Hey guys.  You’ll get me for the next couple weeks while Jocelyn’s on a much-deserved vacation with her family.  I promise that eventually — eventually! — she and I will get back to actually, consistently alternating weeks, but we do as life requires of us, and for a while now that’s meant one of us posting in blocks while the other one is just too busy.  It should all work out to roughly half and half in the end, so nobody gets shafted on recipes they can eat!

Sometimes my motivation for devising a recipe is as simple as someone staring mournfully at a price tag in a store.  :-)  My mother really wanted cinnamon raisin bread, but she did not want to play $8 for one measly little loaf made mostly out of brown rice flour off the shelf.  So I grabbed the principles behind my garlic cheese bread and set to work, and a couple trials later I had this recipe.  The bread’s best fresh (honestly, show me a bread that isn’t :-) ), but it’s also good toasted.  So far I’ve served it with egg drop soup, which isn’t perhaps the perfect soup in the universe to go with cinnamon raisin bread, but the general principle of serve-it-with-a-soup isn’t all bad.  :-)

The only finicky part about this bread is to make sure not to let the dough dry out, or it won’t rise properly.  I usually put it in the oven on warm to rise over a tray of hot water, but otherwise I make sure to cover it in plastic wrap.  Basically, err on the side of too much moisture rather than too little and it should work fine.

And, with no further musings, the recipe itself.

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Yield:  1 medium-small loaf

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups dough mix
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/4 tsp guar gum
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 T brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 T shortening
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp yeast

Directions:

1.  In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the hot water, sugar, and yeast, and set aside to proof till foamy.  In a medium-large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients — dough mix, xanthan gum, guar gum, salt, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

2.  Using a pastry cutter or, really, just a long-tined fork, cut the shortening into the dry mix until crumbly.  Add the raisins to the mix and give it a good stir with the fork so the raisins are more or less evenly distributed.  (It doesn’t hurt to go through the mixture with your fingers at this point, just to make sure you break up any clumps of raisins that are stubbornly sticking together.

3.  Add the egg and the proofed yeast mixture to the dry mix and stir it with the fork until the dough is mostly combined.  You won’t get it to combine all the way with the fork, but that’s okay; just turn the dough out onto the counter, scrape all the mixture out of the bowl with a floppy spatula and knead it together with your hands.  Shape the dough gently into a flattened loaf, cover it in plastic wrap on a cookie sheet, and set it out to rise for 30-45 minutes or until a bit less than double.

4.  Preheat the oven to 425, and bake the risen loaf on an ungreased cookie sheet for 25-30 minutes.  You can eat it fresh and not yet cool, or toast slices the next day.  Either way it’s great stuff with or without butter.  :-)  Enjoy!