As the name of my blog indicates, I spend a lot of time thinking about home. Of course, my Heavenly Home is the one that is eternal, so that’s where I need to lay up my treasures, and that’s the one I’m striving for. But in the meantime, I have been given this tiny piece of the here-and-now—this home on the edge of town, this family, this neighborhood—in which to serve Him. And, though this is in the earthly realm, I want the things that happen here to be investments in the Heavenly realm.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Bread On Tuesday ~ Week 8 {Cinnamon Raisin Bread}

This week, I returned to The Panera Bread Cookbook: Breadmaking Essentials and Recipes from America's Favorite Bakery-Cafe.   We had enjoyed the Three-Cheese Bread that I made from this cookbook, and I was ready to try my hand at another.  

I had decided last week on the recipe that I would try.  I checked the list of ingredients and added golden raisins and cinnamon chips to my grocery list.  Alas, Walmart did not have either of the ingredients.  On Monday evening after work, Ron went on a wild goose chase to a larger grocery store about 25 minutes away from us to purchase the needed items.  He brought home golden raisins, but no cinnamon chips.  For Heaven's sake.  

Not to be defeated, I decided to omit the cinnamon chips altogether, and just add some cinnamon to the dough.  After the dough had risen and we had rolled it out into a rectangle, Bekah and I sprinkled on some cinnamon and then rolled the dough up, shaped it into the loaves, and put it in the ceramic baking pans.  

Another change that I made was to add a simple glaze after the bread had cooled.

So how did it turn out?  

There was certainly room for improvement.  Although the bread had a nice texture and a crusty outside (as did the Three-Cheese Bread also made from this cookbook), the flavor was underwhelming.  Not bad, just not great.  I suspect that it would have been delicious with the cinnamon chips, which would have provided little bursts of flavor throughout the bread.  But in the absence of the chips, I probably should have added more cinnamon to the dough, and probably a little sugar along with it.  After all, I think cinnamon raisin bread should taste like...cinnamon!  

As we sampled and reviewed the bread with our evening coffee, I came up with a couple of ideas to remedy these loaves that are already baked.  One thought is to make some cinnamon butter (kind of like the good stuff that Texas Roadhouse serves with their rolls?) to spread on the bread.  I may try this recipe by Ina Garten.  

The other thought is to use it to make cinnamon toast for breakfast.  I intend to do just that tomorrow morning.  I'll let you know what I think.  

This week's bread...

(Makes 2 loaves)

Ingredients for Starter:
1 cup warm water (95-105° F)
2 teaspoons fresh yeast
1 cup all-purpose flour

Ingredients for Dough:
3/4 cup warm water (95-105° F)
3 tablespoons honey
4 teaspoons fresh yeast
1/4 cup plus one teaspoon vegetable shortening
4 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt
Starter (above)
1 1/4 cups golden raisins
1 cup cinnamon chips****

To create the starter*, combine the water and yeast in a medium mixing bowl.  Stir to dissolve the yeast fully.  Add the flour to the bowl and stir until the ingredients are fully incorporated.  Cover with a clean cloth and ferment the starter at room temperature for 30 minutes.  

For the dough, combine the water, honey, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Stir to dissolve the yeast fully.  Add the shortening, flour, salt, fermented starter, and raisins.  Mix on low speed until for 3 minutes.  Add the cinnamon chips and mix on low speed until dough is fully developed**.  Remove the dough from the mixing bowl.

Divide the dough into two pieces weighing about 22 ounces*** each.  Set aside any remaining dough and freeze for future use.  Roll each piece of dough into a smooth ball.  Place the dough on the counter or in a proofing basket and cover with a warm damp cloth, and proof at room temperature for 30 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Form the dough into two loaves****, cover with a warm, damp cloth, and proof at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Score the knives with a sharp knife, spray with water, and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the crusts are a deep, golden brown and the middle of the loaves is 190-200° F.  

Remove the bread from the oven and place on a cooling rack for 30 minutes.  If the bread was baked in loaf pans, remove the bread from the pans before cooling.

~ ~ ~

*  The author(s) insists that the starter is a key element in both the flavor and the texture of your bread.  Don't omit this step. 

** According to the author(s), two things indicate that a dough is "fully developed."   One indication is that it pulls away from the sides of the mixer.  Secondly, a small pinch of dough should not tear, but form a translucent membrane when stretched with your fingers.  

*** I did not have a way of measuring 22 ounces of dough.  I hoped for the best and simply divided my dough into two pieces.

**** As I already told you, I omitted the cinnamon chips, and sprinkled a layer of cinnamon on the loaves before I shaped them.  I used two glass baking pans.

Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread
and your labour for that which satisfieth not? 
hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, 
and let your soul delight itself in fatness.
Isaiah 55:2

Looking for a recipe from another week?
Week 5: Rosemary Bread
Week 6: Cheddar Biscuits


  1. Ingredients are so expensive that it's so disappointing when things don't turn out. And what is going on with our grocery shelves? The choices are growing more limited every day.

  2. It's a beautiful loaf! I learned about 9 years ago when a friend hired me to keep her family in cinnamon wheat bread for a season that in takes a ridiculous amount of cinnamon to make it taste like what we expect. I had never heard of cinnamon chips.. that would do it I'll bet!

    I pray that all is well with you and your family. Things are rather balanced here right now which is a good thing. :) Busy but balanced.

    Blessings, Debbie

  3. Cheryl, check out King Arthur's website. I believe they carry cinnamon chips and just about any ingredient a home baker needs. I've bought Panera's cinnamon bread, it is good. xo

  4. I have never thought of cinammon chips --but I hear what you say about the difference they would have made. Probably more cinnamon next time might make it better. Love how you are experimenting and evaluating, etc. And I enjoyed your visit to the Lego Store --- just wow!

  5. Our Walmart has cinnamon chips. I've noticed them several times when I've been looking for other varieties. It's unusual since we find that there are many things the Walmart on our end of town does not have. Next time I see them, I'll pick you up some. :-)


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