Easy Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Dec 3rd

Easy cinnamon bread that contains YEAST! Yes, this is a hybrid of a quick bread (a bread leavened with chemical agents such as baking powder or baking soda) and a yeast bread (leavened with yeast, obvi). Yeast can sometimes seem scary, but yeast breads have become my absolute favorite thing to bake! Once you “get it”, it’s permanently “gotten” and you get to create results that make people say, wait, you MADE this bread? This particular bread makes your house smell AMAZING and if my family’s consumption of said bread can speak for anything, we ate the whole loaf in two days.

A bit on yeast. In most grocery stores you can find “Quick Rise” or “Instant” (same thing), or “Active Dry”. Quick yeast is mixed with dry ingredients and doesn’t require any time to sit in warm water. Active dry yeast usually needs to proof in warm liquid until it dissolves and becomes bubbly. Have both on hand as recipes will always specify.

Though bread machines probably produce superior results, you can still make bread if you don’t have one. I don’t have one, and I make bread a lot. You also don’t need a standing electric mixer (but start doing push ups now as you will definitely need those biceps for the old fashioned counter-top kneading). This bread is called EASY because it doesn’t need any kneading at all! Scan through the pictures – besides an hour of rest time, this is as simple as mixing together ingredients and baking it in the oven – it’s just like any muffin or banana bread recipe you’ve tried in the past. The best part is that your house smells like a bakery and the bread itself is sweet, tender, chewy, and satisfying in a way that no quick bread can compete with.

If you’re new to the yeast business and getting tripped up by trepidation, TRY THIS BREAD! It can be your gateway bread.

Easy Cinnamon Bread

Slightly adapted from King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion

Makes 1 loaf  (14-16 slices)

3 c. all purpose flour

1/2 c. sugar

2 tsp. instant yeast

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. salt

1 c. warm milk*

4 tbsp. butter, melted

1 egg

1 tsp. baking powder

1 c. raisins

Cinnamon-Sugar for topping*

*To warm milk, microwave in glass measuring cup until warm to the touch, but not hot.

*Just mix about 2 tbsp. sugar with 1/4 tsp. cinnamon to use for topping

1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk flour, sugar, yeast, cinnamon and salt.

2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk milk, butter, and egg.

3. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix well until completely smooth.

4. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest at room temp. for 1 hour. At the end of the hour, preheat oven to 350 degrees.

5. Uncover and stir in baking powder and raisins. This will be hard as dough will be stretchy and annoying – just mix as well as you can.

6. Grease a 8 or 9 inch loaf pan with nonstick spray and transfer dough into pan. Sprinkle the top with cinnamon sugar.

7. Bake for 40 minutes or until bread is set in the center and a toothpick comes out cleanly.

8. Cool in pan for five minutes and then invert to wire rack to cool completely.

*Bread slices best when completely cooled. AMAZING toasted. Will keep, sealed tightly at room temperature, for several days.

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