Sunday, January 22, 2012

Raisin Cinnamon Poppy Seed Swirl

(Baked on January 12 while husband Peter was recuperating from his cochlear implant.)

This is a sweet -ish loaf, inspired by the last little bit of eggnog left from Christmas.  Eggnog and buttermilk seem to have a much longer life than indicated by the date on the jug- sometimes it's "sell by",  sometimes "use by".  

Bread Dough

5  c. AP flour  - more or less                          1 extra large egg                    
1 c. eggnog (commercial, low fat)                 2 t salt
7/8 oz. cake yeast dissolved  in 1/2 c lukewarm water

1 c. raisins plumped in 3 T warmed cointreau

soft butter (several tablespoons)
1/2 c. poppy seeds ground w/ 1/2 c sugar, 2 t cinnamon (used spice -coffee grinder)        

Mixing, etc. 

(For this bread, I used my old Joy of Cooking (1980 or so edition) as a reference  for their cinnamon/raisin bread/coffee cakes master recipes. This was helpful for proportions, suggested baking times and methods, etc. )

I mixed all but the raisins and poppy seed mixture as usual in my stand mixer.  This is a nice, soft dough, not as fancy or rich as other similar doughs used for breakfast-style sweet breads.  I prepared the raisins and poppy seeds during the first rise.  I then punched down the dough and mixed in the raisins for the second rise.  After the second rise I stretched out the dough on the floured counter to about 9" x 14".  I spread a thin schmear of soft butter evenly on the dough, and then sprinkled and spread the poppy seed filling over that, as evenly as possible, almost to the very edges of the dough.  I rolled it up short-wise, forming about a 9" long cylinder.  I tucked and pinched the edges and gently fit it into a well-buttered 9" x 5"  aluminum loaf pan. 

Per Joy of Cooking, I preheated the oven to 450 F and set the loaf to rise with a towel on top.  Since this is a very large loaf, around 2# 5oz or so, the dough was already close to the top of the pan.  It rose well above the top when I put it in to bake, about 45 minutes later.  I did NOT dock or score the top of the loaf.   I baked it at 450 F for 7 minutes, then lowered the oven to 350 F for about 30 minutes. It rose even higher during baking, and when done, I immediately removed it from the pan and let it cool on a rack.

After the bread cooled, I made a glaze of 1/2 c powdered sugar, 2 t hot milk and 1/4 t vanilla extract and drizzled and spread it over the top. 

Results:  the dough rose so high that there was a gap between the filling swirls and the bread.  I suspect this could have been prevented by baking the loaf in a pullman loaf pan with a lid.  The bread was tasty, but a little dry.  Either I let it bake too long, or I should have baked it at 350 F or 325 F for about 35 - 40 minutes.  I did not take the finished temp, so I'll have to check that next time.  Also, the glaze made it difficult to get a handle on the bread properly for slicing.  Not sure how that could have been prevented, unless I just put the regular milk and sugar glaze per Polish Sweet Bread while the bread was still hot from the oven.

The poppy seed filling is very nice- not too sweet, but just enough to be special.  Same with the raisins.  Just a nice touch without being overly anything. It toasted beautifully.

The loaf was too large, IMO, to make it easy to cut.  I should have stopped at about a 1# 8oz loaf.

Now I am curious about the pullman loaf pan. It would be fun to see if a lid would prevent the bread from over-rising and separating.  

It is fun to bake some of these pan loaves for a change.  I have been baking free-formed loaves in lidded pots at high temps for the last 3 or 4 years, almost exclusively, so I was feeling a bit out of practice with lower baking temperatures, open pans, and softer-crusted breads and rolls.

1 comment:

  1. This looks and sounds tasty. All I could think of when I saw this was a nautilus pattern, as found in an ear. :-)