My college boy came home last week and brought me a loaf of my favorite bread, Cinnamon Raisin Bread, from his employer, Panera. There is just nothing like this lightly crumbed, lightly sweetened, studded-with-raisins bread toasted for breakfast in the morning. It never fails to bring a "yum" to mind. But, as much as Doug and I enjoy it, the kids won't touch it because of the raisins. Picky, picky, I say, but I don't buy it for that reason (because that would be selfish, right?). Which means I don't get to enjoy it very often either.
After a fairly extensive search on the internet, I did not find a copycat recipe for Panera's current Cinnamon Raisin Bread, which surprised me (I thought one could find just about anything on the internet). I did, however, find what looked to be a pretty good recipe for a Raisin Cinnamon Bread they must have served in the past. The recipe I found does not call for rolling the bread out and sprinkling it with cinnamon and sugar, which is why I know it's not the current recipe. And the bread they sell today does not have cinnamon chips in it. I decided, however, to at least try the dough (and modified it) and use my own technique for swirling it with cinnamon.
Yum! It is tender, light, just the slightest bit sweet, and cinnamony. And after being toasted and buttered -- it is it! (without the raisins) The kids love it, Doug loves it and I really love it. I made two loaves last week and two more today. I'm going to slice and freeze one, so it's not so tempting to eat two loaves of bread in a few days!
I have a tip below for placing the bread on its side hot out of the oven so that it gets nice indentations from the racks to use as guides for slicing. This only works if your cooling rack is similar to mine (see pictures below).
makes two loaves
1 cup warm water (baby bottle warm)
1 package yeast (or 2 teaspoons)
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup warm water
3 T. honey
2 packages yeast (or 4 teaspoons)
1/4 cup shortening
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
3 T. butter, melted
1/2 cup white sugar
1 scant T. cinnamon
1 T. butter
1 T. honey
Combine the water and the yeast in a small mixing bowl. Stir to dissolve the yeast. Add the flour to the bowl and stir until the ingredients are fully incorporated. Cover with a cloth and ferment the starter at room temperature for 30 min.
Combine the water, honey, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the shortening, flour, salt, and starter. Mix the dough on low speed with a dough hook for 3 to 5 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Remove from bowl. Grease bowl and place dough back in bowl, rotating to grease all sides. Cover with a towel and let rise for 30 to 60 minutes.
After dough has just about doubled in size, punch it down and divide in two. On a floured surface, roll each half out into a large rectangle -- about 20 by 9 inches. Mix white sugar and cinnamon thoroughly. Brush the surface with half the melted butter and sprinkle with half the cinnamon sugar.
Roll up starting at short end, tightly, and pinch seam closed and place seam side down. Press heels of your hands onto rolled ends to press closed and fold ends under. Place in greased bread pans -- 9 x 5 inches. Cover with a towel and let rise 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Bake for 30-40 min., until the crusts are a deep golden brown.
Meanwhile, melt 1 T. butter and honey together.
Remove from pans immediately and brush with melted butter/honey mixture. Place loaves on their sides (if you want to make indentations for slicing guides). Cool completely.
Text and pictures © Bless Us O Lord.
Dough source: modified from thathomesite.com