the recipes and the massive introduction to bread baking at the beginning.

The author, Peter Reinhart,  is passionate about baking bread and it shows in his writing. This book wasn’t just a way for him to share a few recipes (nearly 100), he wanted the readers to learn how to make good bread. Through his writing you can see that he isn’t just a baker, he is also a teacher. If you want to learn how to make good yeast bread, I recommend this book. My only complaint about the book is that the recipes are in alphabetical order rather than by bread type. Though, I have a feeling as I grow more familiar with the book, this will stop bothering me.

Back to the recipe and the third reason I tried this bread first. It has molasses in it. We rather enjoy the flavor of molasses, yet we only use it around Christmas. I feel this needs to change. The recipe also uses corn meal, which I found very intriguing. Really, this was a recipe that demanded to be baked.

You begin by soaking the corn meal in water overnight. This is to soften the meal and help release its flavours. While I was researching the background story, I also discovered that some people bake the cornmeal, some boil it, and other just pour boiling water over it and soak until it reaches room temperature. Though I’m sure any method will work, I like the archaic feel of soaking something overnight in preparation of baking bread. I’m sure there is some sort of epiphany in there somewhere, but I’m sticking with it just feels right!

Also thanks to my research, I may have discovered why I think my loaves ended up being short instead of fluffy. According to Spoonful, using All-Purpose flour rather than bread flour will result in a denser bread due to the difference in gluten. I think I will pick up a bag of bread flour before my next bread baking adventure. I may have also rushed the last rise a little in my excitement that my bread was beginning to look like bread.

I’m sure I’ll have many more bread making adventures and helpful suggestions as the year progresses. Once again, I won’t be typing in the recipe for copyright reasons, but you can visit this link that share the same recipe I just made (hers looks better than mine!)

Anadama Story Resources:

Spoonful

A Taste of History

The Sour Dough

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