I baked this bread on location in a vacation house in the middle of the Adirondack mountains in New York State. The good parts about baking bread on location are that the oven is usually bigger than my oven (I have a small oven at home) and there are plenty of people here to eat my bread. I made the bread yesterday, and I think it is already gone. The bad parts are that I have to drag a huge bagful of ingredients and equipment that they are not likely to have here and that I have to leave my trusty KitchenAid behind and knead by hand. All things considered, however, the challenge was excellently timed to make this the bread for our vacation week. We are staying through next weekend, too, but I think Mike would object if I were to make cornbread and he was not around to partake of it. So that will have to wait until I return.
We start with some dry ingredients: flour, sugar, salt, yeast, and cinnamon.
We add some wet ingredients, which I didn’t get a photo of: buttermilk, shortening, an egg, and water. I did manage to get a quart of buttermilk up here, which surprised me a little. Usually I don’t like to use shortening (although the Crisco label says it has no trans fats – can this be true?) and I substitute butter. I did this with the cinnamon rolls, since it is given as a choice. This time butter was not listed as an option, though, so I didn’t want to risk the substitution.
I kneaded by hand until I had a nice ball of dough:
Then I added the raisins. There were a lot of raisins. There were so many raisins that I wasn’t at all sure they would fit in the dough.
I brought my dough rising bucket. I think I have mentioned before that I have a hard time determining if dough has “doubled” without it.
I thought it might take a while for my dough to rise. I took its temperature before I put it in the bucket, and it was a little lower than Reinhart asks for. But I got a windowpane, and I was sick of kneading, so I went ahead. It has also been very cool here, barely in the 70s. But my dough got nice and doubly before the two hours were up.
Reinhart offers a cinnamon swirl as an option, along with brushing the tops of the loaves with melted butter and cinnamon sugar. I had already decided I didn’t want to add walnuts, but since we were on vacation, I decided to go with both of these options. The guiding principle of vacation is surely to add calories whenever possible.
I divided the dough roughly in half, rolled out each half, and sprinkled on the swirl.
I baked them in the oven for twenty minutes, then did the by-now standard switch and turn, and let them bake for another twenty minutes. They both passed the temperature test. I brushed them with the melted butter and sprinkled more cinnamon sugar on top.
Somehow we managed to wait an hour and a half to cut into them.
Even for a non-cinnamon lover, these were really good. I don’t think the cinnamon swirl should be optional, though. Without it, I don’t think there would have been enough cinnamon flavor. The butter and cinnamon sugar on top was fine as an option – it definitely added flavor (and calories), but I think the bread would have been okay without it. But without the swirl, the bread wouldn’t have been nearly as good.
All of my fellow vacationers had high ratings for this bread. I will give it 4.5 out of 5, which is probably the highest rating I could give to something with so much cinnamon.