Thursday, March 16, 2017

Cinnamon Raisin Struan Bread with the BBB



The Babes are back for this month's recipe and it is a hearty and tasty loaf of cinnamon raisin bread!  The recipe comes from that well known bread baker, Peter Reinhart.  It may not look that way, but there are quite a few extra grains in this loaf, making it a more complex bread.  Our host kitchen found the recipe in a little paperback book that had been hidden in with the mysteries in her bookcase.  A timely and useful discovery for our baking needs!
I initially was going to do an overnight ferment, but ended up just baking it on a long afternoon.  I did add a nice spoonful of sourdough starter to my dough and reduced the yeast.  This gave the finished loaf just a bit more chew and a very nice finish to the flavor.  I have seen this recipe done the way it is presented and also using the extra grains as a soaker first.  Since we were leaving them dry, I decided to leave my dough slightly more on the sticky side than recommended, because I knew the dry grains would be absorbing liquid.  Since my dough with reduced yeast took twice as long to rise, by the time I was ready to shape, the dough was the perfect consistency.  I favor a longer rise for better flavor anyway.
Now this recipe makes three hearty loaves, so feel free to reduce the quantities to make one or two loaves, or one and some buns.  However, it will freeze beautifully if you want to make all three.  It slices great, makes awesome toast, and I can't wait to try making some French toast with it.  We would love for you to join us in making this bread this month.  It is not a difficult loaf and quite delicious; lightly sweet and very satisfying.  You don't have to have a blog to participate, a picture will do.  Just send a picture or your post of your finished loaf to the host kitchen by the 29th of this month.  You will receive a Bread Baking Buddy graphic to keep or add to your post, and be included in our Buddy round up at the end of the month.  New recipes are posted every month on the 16th.  Check out our Facebook group to see most of the Babes' baking results during that time.

A few notes for my bake, I used brown basmati rice, and decided to give it a whirl in the food processor to break down the pieces with the bran and oats.  I wanted to make sure there would not be huge pieces left in the dough.  Brown rice stays pretty firm.  I also used oat bran instead of wheat bran, and millet instead of polenta, (corn allergy).  Easier on our tummies.  And I ended up using 2/3 King Arthur all purpose flour and 1/3 light spelt flour for my flours.  The golden raisins are my preference because they tend to be more plump and moist than regular raisins.  And I like the color!


Cinnamon Raisin Struan Bread
makes three 1½ pound loaves
from Sacramental Magic in a Small-Town Cafe by Br Peter Reinhart

7 cups (960g) high-gluten bread flour (2/3 all purpose, 1/3 light spelt)
½ cup (60g) uncooked polenta (coarse ground cornmeal) (coarse ground sprouted millet)
½ cup (45g) rolled oats
½ cup (110g) brown sugar
½ cup (19g) wheat bran (oat bran)
4 tsp (24g) salt
3 tbsp (48g) active dry yeast activated in 4 tbsp (60g) lukewarm water (reduced to 2 tbsp yeast and added large spoonful of sourdough starter)
(alternately, use 2 tbsp (28g) plus 1 tsp instant yeast, mixed with the dry ingredients)
½ cup (98g) cooked brown rice, cooled (chopped in food processor)
¼ cup (84g) honey
¾ cup (184g) buttermilk
About 1½ cups (~360g) water (be prepared to add more if needed)
3 cups (435g) raisins (golden raisins)
½ cup cinnamon sugar (1 part cinnamon to 2 parts granulated sugar)
4 tbsp (57g) melted butter 

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine flour, polenta, oats, brown sugar, bran, and salt.  If you are using instant yeast, that may be added to the dry ingredients.  If using active dry yeast, activate it in the warm water and add with the wet ingredients.

Add the cooked and cooled rice, honey, and buttermilk and mix all together.  Add 1 cup of water, reserving the rest to add if needed. Mix on low speed with dough hook until combined.  Add more water if dry ingredients remain unincorporated.  Let rest for 5 minutes.
Because Struan has so many whole grains, it takes longer to knead than most breads. Allow at least 15 minutes for hand kneading, but be prepared to knead for 20. The dough will change before your eyes, lightening in color, becoming gradually more elastic and evenly grained. The finished dough should be tacky, not sticky, lightly golden, stretchy and elastic, rather than porridge-like. When you push the heels of your hands into the dough it should give way but not tear. If it flakes or crumbles, add a little more water.
For this whole grain dough, keep the mixer on low speed or low medium.  Knead for 5-10 minutes and redistribute dough occasionally.  When the dough is slightly sticky but elastic, add the raisins and knead for 2 more minutes, until the raisins are evenly distributed.  You may need to work in by hand at first and finish with the hook.  When the dough is slightly sticky but cleans the sides of the bowl, it should be about good.  (Even with the added grains, I could almost get the windowpane test to work.)

Cover the bowl with a damp towel, lid, or plastic wrap.  Allow dough to rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, until it has roughly doubled in size.  (Mine took 2 hours due to the reduced yeast.)


Divide dough into 3 equal pieces (or more if you want to make smaller loaves). With a rolling pin, roll out each piece into a long rectangle.  (Make the rectangle fairly long, but no wider than the length of your loaf pan.  This will allow more swirls in the cinnamon bread.)  Sprinkle 1-2 tbsp of cinnamon sugar over the surface, spreading it evenly and pressing in lightly.  Roll up the dough into tight loaves, tucking and pinching the seams into one line on the bottom. Put the loaves, seam side down, in greased bread pans, (I used a standard 8x4" loaf pan for mine).  Cover and allow the loaves to rise until doubled in size.  (About 1 hour 45 minutes for mine.)

While the bread is rising, preheat the oven to 350º F.  When the loaves are ready, place on the center shelf and bake for about 45 minutes. The loaves should be nicely domed and dark gold. The bottom and sides should be a uniform light gold and there should be an audible, hollow thump when you tap the bottom of the loaf. If the loaves are not ready, remove them from the pans and place them back in the oven until done.  They will finish quickly when removed from the pans.

When done, brush a little butter, margarine, or oil over the tops, then sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon sugar, coating each loaf with a layer of cinnamon crust.


Allow the breads to cool on wire racks for at least 40 minutes before slicing.  Bread that is fully cooled will slice better.

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