Wednesday, May 28, 2008

raisin and cinnamon bread

There’s an incredible bakery in Corvallis, Oregon which had queues out the door on a Saturday. They made good, heavy, wholesome hearty bread. My favourite was the raison and cinnamon. Today making this loaf I was taken right back to the bakers, eating the fat slices of warm bread smothered in butter one could buy straight out the oven.
I don’t know how it is in other parts of the world – except for what I read online – but the price of grain here has almost doubled in the last 6 months. There are two suppliers of brown rice in Costa Rica, and both for the moment (I hope) have run out. This brings bigger questions. On a practical, immediate level it has inspired me to make my own bread. This is a heavy, dense, old fashioned style bread to be eaten in thin slices, but good.
Makes 2 small cob sized loaves
3 cups wholewheat flour
½ tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon dry yeast
Cinnamon depending on taste, ½ - 1 teaspoon
½ cup presoaked raisins (use the soaking water as part of your water quantity)
1 cup (including raisin water) hot water, I use ½ cup boiling water and ½ cup normal water

Using half the flour, mix all dry ingredients. Add raisins and hot water and beat for 120 strokes. Mix in more flour until the dough loses its stickiness. Turn onto floured table and knead for 8 to 10 minutes. cover with dry cloth and leave somewhere warm and draft free to rise for 40 minutes or until it doubles. Punch down, cover and leave again for another 20 minutes. Divide mix into 2 or 4 pieces, shape into bun or cob shapes, slice a cross on the top with a wet knife and bake in the center of a medium hot oven (mine is 220) for 20 - 30 minutes, start checking after 20, it’ll smell delicious when it’s done. The bread is ready when it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Allow to rest for another 10 minutes or so before slicing.