It's Valentine's Day. You knew that, of course. I decided to abandon the usual heart shaped pink foods, partly because a friend borrowed my red food coloring on Friday and used it all! I don't blame her though, you'd be amazed how many red drops it takes to make red velvet cupcakes.
Instead, I decided to make cinnamon-raisin-walnut cinnamon toast for Brett, as cinnamon toast and pizza pretty much tie for his favorite foods, and pizza makes a poor breakfast. I was surprised to discover that cinnamon bread has almost exactly the same process as cinnamon rolls (which I had a business making in 4th grade, but that's another story). It really only requires about 20 minutes of effort and then some waiting during various rises. So if you love cinnamon toast, why not try making your own bread to go underneath all that butter and cinnamony sugar?
Cinnamon Raisin Walnut Bread
Adapted from "My Food Blog"
who got it from Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 tsp granulated sugar, divided
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 pkg yeast
1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 large egg
3 TBSP melted butter
1/2 cup milk (I used skim, but it would probably be better with whole)
3/4 cup warm water
1 1/2 cups raisins (brown, golden, or a combination)
1 cup chopped walnuts
For the topping: 1/2 cup sugar + 2 TBSP cinnamon
1. Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water. Sprinkle 1 tsp of the sugar on top and set aside, covered, for about 10 minutes.
2. Melt butter on the stove over low heat. Set aside to cool slightly.
3. Whisk together the flour, remaining sugar, salt, and cinnamon.
4. Take the cover off your yeast mixture, stir to be sure water and yeast are all combined, and then pour into a well in the center of the flour mixture. Add egg, milk, and melted butter. Stir together thoroughly.
5. Knead, in the bowl, for about 8 minutes, adding flour frequently as needed. Butter another bowl. Put the bread in, turn once to coat with butter, and cover with a towel. Let rise 1 1/2 - 2 hour until doubled in size. Grease loaf pans. Preheat oven to 180 C / 350 F.
6. Divide the dough in two. Roll the first ball into a rectangle, about 8" X 12". Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Roll up tightly and place in greased loaf pan. Repeat.
7. Bake 20 minutes, then rotate pans back to front and bake 20 minutes more (check after 15 to be sure they aren't turning too dark on top.
Let cool before slicing.
For cinnamon toast: slice, toast, butter, sprinkle with combined cinnamon and sugar. Then stick the toast slices into an oven or toaster oven until the butter, cinnamon and sugar melt together and form a delicious crust.