Monday, May 23, 2011

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Raisin Bread

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This weekend was another one where I wasn't feeling like my chipper self. So much so that I really didn't even feel like baking to be honest. I know! Crazy huh? I'm still in that kind of "blah" place right now and I think part of it may be the weather. It has rained or been cloudy non-stop for the past week with the exception of Friday night and into Saturday. And this week is supposed to be the same too. It wasn't until Sunday afternoon that I decided to "chin-up" and bake some cinnamon raisin bread. After all, sometimes you just have to Bake On Through, right?

I found this recipe at The Pioneer Woman's website and decided to give it a go. I am challenging myself to make healthier versions of things with out losing the flavor and/or enjoyment of eating them. So I decided to make as many changes as possible and work backwards from there. I started with the butter. Instead of 6 Tablespoons I used 4 plus 2 Tablespoons applesauce. I didn't want to loose what butter brings to the table but I also wanted to cut some of the butter out so I removed a third of it. I also used a cup of vanilla flavored almond milk that I've been trying to use up since it goes bad tomorrow. I let the butter, milk and applesauce warm until the butter was completely melted:
Believe me when I tell you that this smelled so sweet and delicious! Next I whipped the eggs and sugar. I used Splenda. I wanted to do half and half but since I didn't have a sixth of a cup and I wanted to make a drastic change and work backwards, I used all Splenda. After the yeast cooled to about lukewarm, I added the flour and mixed with the sugar and eggs. I used my handy dough hook, which I love using and beat the dough for about 5 minutes. I know the recipe said 10 but I'm pretty impatient. It may have been longer than 5 minutes but it definitely wasn't 10 minutes.

I greased the warmed bowl (I used the microwave!) with canola oil and put a plastic cover over it to let it rise for 2 hours:
After about 2 hours, I started to mix the sugar and cinnamon. The recipe called for regular sugar but I thought it would be much tastier with brown sugar so I used the brown sugar Splenda blend. I actually used less brown sugar than the recipe calls for because of the Splenda to regular sugar conversion and it was plenty. I even had extra when I was finished with it.
So I took the dough out and it had raised somewhat but again, I was too impatient to wait.
I rolled out the dough and made it as perfectly rectangular as possible. I'm totally neurotic about that kind of stuff. I also tried to keep it the same size as the pan that I was using but as you will see below, I failed miserably.

Next I melted a Tablespoon of butter (the recipe called for 2 Tablespoons but 1 was plenty!) and used a pastry brush to coat the dough with it. I sprinkled the cinnamon-sugar mix and added the raisins. The original recipe didn't call for raisins but I added them. I didn't measure, I just sprinkled as I saw fit:
I rolled the dough up tightly:
I greased the pan with canola oil and made the epic mistake of not giving it enough time to rise. I tend to be impatient when it comes to letting the dough rise, if you haven't noticed. I've actually been in a really impatient mood lately. Very antsy and anxious.

So I put the loaf in the pan and brush some egg and skim milk on it. I haven't let it rise for very long at this point but this is a learning experience so I put it in the oven at 350F.
As you can tell, I had to smoosh it down in there to make it fit, this is becoming more disastrous by the minute...
I bake the bread for 40 minutes and slice the end off of it. It still wasn't baked through all of the way so I put it in for another 15 minutes. When I slice off a piece to try it, I am pleasantly surprised! Ta-Da!
It's not a fluffy, soft bread but hard and dense. I think it is because of three things: I used extra flour, I used whole wheat flour and I didn't let it rise. It's still yummy though. I am just trying to figure out the correct ratios of substitutions now where it can still be tasty but not horribly bad for you.

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