Tag: bread

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Cinnamon Raisin Bread // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Cinnamon Raisin Bread // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Cinnamon Raisin Bread // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Cinnamon Raisin Bread // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

I like being home. Traveling the world is awesome, don’t get me wrong. I will happily go on adventures like the one to Vietnam any time. But there is something about coming home to your own bed, your own shower, and your own kitchen. I feel like I need to give all my kitchen tools little hugs and tell them I’ve missed them. Which, at this point, I’ve basically done, because I’ve been cooking up a storm this week.

Portland, however, is being slightly less welcoming than my kitchen. Mostly just in its weather-related mood swings. Seriously, this whole week has been days of sporadically alternating sunshine and rain. Sometimes each lasts 5 minutes, sometimes an hour. But it’s making it awfully hard to cook. What I’m going to make is always determined by my mood, which is often influenced by the weather. Between the rain and sun breaks, I can’t decide if I should be making spring recipes or winter recipes.

This cinnamon raisin bread is the perfect balance between spring and winter, though I already know I’ll be making it year round. It’s homey and warming thanks to the springy crumb and the way it fills your kitchen with the most comforting smell. But the raisins and cinnamon bring a little fruitiness and fun to the mix, a little surprise if you will. This isn’t just plain ol’ bread, you know. This has a beautiful swirl of cinnamon sugar and beautifully juicy pops of fruit throughout it.

This recipe made two loaves, and I thought for certain I’d freeze one loaf, because my roommates just don’t usually eat that much bread (unless it’s beer bread). But I was wrong. In two days, we are down to half a loaf left. Everyone has been enjoying this bread, toasted, slathered with butter, or raspberry rhubarb jam, or nutella for breakfast and dessert and a snack here and there.

Point is, make this bread and your house will smell like heaven, your friends will love you, and you’ll be perfectly toeing the line between the seasons.

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Makes 2 loaves

Ingredients

2 1/4 tsps (1 package) dry instant yeast
2 1/4+ cups warm water
3 Tbl and 1/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
1 Tbl salt
3 Tbl butter
6 -7 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup raisins
canola/vegetable oil
1 Tbl cinnamon

Instructions

In the bowl of an electric mixer (or not. If you don’t have one, this can easily be made with the strength of your own two arms.) combine 1/2 cup warm water, the yeast, and 1 Tbl of sugar. Set aside and let sit until it’s foamy. In another bowl, cover the raisins with warm-hot water, at least 2 cups. This step is optional, but it will plump the raisins, making them a bit juicier in the bread. After about 3 minutes, pour 1 3/4 cups of the raisin water off into a measuring cup and discard the rest. Pour the raisin water into the mixing bowl with the yeast, in addition to 2 Tbl sugar, the salt, 2 Tbl melted butter, 3 1/2 cups of flour, and all of the raisins. Mix with the paddle attachment until thoroughly combined, adding up to 3 more cups of flour until the dough is smooth enough to handle, but still moist. Switch from the paddle attachment to the dough hook, and knead for about 7 minutes (10 minutes if you’re kneading by hand). Dump the dough out onto a floured surface, coat the mixing bowl with canola or vegetable oil, and put the dough back into the bowl, turning it to coat, and cover the bowl with a clean dishtowel. Set the bowl in a warm spot (I like to turn on the light over my stove and set it under that) and let it rise for about an hour, or until it’s doubled.

In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and 1 Tbl of cinnamon and mix well. Butter two bread pans. When the dough has doubled, remove it from the bowl onto a floured surface and punch it down, then divide it in half. Roll out one half of the dough into a rectangle that measures roughly 16 by 8 inches. Once rolled out, sprinkle the dough with 1 Tbl of water, and half of the cinnamon sugar mixture. Roll the dough up starting from the short end, and pinch the seam shut. Drop the roll of dough into one of the greased loaf pans. Repeat with the second half of dough. Brush the top of both loaves with the remaining 1 Tbl of melted butter, and cover them again with a clean dishtowel to let them rise for another hour in a warm spot.

