Recipe: Cinnamon and Raisin Sourdough Bread

Ingredients:

1/2 cup Sourdough Starter, either fed or discard

3 cups (Unbleached) All-Purpose Flour

2 1/2 tsp instant yeast

1 tbsp granulated sugar

1 1/4 tsp salt

1 large egg

5 tbsp (71g) softened butter

2/3 cup (152g) lukewarm water (approx. 34 degrees Celsius)


Filling:

1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

2 tbsp (unbleached) All-Purpose Flour

1 large egg, beaten with 1 tbsp water)

1/2 cup (74g) raisins


Method:

To make the dough, combine all of the ingredients together - except for the flour - and begin to mix. If using a stand mixer, set to a low cycle. In order to better hydrate the flour and thereby create an overall better dough, add the flour in slowly, maybe a quarter cup at a time. If the dough appears too wet, add in a quarter cup of flour at a time until it improves. And if it appears too dry, add up to 1 tbsp lukewarm water at a time.


Once the dough has essentially cleaned the mixing bowl and removed all remaining dry spots of flour, remove from the mixer and knead by hand on a lightly greased or floured work surface. Feeling the dough is important to understanding the consistency changes within your bread; in order to prevent sticking, slowly add some more flour to the dough whilst kneading (if you add too much, though, it will dry the dough out and cause it too feel akin to a sticky brick). The dough should feel a little stick, but not so much that it sticks to your hands and breaks.

Using a neutral oil (i.e. sunflower oil), lightly grease a medium-sized container or bowl, and allow it to rise for at least 1 1/2 to 2 hours. If you own a proofing cloth, feel free to use that instead. When done, it should have doubled in size (see above photograph).


Whilst the dough is rising, prepare the filling. Stir together the sugar, cinnamon and flour. In a separate bowl, mix the egg and water.

When the dough has at least doubled in size, gently deflate and transfer to a lightly greased work surface. Roll and pat the dough into a rough rectangle, approximately 6" by 20".


Brush the dough with the egg and water mixture, then sprinkle the filling and raisin evenly over top. Remember to leave a bare strip of dough about 1" wide along one of the short edges; once the log has been rolled, it will be easier close and seal together. Starting with the short end that is covered with filling, roll the dough into a log. Seal the ends together with a pinch, and do the same with the seam.

Transfer the log, seam-side down, to a lightly greased 9" x 5" loaf pan. Depending on how long the log ends up being, feel free to simply fold it in half, as I did (see above photograph). Then simply pinch the ends together, closing the log. Cover with a towel (do not use plastic as you want the dough to breathe a little) and allow the bread to rise until about around 1" over the rim of the pan. This should be about an hour, but do not be disheartened if it takes longer).


Preheat the oven to 350°F (200°C) whilst the dough rises.

The bread should bake for 40 to 45 minutes. After the first 15 to 20 minutes, tent it lightly with aluminium foil. The crust should be a delicious golden brown colour, and the inside should read 190°F (88°C) on a digital thermometer.


Remove the bread from the oven, and gently loosen the edges from the pan (this should not take much effort); turn it out of the pan and, if desired, brush the top surface with butter. The butter gives the bread a soft, satiny crust. Then let it cool completely before slicing.







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