Baking bread-- and eating it too!--has become my new craving. I am back at it again with yet another recipe from Nancy Baggett’s book, Kneadlessly Simple. With more practice with the methods of bread-making explained by Ms. Baggett, I am learning to enjoy the process of actually making the bread and not only the end result of eating it. On my first try (great granola breakfast bread) I was anxious about the long rising times, worried that I was doing something wrong, and wondering if it would all turn out. Fast forward a few weeks to this bread and I found the process much easier and more enjoyable: complete a step (then go to sleep) & let the dough rise, complete another step the next day & let the dough rise again, bake it & there a beautiful loaf appeared!
For complete instructions it’s best to read Ms. Baggett’s book, the directions are extensive. To share the recipe and the path I followed, I’ll explain my steps here. For more information about Ms. Baggett and her books, please click here to visit her website.
3 cups white bread flour plus 2/3 cup or as needed
2 ½ TB granulated sugar
1 ½ tsp salt
¾ tsp instant, fast-rising or bread machine yeast
1 ¾ cups ice water, plus more if needed
3 TB butter, melted then cooled
¼ cup good-quality instant nonfat dry milk
1 large egg, beaten
¾ to 1 cup of raisins, rinsed, drained and patted dry
1/3 cup sugar combined with 1 TB ground cinnamon
1 TB butter, in small pieces
Step 1: First Rise
Ms. Baggett’s methods are great because there is no worrying about in which order to add the yeast-- throw a bunch of ingredients together and let time do its work on the rising process. Start with the 3 cups of flour, sugar, salt, yeast and water. Give the ingredients a strong mix, adding water if necessary to achieve a dough. Brush the top with butter, put in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 3-10 hours then set on the countertop for a cool rise for 16-20 hours. Stir halfway through this rising time.
Step 2: Second Rise
Mix the butter, nonfat dry milk and only 2 TB of the egg together with a whisk. Add this mixture to the dough until thoroughly mixed together. I tried my dough hook on the standing mixer but found I had more success mixing this by hand. Add 2/3 to 1 cup of flour in until the dough is rather hard to stir any further. Add the raisins in at this point. Refrigerate the dough for 10 minutes then empty it onto a rectangle of parchment paper that you’ve sprayed with cooking spray.
Shape the dough into a rectangle, using flour as needed. Brush some of the egg over the dough then sprinkle the cinnamon & sugar (all but a small portion of which you’ll save for the topping) over the rectangle of dough. Grate a small bit of butter over the dough as well. Gently but firmly roll up the dough, squeeze together the seam then lay the roll of dough seam side down into a greased baking bread pan. Spray the top with oil and cover with plastic wrap.
I chose the 1 ½ to 2 ½ hour regular rise before preheating the oven to 350 degrees F and getting ready to bake the bread.
Step 3: Bake the Bread
Use the last bit of egg to brush the top of the dough; also sprinkle the remaining cinnamon & sugar over the dough.
Bake the bread for 25-30 minutes uncovered so that the bread browns then cover with foil and bake for another 25-35 minutes. I need to buy an instant read thermometer for this step-- the temp should be about 208 degrees F-- but I still rely on the old fashioned method of testing the bread with a skewer in the middle. Once the skewer barely shows any signs of bread on it, bake for another 10 minutes to ensure that the center truly is cooked through.
This table of times and steps helps me get through the planning stage as well as the execution stages of making the bread. Give it a try!
|1st Rise||Refrigerate for 3-10 hours||11 am - 6 pm|
|Cool rise for 16-20 hours||6 pm - noon (next day)|
|2nd Rise||Refrigerate for 10 minutes||10 minutes|
|Form dough, rise 1.5-2.5 hours||12:30 - 3 pm|
|Preheat Oven||350 degrees F for 15 minutes||3- 3:15 pm|
|Bake, uncovered||25-30 minutes||3:15- 3:45 pm|
|Bake, covered||25-35 minutes||3:45 - 4:15 pm|
|Bake some more!||10 minutes||4:15 - 4:25 pm|
I linked up to http://www.skiptomylou.org/2012/04/02/made-by-monday/