cinnamon bread

July 27th, 2010 · 12 Comments

This bread proves that no matter how much experience you have in the kitchen, yeast can still get the better of you.  This was my second try on this recipe — my first try used a packet of yeast that was unexpired, stored at a proper temperature (at least, within my kitchen), and seemingly ready to be used.  And despite all that, my dough stayed thick and dense as a rock.  After setting it out to rise for an hour, it hadn’t even moved.

I started over.  This time, the yeast cooperated (although slowly) — I had bread that would rise, at least.  Still, though, this bread wouldn’t quiet cooperate.  When I tried to roll the raisins into a swirl, they grouped together at the bottom of the loaf (as you can see in the pictures).  The only solution I can think of is to add them with the wet ingredients, so they distribute evenly during kneading.  I’ve written the recipe that way below — when you guys try it, let me know if that works!

But even with all the trial and error, there is nothing quite like the smell of freshly baked bread wafting through the kitchen on a weekend morning.  So I’m going to call the end result a success — if only I could find a way to make my yeast a little less temperamental.

cinnamon bread recipe

1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup warm water
1 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
1 egg
1/3 cup white sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tbsp butter, softened
1/3 cup raisins
3 cups all-purpose flour


Proof the yeast by mixing it with 1/2 cup warm water and 1 tbsp sugar.  Allow to sit for 5 minutes until milky and foaming.

In a large mixing bowl, add the yeast mixture, egg, milk, sugar, butter, salt, raisins and cinnamon.  Add the flour gradually to make a stiff dough.  Knead for about five minutes.

Turn the dough out into a lightly greased bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

Punch the dough down, and place it in a greased 1 1/2 pound loaf pan. Let rise until the bread is the shape that you want, around 45 minutes for a regular-sized loaf. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees while the dough is rising.

Bake the loaf for 35 minutes. Allow to cool before slicing, and serve.

Tags: breads · Breakfast and Brunch · food

garlic soft pretzels

January 11th, 2010 · 24 Comments

When I first posted this recipe for soft pretzels over a year ago, it immediately became one of the most popular posts on this site.  I made that recipe probably a dozen times, trying to improve it with some small variance — and finally settled on garlic.  Because, really, is there any savory recipe that isn’t better with some garlic?

But now I’m opening it up to you — what would be other good variations on this?  Clearly cinnamon sugar would be great, but are there any unique pretzel flavors I should try out?  I’m getting hungry just thinking about it…

Soft Pretzel Recipe

1 tsp active dry yeast
Pinch of sugar
1/3 cup warm water
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp white sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp canola oil

3 tbsp baking soda
1 cup hot water (as hot as your tap can get)
Sea salt

Dissolve yeast into water with a pinch of sugar, let stand 10 minutes, until the mixture is creamy colored. Mix the yeast mixture with flour, sugar, salt, garlic powder and canola oil, and knead until combined (a few minutes, not even 5). Let the dough rise in a greased bowl until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. When the dough has risen, pinch off a handful and roll it out into a long strand. Set aside. Repeat with the rest of the dough, about 6 times. Once all the strands are rolled out, pick up the first one and stretch it out again (the gluten will have relaxed and it should stretch further now). Twist it into a pretzel shape and place it on a baking sheet lined with silipat or cooking spray. Repeat with the rest of the strands.

Dissolve baking soda into hot water and stir until dissolved. Quickly dip each rolled pretzel into the mixture and place it back on the baking sheet. Sprinkle all the pretzels with sea salt, to your preference. Bake for about 8 minutes, until pretzels have browned.

Makes six medium-sized pretzels, but please double or triple this recipe, because they disappear quickly!

Tags: breads · food

Cheddar Biscuit Bread

October 21st, 2009 · 3 Comments

Cheddar Biscuit Bread

When I was in college, I had major problems with insomnia.  Not an occasional night of being unable to sleep, but weeks on end where I would be studying or reading, and suddenly it was 4 o’clock in the morning and I wasn’t even tired.  Or I would get into bed at an oh-so-reasonable hour for a 19- or 20-year old, and lie there, awake, for hours.  My Type-A, hyperproductive friends would smile knowingly when I’d explain that I literally did not sleep, but it wasn’t about bragging rights — it was frustrating, exhausting, and I would have done almost anything to fix it.

Recently, and I’m not sure why, these problems have resurfaced.  After an easy year of falling asleep easily the moment I hit the bed, I find myself wandering out into our kitchen at 2 or 3 am, looking for that midnight snack or snippet of television that will signal to my body that the day is over.

And that’s partially how I conceived of this recipe.  It started out as scones, which are a breakfast food, but to me, this recipe is a bedtime snack.  Savory and rich without being too heavy, a little wedge of this is enough to compel the most reluctant sleeper.  Which is not to say that it shouldn’t be used for breakfast — or, frankly, as an appetizer at dinner.  But after a long day when you want nothing more than to close your eyes, this is comfort food at it’s best.

Night, everyone.

Cheddar Biscuit Bread

Cheddar Biscuit Bread

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 stick cold butter, diced
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1/4 pound sharp Cheddar cheese, grated, plus an additional 1/2 cup grated cheese for topping


Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Combine the flour with the baking powder and salt. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender, fork or two knives, until the butter bits are pea sized.

Lightly beat two of the eggs and mix them with the buttermilk, then add the mixture to the rest of the ingredients above. Using a wooden spoon, mix until the dough begins to come together. Add the grated cheddar and mix until everything is incorporated.

Place the dough in a cake pan, and sprinkle additional cheddar cheese on top.  Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown, and serve.

Cheddar Biscuit Bread from Sugarlaws

Tags: breads · Breakfast and Brunch