Thursday, March 31, 2011

Cinnamon Raisin Buttermilk Bread (BBD #38)

This month for Bread Baking Day we are celebrating a no-knead festival with fellow bakers at Cindystar.  This more recent entrant into the culinary craft of making bread gives the baker an easier way to create the delicious loaves that grace our tables.  It is relaxing and refreshing to bake a loaf of no-knead bread occasionally, and some, like myself, actually started out by learning to make no-knead breads and then graduated on to more difficult things. 

The first no-knead bread I ever made was a honey wheat bread taken from the book by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois called Healthy Bread in Five Minutes A Day. However, I had never baked anything from their book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day and having heard mentioned by other bloggers that the buttermilk bread was a good one, I decided to check the book out from the library.  It took a couple weeks for me to receive a copy, since there is a waiting list at the library for this book.  I was originally thinking I wanted to do some sweet, ooey-gooey, enriched bread for this project, but then I saw that there was a cinnamon raisin bread that used the buttermilk bread dough.  That sounded good!

I have a nice big 6 qt bucket that I purchased at a local restaurant supply store that I always mix my no-knead doughs up in.  It's just easier to see how high the dough has risen with a clear, straight-sided bucket.
The beauty of making a no-knead bread, is the 
simplicity of the whole process.  On Sunday evening I simply mixed:
2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
2 tsp salt
2 1/4 tsp sugar with
1 cup lukewarm water (~100°F or 38°C) &
1/2 cup buttermilk (I used low-fat)
 I sloshed this around a bit with a wooden spoon and then added:

3 1/4 cups unbleached all-purposed flour (KAF brand)

and with my large dough whisk I stirred until all the flour was incorporated.  I usually find
these no-knead doughs to be pretty wet, but this one
actually needed a couple extra teaspoons of buttermilk
to make the dough moist enough to mix in the last
bit of flour.  After a 2 1/2 hour rise on the counter, into the fridge it went to develop flavor and gluten over the next couple days.

On Wednesday I took my bucket out of the fridge, dusted the surface of the dough with a little flour and cut off and piece I thought looked like 1 1/2 lbs.  It was odd that I was expecting to have ~ 2 1/4 lbs of dough, but found that I only had ~ 1 3/4 lbs of dough, so I didn't have any extra dough to play with later. Oh, well.

I quickly shaped my dough, with floured hands, into a ball and set it on my rolling mat while I gathered my mise en place.
Using a floured rolling pin, I tried to roll the dough out into an 8 X 16
inch rectangle, but the darned dough kept springing back and refused to stretch any further than ~ 12 in.  I let the dough rest several times and kept trying to roll it out.  It wasn't quite as thin as it was supposed to be, but then maybe that ensured against any tears or holes.  I brushed the dough with a little egg wash and sprinkled on my cinnamon sugar (~4 Tbsp sugar + 1 1/4 tsp cinnamon) and my raisins.  I only used ~1/2 cup of raisins, but it could actually have taken more.  I also sprinkled on some Hershey's Cinnamon Chips.
I rolled up the dough from the short end, tried to pinch the seams together on the end and sides the best I could, and tucked the ends under.  It was tricky, but I picked up the whole log and placed it seam side down in the lightly greased 9 X 5 loaf pan.  I covered it with plastic wrap and it rested for 1 hr 45 min. on the counter.  Here it is before and after resting:
As you can see it didn't rise a whole lot, but it did definitely puff up and fill out the pan nicely.

I brushed the top of the loaf with a little of the leftover egg wash and sprinkled on some course sparkling sugar.  It was baked at 375°F for 35 minutes.  I took it out of the oven when it was firm and golden brown.  A little of the cinnamon and sugar had seeped out during baking, but that just made the whole kitchen smell that much better!!!  I immediately turned the loaf out of the pan onto a rack to cool:
This loaf had quite a nice oven spring and produced a very attractive, fragrant loaf.  I wish I could insert a cinnamon smell here or a scratch 'n' sniff icon.  My wheat and rye flours and various grains were feeling a bit neglected that day, but my husband and I were perfectly pleased with our Cinnamon-Raisin Buttermilk Bread!
                                       Thank you for visiting my blog for BBD#38, and make sure to stop by Cindystar to see what others made for this no-knead festival roundup!


  1. Mel, what a fabulous looking loaf! I can almost smell it from this side of the globe!

    Have to say, I don't knead much these days either - just don't seem to need to (no pun intended :)).

  2. I can smell it from here, Melanie, and wiould like to have a slice along with my after lunch coffe! :-)
    thanks for participating, recap will be on line in a few hours but will email you then.
    have a nice week!