Tuesday, June 15, 2010

TWD - Raisin Swirl Bread

I get a lot of emails from friends and family. Jokes. Stories. Prayers. And questionnaires. You know the kind...what's your favorite season? What's your favorite color? What's your favorite smell? Whenever I am asked what's my favorite smell (and isn't smell a verb??) I always list two...fresh ground coffee and fresh baked bread. Guess the fresh ground coffee explains why I chose to work at Starbucks part-time. :)

As for the fresh baked bread...I don't think there is anything that smells as wonderful as the yeasty aroma of bread as it is baking. Unless you add cinnamon. Cinnamon smells fabulous coming from the oven. Think apple pie or cinnamon buns. So, when I saw that Susan of Food.Baby had chosen Raisin Swirl Bread for this week's TWD I was ecstatic! I love making home-made bread. For me it is an almost zen-like experience. The aromas, the kneading, the blending of flour and yeast resulting in something so wholesome and comforting as fresh bread. I am always much more relaxed after baking fresh bread. What a perfect recipe for me to get back into my baking with.

My only disappointment in this recipe was I didn't get to knead the bread! The kneading is done in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Or at least mine was. I suppose there are those who aren't lucky enough to have an electric mixer with a dough hook, but I am. And, I used it to make this bread.

It came together quite easily. In fact, each step turned out exactly as Dorie writes in the recipe. It rose beautifully and smelled divine even before I baked it. I didn't use the orange zest, as I had no oranges. I was going to add the nutmeg, but forgot. :} I did add the vanilla and the cocoa. I was intrigued by the addition of cocoa and couldn't wait to try it. I love raisins so not adding them was never an option. Well, in all honesty I did think about not adding them, because the hubby doesn't like raisins, but, decided this one was for me!

As the bread baked the house filled with the wonderful aroma of cinnamon and yeast and I found myself taking deep breaths as I puttered around. Within minutes of removing it from the oven I was cutting a slice from the end of the loaf. The swirl inside looked perfect. All along the swirl, like little travelers on a road, were the raisins. The steam rising from the slice was scented with a sugary cinnamon smell. I popped it into the toaster (I always toast raisin bread) and spread some butter over the freshly toasted slice and took my first bite.

Heavenly! The bread had a tender but tight crumb. The crust on the outside was chewy and crisp. The raisins were moist and chewy. The cinnamon swirl was delicious...I did not notice the cocoa, but felt that a bit more swirl would have been nice. In fact, the next time I make this I think I will double the amount of swirl. As easy as this was to put together (lengthy but easy) I can see making it again and again. I took two slices into work and shared it with my co-workers. They loved it! The rest is here, with me. In fact, I had two slices this morning for breakfast. And, I may have two slices for lunch!

So, thank you Susan for such a terrific choice. It was a wonderful way to come back to baking and blogging. If you would like to see who else tried this fabulous bread, look here.

26 comments:

  1. You write about it so beautifully too! And the pictures- geez, they made me hungry {raisins and all!}. Welcome back- I've missed you :)
    {And why do I never think to toast homemade bread?}

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  2. It is picture perfect! Love the smell of fresh basking bread in my house. Too hot to bake today or even think about eating more then an ice pop here to keep cool.
    Joyce

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  3. I am so with you!

    Nothing better than the smell of bread baking.

    Your bread looks fabulous.

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  4. I love the smell of baking bread!! Yum! This looks so good I could almost smell it;)

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  5. Your bread really looks perfect! Glad you have a little something for you to enjoy! I made cinnamon rolls so that I wasn't the only one eating it. I knew the boys wouldn't eat the bread.

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  6. I think this might be the best looking bread I've seen so far. Your swirl is perfect and the crumb is lovely. Way to go (and how nice to share with coworkers!)

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  7. the raisins are placed so perfectly! and what a swirl!

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  8. I agree with you 100% on the two best smells in the world. . coffee and bread baking. Both are wonderful. Your bread looks great.

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  9. Everyone here loves the smell of baking bread, so I tend to always do some on Sundays because they look forward to it so much. Your loaf looks beautiful inside and outside! I need to make this again. (Shh...don't tell anyone, but I kneaded it by hand. My KA broke when I was making bread last July and I just got it back last month with a $100 repair/shipping bill, so I am NOT going to make bread with it anymore. Besides, I love kneading and feeling the dough change temperature, texture, etc., responding to the whole process of kneading.)

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  10. Looks delicious! I love cinnamon bread!!

    I saw your post about CWF and the macarons. I was planning on 1/2 recipe, now I am thinking 1/4 of the recipe.

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  11. Susan, I am so glad to see you back and with a great post. I loved the aroma of the bread baking - there is nothing like it. Your loaf looks perfect. Enjoy! I baked this for my grandsons while visiting them in Austin. Needless to say, they devoured it. Take care, lola

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  12. I love the smell of bread too, even better is eating it!! MAN, I could NEVER do a no carb diet. Your bread looks great, and I'm glad your back to baking!! :-)

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  13. Your bread is stunning Susan! The swirl is absolutely perfect - even Dorie would be impressed :) This loaf did smell amazing in the oven and waiting to cut into it was SO tough for me.

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  14. Nothing like comforting bread to get you back into the kitchen. It is picture perfect.
    Mimi

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  15. Ciao Susan ! I love coffe and bread perfumes too ! I agree with you on everything !! Wonderful loaf !

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  16. This bread smelled SO delicious when it was baking! I made mine with raisins too - a lot of times I leave things out so that my husband will eat them, but this time I said forget it!

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  17. Beautiful swirl and the raisins are positioned perfectly. Great job! My husband isn't fond of raisins either, but he loved the dried cherries. Try them next time.

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  18. Yep!! Nothing better than the fragrance/smell of bread baking. NOTHING!!

    The bread is beautiful and the swirl is perfect. This was a good bread.

    P.S. Glad to see you back.

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  19. sounds like a hit. I didn't miss the hand kneading- this bread was so easy to make!

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  20. Welcome back! Your bread turned out beautifully. Don't think the swirl could be more perfect. And the bread didn't separate at all in the swirls. I'm impressed.

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  21. Yup, nothing beats the smell of freshly brewed coffee and homemade bread! Your bread looks fabulous, yum!

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  22. Hi Susan, it's good to see you posting again. Your bread looks wonderful. I usually end up kneading bread a bit by hand, even if the recipe doesn't specify to, but this one came together so quickly in the mixer. Glad you enjoyed it.

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  23. I agree, toasted is definitely the way to go with raisin bread. =) Yours looks wonderful!

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  24. I am drooling over these pics!!! Nothing like homemade bread baking in the oven! Great job!

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  25. I didn't do this one because I've never made bread. But your post makes it seem possible. Maybe over the summer, I'll have the frame of mind to give it a whirl.
    I love how beautiful your bread looks.

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Please let me know what you think. I love to hear from other bakers.