From Scratch, With Love

Cinnamon Raisin Baguettes

with 6 comments

I grew up eating my dad’s homemade bread.  He didn’t buy bread, he just made it.  By hand.  No bread machine.  No loaf pans.  His staple bread was a partially whole-wheat baguette, which was delicious fresh from the oven with butter, or the next morning with butter and jelly.  It was also great with manchego cheese or sharp cheddar.

As we got older, he started making more varieties of breads and rolls.  One type of roll that he makes with frequency now is a whole-wheat dinner roll, which is basically a slightly sweet bread made with partially whole-wheat flour.  A few years ago he gave me a very detailed recipe for the bread, including directions on how to knead and how to form the rolls (information I will happily pass along, if asked for).  I’ve made it several times and have experimented by adding raisins to the dough with much success.

I decided to take it a step further and form the dough into baguettes.  Then I decided to take that one step further and make cinnamon-raisin baguettes that would be perfect as french toast bread or as a snack.  It was delicious.

Cinnamon Raisin Baguettes

(Note: You can start this dough in the morning, stick it in the fridge, give it a knead after the first rise, and the second rise will be slow enough that you can leave the house, do errands, and return to finish off the bread when you’re ready for it.  The cold temperature slows the yeast and a slow rise can actually improve the dough.)

In a large bowl, combine

2 cups warm milk (warmer than room temperature, cooler than body temperature)
1 egg plus one egg yolk
1/4 cup honey
1/2 tablespoon yeast
1 cup whole wheat flour

Stir the mixture vigorously until yeast dissolves and let stand for a few minutes until bubbles start to form on the surface.  This is how you know the yeast has been activated.

Stir in enough whole wheat flour that a thick batter forms – about 1 more cup.

Gently fold in (do not stir)

About 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup canola oil or butter

Once the oil is blended in, start gradually folding in white all-purpose or bread flour until a dough forms (perhaps 1 1/2 or 2 more cups).  The dough should be a little sticky but you should be able to handle it.

Spread some white flour on a suitable kneading surface and gently knead the dough until smooth.  Do not over-knead – you want this bread to be airy, not tough.  Wash the bowl, dry it, and grease it with some canola oil.  Return the dough to the bowl, turning once to coat with oil.

After about an hour, the dough will have doubled in size.  Gently knead the CO2 out of the dough and return it to the bowl.

Allow the dough to double its size again (it will take less time) and knead again.  The dough should rise a total of 3 times in the bowl.

During the third rise, mix 1/4 cup of rum with 1/4 cup of water in a saucepan and heat over medium heat.  Add 2/3 cup of raisins to the mixture and allow to simmer for about 2 minutes until the raisins absorb some of the liquid.  Drain in a sieve over the sink and allow to cool and dry on a paper towel.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a cup.

After the third rise, without kneading, dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface and, using a sharp knife, cut into quarters.  Take one of the quarters, with the pointy corner facing you, and brush it with some of the butter.  Sprinkle about a tablespoon of cinnamon and a tablespoon of white granulated sugar over the buttered surface and distribute 1/4 of the raisins over the surface, gently pressing them into the surface so they don’t roll around. (Sorry for the lack of pictures during this step.  My hands got pretty messy.)

Starting with the pointy end closest to you, roll the dough sleeping-bag-style tightly into a baguette, about a foot long.  Try to roll it evenly (the first few times you do it, it will most likely end up looking lumpy.  Don’t fret! It’ll still be delicious!).  Place it seam-side down on a baguette pan or a cookie sheet.  Repeat with the other quarters.  Make sure the baguettes are at least 2 inches away from each other on the cookie sheets.  With a sharp knife, score the loaves by making a very shallow cut on the top of the loaves at a 45 degree angle, which will help them rise evenly in the oven.  Cover with a double layer of damp paper towels so that they don’t dry out and allow to rise at room temperature for about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Once the loaves have risen (they should be less firm to the touch), stick them into the preheated oven for about 10 minutes.  Allow them to cool completely before storing.

Storage: If you don’t think you’ll finish the loaves within a day or two, put them into large ziplock bags in the freezer (I usually cut them in half first).  You can defrost them overnight at room temperature or for 5-10 minutes in a preheated 450 degree oven.  If you defrost it in the oven, the outer crust will be nice and crispy, but the inside will still be soft.

Update: It made great french toast!


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Written by poperatzii

May 22, 2010 at 7:46 pm

6 Responses

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  1. Hi Andrea. Your dad used to make bread for you guys when you were kids? Lucky you!

    This is such a great twist on regular baguette! Love that it’s whole wheat too 😀

    thecoffeesnob

    May 23, 2010 at 7:30 am

  2. Thanks! It’s really yummy. I’m going to make french toast with it in a few minutes!

    poperatzii

    May 23, 2010 at 8:17 am

  3. […] pictures of the pizza dough making process, so you’ll have to imagine it looks a lot like the baguette making […]

  4. Wow! I love bread and this sounds terrific.I love and share your enthusiasm for food. I look forward to reading your blog regularly.

    YucasL.A.

    July 21, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    • Hi Yucas,

      I’m glad you like it. Let me know if you try it out! Thanks for visiting!

      poperatzii

      July 21, 2010 at 5:46 pm

  5. […] improves the results.  So I made some dough (actually, the same dough I used to make those cinnamon raisin baguettes that were so good).  The next morning, I finished the dough.  Part of it went into lovely […]


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