About 15 minutes before your bread is done rising, preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Bake the bread for 30 minutes, or until the loaves look beautiful dark brown on top. Remove the loaves from the pans (beware, as cinnamon sugar may have oozed and become rather sticky – aprons are your friend) and set on a cooling rack. I recommend slicing into one of these bad boys when it’s still pretty warm. You can toast it and put a nice layer of cream cheese on top, like I did with my cinnamon raisin bread when I was younger, but a little butter will do nicely as well. Enjoy.

Gougères

Gougères // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

Gougères // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Gougères // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Gougères // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

I recently had a serious gougères craving. Which is not a normal craving. Normal people crave… I don’t know what. But my guess is not cheesy little dough puffs. Right?

Also, I’ve discovered I have a lot of cookbooks. I knew this. But when I was looking for a recipe to use for these gougères, I realized I have a few cookbooks that I have never even opened. Mostly these are ones I got for free. For example, I have about 5 old James Beard cookbooks. How many different recipes for one thing can the man really have? I think I need to do a little research and then pick one or two to keep. Because also, my cookbook bookshelf is officially overflowing. Books are starting to get piled on top of books, so you can’t see what they are, and everything falls out when you pull out your selection. Not good.

I also decided that I want to be the kind of person that writes notes in my cookbooks. In pencil. But still. Rather than attempting to remember what I liked about a recipe or what I did differently or what didn’t work, I should just write myself little notes in the margins. Or be like my Aunt Elise, who has layers of post-its all over her favorite recipes.

So, my February resolutions: clear out some cookbooks, or at least USE the ones I haven’t used yet and if I don’t like them, think about getting rid of them; and make notes in the margins. Totally doable, I think.

Gougères

Ingredients

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk (I used 2%)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 cup flour
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups grated Gruyère cheese OR 1 cup grated gruyère and ~1/2 cup grated Parmesan
a pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tsp of dry mustard (optional – I didn’t add this, but wished I had afterwards, as my gougères were missing a bit of bite to them)

Instructions

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine water, milk, butter, salt, and pepper; Cook until the butter melts. Add the flour in one batch, and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula. The mixture will become this strange, shiny, kind of gelatinous mixture, and will pull away from the sides of the saucepan. Remove the pan from the heat, and add the eggs one at a time, stirring after each addition. It will seem, for a short while after you add each egg, that it won’t incorporate. I promise it will. There will be a magical moment where all of a sudden, the egg and the flour decide they like each other and want to be the best of friends. After adding all of the eggs, the dough should be nice and glossy. Add 1 cup of the grated Gruyère, dry mustard if you are using, and cayenne, and combine thoroughly.

Butter a baking sheet or line it with parchment or silpat, and drop the batter on by tablespoon. Sprinkle the tops with the remaining grated Gruyère or Parmesan. Bake for 25-35 minutes, until puffed up and golden brown. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes before indulging, as they’re full of steam and can be very hot.

Weekend Finds 11:24:13

It has been an interesting week. Jonah has been in Buenos Aires since the 16th, and on Tuesday, I will pick him up at the airport in Seattle, where we’re spending Thanksgiving/akkuh. I spent a few days in Seattle with my dad and Darla doing some belated birthday celebrations, which was incredibly fun. Lots of eating and adventuring. Which leads me to the weekend finds. Getting ready for the holidays, plus a little adventuring.

1. Pumpkin Chai Bread

Pumpkin Chai Bread from Adventures in Cooking // Weekend Finds, Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Pumpkin Chai Bread from Adventures in Cooking

I’ve been waiting to venture into the land of pumpkin flavored things, though I’m not sure why. This pumpkin chai bread made an appearance tonight for commune dinner. It was a big hit. I definitely recommend it for a sweet but not too sweet dessert.

