Yet another recipe traditionally containing raisins where I do the humane thing and studiously avoid including them. In my opinion, there are three things raisins ruin:
Days ending in 'Y'
I'm not doing this on purpose, these are some of my favorite things to make and eat. This one is all about the sweetened enriched dough with a strong vein of cinnamon running through it. It doesn't last long in the house, so I generally make two loaves when I take the time to make it.
There are some extra stretching and bench proofing steps in this recipe you might not see elsewhere. It's similar to a sourdough bread process. I've tried eliminating steps, but this amount of extra care provides consistent results for me.
Total Time: 6 hours
Makes: 2 loaves
For the Dough
114g or one stick BUTTER
585g (20 2/3 oz) or 3 3/4cup AP FLOUR (most recipes of this kind call of bread flour, I never touch the stuff)
65g or 3/4 cup DRIED MILK (nonfat or whatever you have around)
7g or 1tbsp YEAST (instant, dried, super fast, whatever)
340g or 12oz room temperature WATER
75g or 1/3cup SUGAR
1 1/2 tsp SALT
200g RAISINS (feed to your rabbit or some unsuspecting toddler - I will speak no more of this)
For the Swirl
110g or 1 cup POWDERED SUGAR
Plus another EGG for washing the top of the loaves
1- Cut BUTTER into about 20 chunks and leave to soften to room temperature. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together FLOUR, MILK POWDER, SALT, and YEAST. In a separate bowl, whisk together WATER, SUGAR, and EGG. With the dough hook attachment running at low speed, slowly add the wet to the dry. Scrape down the edges if not fully incorporated and leave running for 2 minutes.
2- With mixer still on low, begin adding the butter one or two pieces at a time, adding the next bit when the previous is incorporated. The process will take 3-5 minutes. Increase speed to medium and knead an additional 3-5 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. (BTW - this is where you would ruin everything and add the raisins, right after the kneading but before the rise.)
3- Grease a large bowl (or leave in the mixer bowl, there should be plenty of butter residue). Form dough into a ball with your hands, lightly kneading and stretching for 30 seconds. Cover and let rise for 45 minutes. Repeat the process of lightly stretching and kneading the dough into a ball. Return to bowl, cover, and let rise until it doubles, approx 45 min.
4- Divide dough in two, placing the second batch back in the covered bowl while working with the first. On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough to a rough rectangle 25cm x 15cm (11x6 inches). Fold in half along the long side so you still have a 25cm length of dough. Roll the dough tightly up into a ball, cover with greased plastic. Repeat with second half and leave to rest while making the filling - about 10 minutes.
5- Whisk together POWDERED SUGAR, CINNAMON, and SALT. Retrieve first ball of dough, coat lightly with flour, and roll out to an 45x18cm (18x7 inch) rectangle. Mist entire surface of rectangle with water, and sprinkle half the filling mixture across leaving a 2-3cm border on all sides. Mist with more water until filling is sticky but not runny.
6- Roll dough starting with one of the short ends, keep tucking under and pulling to get a tight roll. Seal the top border to the newly formed 18cm log. With a knife or bench scraper, cut down the length of the middle of the log so you have two 18cm lengths of dough. Turn the lengths so the filling is face up. Twist the two lengths together, I usually get two full twists. Transfer into greased loaf pan. It's OK if the dough is longer than the pan, squish to fit all the way down into the corners. Cover with greased plastic and repeat with the second loaf. Leave to rise 1.5 to 2 hours. Dough will fill or overfill the top of the pans and almost completely spring back when poked.
7- Preheat oven to 325F. Gently brush loaves with beaten egg, being sure to get into all the crevices. Bake 40-50 min, rotating the pans halfway through. Loaves should temp at least 200F before removing from oven. I like it to be about 205F before extraction.
8- Cool for 5-10 minutes before removing from the pans. Leave to cool completely on wire rack before storing in an airtight container.