I started out using the tangzhong method for making bread. With my so-called success, I wanted to branch out a little bit. I turned to the trusted Baking: From my home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan. I had success with most of her recipes and felt her bread recipes would not disappoint. I decided on her Raisin Swirl Bread recipe as it allowed me to make the bread over the course of two nights. I have to say it was very easy to make, easier than the tangzhong method. My loaf didn’t turn as as swirly as I used a different size loaf pan and didn’t roll out my dough to match it. Nevertheless, I was happy it turned out almost like the picture in the book, just less swirly. Now, one cannot make raisin bread and not make French toast. As a side to my French toast, I knew I wanted bacon as for once, there was some in my fridge. In a discussion we had at work about bacon (yes, we’re always discussing food), my friend show me how I can make maple bacon. I don’t know why I never thought of that before and it’s super easy to make! I paired it with some fruit to make it a little healthier.
I been looking and waiting and was finally able to get my hands on some duck eggs. Although I had brunch plans, I couldn’t resist making fried duck egg on raisin toast. It's definitely more tasty then regular chicken eggs. I didn’t feel like sunny side up, so I made it overeasy…which didn’t make it look as appealing presentation-wise. It was good and the greek yogurt with fruit was a perfect side. I still managed to eat at brunch and even had lunch!
Raisin Swirl Bread – Makes 1 loaf in 9x5” loaf pan
For the bread
1 packet active dry yeast
¼ cup sugar, plus a pinch
1 ¼ cup just-warm-to-the-touch whole milk
½ stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ tsp salt
1 large egg
3 ¾ to 4 cups all-purpose flour
For the swirl
1 tbsp sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup moist, plump raisins (dark or golden)
3 tbsp unsalted butter, softened to a spreadable consistency
1. Put the yeast in a small bowl, toss in the pinch of sugar and stir in ¼ cup of the warm milk. Let rest for 3 minutes, then stir – the yeast may not have dissolved completely and may not have bubbled, but it should be soft
2. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, combine remaining 1 cup of milk, the butter and the remaining ¼ cup sugar and mix on low speed for a minute or two. Add the salt, and egg and mix for a minute. The mixture will look unpleasantly curdly. Add the yeast mixture and beat on medium-low speed for 1 minute.
3. Turn off the mixer and add 2 ¾ cups of the flour. Mix on low speed just until you work the flour into the liquids – you’ll have a sticky mix. If you’ve got a dough hook, switch to it now. Add another 1 cup of flour, increase mixer speed to medium and beat the dough for a couple of minutes. If the dough does not come together and almost clean up the sides of the bowl, add up to ¼ cup more flour, 1 tbsp at a time. Keep the mixer speed at medium and knead the doubh for about 3 minutes, or until it is smooth and has a lovely buttery sheen. The dough will be very soft, much too soft to knead by hand.
4. Butter a large bowl, turn the dough into the bowl and cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Put the bowl in a warm place and let the dough rise until it is double in size, about 1 ½ hours.
5. Scrape dough onto a large piece of plastic wrap, wrap it and put it in the freezer for 30 minutes to firm enough to be rolled easily. At this point, you can instead refrigerate the dough overnight.
6. To make the swirl, whisk together the sugar, and cinnamon. Check that the raisins are nice and moist, if not, steam them for a minute, and then dry well.
7. Put the dough on a large work surface lightly dusted with flour and lightly dust the top of the dough and roll the dough into a rectangle about 12 x 18 inches.
8. Gently smear 2 tbsp of butter over the surface of the dough – this is most easily done with your fingers.
9. Sprinkle over the sugar mixture and scatter over the raisin. Starting from a short side of the dough, roll the dough up jelly-roll fashion, making sure to roll the dough snugly. Fit the dough into the buttered pan, seam side down, and tuck the ends under the loaf.
10. Cover pan loosely with wax paper and set in a warm place; let dough rise until it comes just a little above the edge of the pan, about 45 minutes.
11. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment or silicone mat.
12. Melt the remaining 1 tbsp of butter, and brush the top of the loaf with the butter.
13. Put the pan on the baking sheet and bake the bread for about 20 minutes. Cover loosely with f a foil tent and bake for another 25 minutes or so.
14. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for 5 minutes, then unmold. Inver the bread and cool to room temperature ride side up on the rack.
Wrapped in plastic, the loaf will keep at room temperature for about 3 days; wrapped airtight, it will keep in freezer for up to 2 months.