2. Jaipur Avenue Chai

Jaipur Avenue Chai // Weekend Finds, Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Jaipur Avenue Chai

When I go to my dad’s house (which I did this past week while Jonah was gone), they almost always have at least one box of Jaipur Avenue Chai in the cupboard. This chai is so rich and delicious, and I love the flavor profiles. Saffron is my favorite! I’ve been able to find it at a store in my neighborhood called Foster & Dobbs, but my sister, who lives in Berkeley, has been ordering it online. It would make a great host/ess gift for the holidays!

3. Jalapeno Cornbread and Buttermilk Biscuit Stuffing

Jalapeno Cornbread and Buttermilk Biscuit Stuffing from Local Milk // Weekend Finds, Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Jalapeno Cornbread and Buttermilk Biscuit Stuffing from Local Milk

While there are a lot of ingredients in this jalapeno cornbread and buttermilk biscuit stuffing, and you’ll have to make two other recipes before you can even start on the stuffing itself, this looks absolutely incredible. A delicious southern twist on traditional stuffing.

4. Not-your-normal Hanukkah treats

Frittelle Di Riso // Weekend Finds, Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Frittelle Di Riso

I’ve been so focused on Thanksgivukkah that I’ve almost forgotten that Hanukkah lasts for eight whole nights, meaning lots of opportunities to try some different oil-laden delicacies. This article from the Kitchn has some neat suggestions, but I am particularly interested in trying frittelle de riso.

5. Bar Sajor

 Bar Sajor // Weekend Finds, Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Bar Sajor

This was (one of) my birthday surprise dinner(s) in Seattle. It’s one of Matt Dillon’s restaurants, a spot I’ve been wanting to go for a while now. The space was just beautiful, the staff was amazingly friendly and helpful and fun, and the food was spectacular. I can’t decide if my favorite dish was the chicken liver pate with delicata squash and chestnuts or the caramelized butter ice cream with chocolate chip cookies.

Weekend Finds 9:29:13

Well, it has been officially windy and rainy in Portland this week (downing trees and outing power and everything!), so the time has come to hunker down, put on those shawl collar sweaters, and bring some of these weekend finds to life.

1. How to Make a Good Crockpot Meal

Weekend Finds // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Crockpot tips from Bon Appetit

First and perhaps most importantly, let’s revisit slow cookers as it gets colder. I never know which recipes on the internet to trust, but one resource I always listen to is Bon Appetit. This is a great little reminder of the do’s and don’t’s of crockpotting.

2. Pumpkin Time!

Weekend Finds // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Pumpkin pumpkin everywhere!

Portland is certainly getting into the fall swing of things, as many bakeries are featuring pumpkin on their menus. This article from Portland Monthly tells you who’s falling for what fall treats. Pumpkin streusel muffins, pumpkin caramal ricotta tart, pumpkin cupcakes with molasses butter cream… how can I decide? It’s also inspiring me to revisit some of my favorite pumpkin recipes

3. Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Weekend Finds // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Cinnamon Raisin Bread from A Subtle Revelry

Ok, admittedly, all of these breads from A Subtle Revelry look beautiful, but the cinnamon raisin loaf really stood out to me. I grew up eating cinnamon raisin bread, toasted, slathered with cream cheese. I remember how good it would make the kitchen smell in the morning before I went to catch the bus to school. Imagine how heavenly the house would smell if you made a whole loaf. From scratch.

4. Leif

Weekend Finds // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Beautiful Agate platters from Leif.

This online shop has some beautiful tabletop items. I’m particularly into the dip dye place mats, the dipped mini bowls, and the agate platters, which would make for an AMAZING cheese spread, and you know it.

5. Buttermilk Bacon Grease Cornbread

Weekend Finds // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Buttermilk bacon grease cornbread from Local Milk

I can’t even. This buttermilk bacon grease cornbread from Local Milk sounds so effing good, I have a feeling that once I make it I’ll hide it from everyone else and eat the whole dish, still warm, slathered in butter and honey. Ok, maybe not, but I’d like to do that. There’s another variation for Coconut cornbread in her post that also sounds scrumptious.