Monday, September 30, 2013

Americas Test Kitchen - Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Like all things good and heavenly to eat, this recipe comes from America's Test Kitchen! I've been pretty excited with the contents of my Cook's Illustrated magazines that come every other month.  This bread was actually in the March/April 2012 issue, and I just finally got around to making it.  Mac loves this as a breakfast food, so much to the point that I have to ration him to two slices per day.  I know this sounds cruel, but really, I'm doing him a favor by allowing him to enjoy it for a whole week rather than gobbling it up in 2 days!  I also hid one loaf in the freezer for a month, which was a wonderful surprise for him when he discovered it.  Oh, the little joys of marriage. =)

This bread has a lot of rise-time, so make sure you're able to spend the day at home, doing other things while you wait for it to get happy and tall.  It also happens to be a very precise science in order to keep the dough from having gaps, runs, and leaks... I know this seems super detailed, and that's because it needs it.  Follow instructions! 

Makes 2 loaves

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
3 3/4 cups bread flour, plus extra for work surface
3/4 cup nonfat dry milk powder
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon instant or rapid-rise yeast (I used regular, active dry yeast, and it worked fine)
1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups golden raisins (I had a difficult time finding these for a reasonable, but eventually found them at Trader Joes)

1 cup confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 large egg, lightly beaten with pinch of salt


1. Cut butter into 32 pieces and toss with 1 tablespoon flour; set aside to soften while mixing dough  Whisk remaining flour, milk powder, sugar, and yeast together in bowl of stand mixer (don't add the salt here).  Using stand mixer fitted with dough hook, add water and egg and mix on medium-low speed until cohesive mass forms, about 2 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Cover mixing bowl with plastic wrap and let stand for 20 minutes.

2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and place loaf or cake pan on bottom of oven. Remove plastic from mixer bowl, add salt, and mix on medium-low speed until dough is smooth and elastic and clears sides of bowl, 7 to 15 minutes. With mixer running, add butter, few pieces at a time, and continue to knead until butter is fully incorporated and dough is smooth and elastic and clears side of bowl, 3 to 5 minutes longer.  add raisins and mix until incorporated, 30 to 60 seconds.  Transfer dough to large greased bowl and, using bowl scraper or rubber spatula, fold dough over itself by gently lifting and folding edge of dough toward middle.  Turn bowl 90 degrees; fold again.  Turn bowl and fold dough 6 more times (total of 8 folds).  Cover tightly with plastic and transfer to middle rack of oven. Pour 3 cups of boiling water into loaf pan in oven, close oven door, and allow dough to rise for 45 minutes.

3. Remove bowl from oven and gently press down on center of dough to deflate.  Repeat folding step (making total of 8 folds), re-cover, and return to oven until doubled in volume, about 45 minutes.

4.  Whisk filling ingredients together until well combined; set aside.

5.  Grease two loaf pans.  Transfer dough to lightly floured counter and divide into 2 pieces.  Working with 1 piece of dough, pat into rough 6 by 11-inch rectangle.  With short side facing you, fold long sides in like business letter to form 3 by 11-inch rectangle.  Roll dough away from you into ball.  Dust ball with flour and flatten with rolling pin into 7 by 18-inch rectangle with even 1/4 inch thickness. Using spray bottle, spray dough lightly with water.  Sprinkle half of filling mixture evenly over dough, leaving 1/4 inch border on sides and 3/4 inch border on top and bottoms; spray filling lightly with water. (filling should be speckled with water over entire surface). With short side facing you, roll dough away from you into firm cylinder.  Turn loaf seam side up and pinch closed; pinch ends closed.  Dust loaf lightly on all side with flour and let rest for 10 minutes.  Repeat with second ball of dough and remaining filling.

6. Working with 1 loaf at a time, use a bench scraper to cut loaf in half lengthwise; turn halves so cut sides are facing up.  Gently stretch each half into 14-inch length.  Line up pieces of dough and pinch 2 ends of strips together.  Take piece on left and lay over piece on right.  Repeat, keeping cut side up, until pieces of dough are tightly twisted.  Pinch ends together.  Transfer loaf, cut side up, to prepared loaf pan; pushing any exposed raising into seams of braid.  Repeat with second loaf  Cover loaves loosely with plastic, return to oven, and allow to rise for 45 minutes.  Remove loaves and water pan from oven; heat oven to 350 degrees.  Allow loaves to rise at room temperature until almost doubled in size, about 45 minutes longer (top of loaves should rise about 1 inch over lip of pan). 

7.  Brush loaves with egg mixture.  Bake until crust is well browned, about 25 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees, tent loaves with aluminum foil, and continue to bake until internal temperature registers 200 degrees, 15 to 25 minutes longer.

8. Transfer pans to wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes.  Remove loaves from pans, return to rack, and cool to room temperature before slicing, about 2 hours.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting! Fyi, one of the differences between active dry and instant yeast is that active dry should be pre fermented with warm water and sugar whereas instant can be added directly to the dough.