One of my favorite go-to baking books is Bread for Breakfast
by Beth Hensperger. When my husband Nathaniel mentioned on Saturday that he was really craving cinnamon raisin bread (but he hates raisins) I thought I remembered a similar recipe in that book. I had just bought more bread flour and yeast in anticipation of playing with Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day
, so I set to work.
The great thing about this cookbook is I would say at least a third of the recipes are designed to be made (or can be adapted to be made) the night before. So after soaking the oats and proofing the yeast, I mixed the dough - my first bread with my new Kitchen Aid mixer, woo hoo! The directions said the dough would be really soft and not to add too much flour just to make it manageable, so I decided to use the dough hook instead of my hands. It worked brilliantly, and I set it to do a rise, then punched it down and put the dough in the fridge overnight.
In the early morning, I woke up, pressed the dough into two rectangles with my fingers, spread the cinnamon sugar mixture across it, rolled up the loaves, and set it to rise. I apparently only have one bread pan, so I keep using a small pyrex as my second one, which means the second loaf spreads out a little more widely (that is the one in the first photo). I also had the mistaken idea that I could go back to sleep. Baking always energizes me; I should know that by now!
We didn't wait until it had cooled completely to try it, because we were hungry and it smelled amazing. This bread is really good. It is rich because of the eggs in the dough, and the cinnamon sugar swirl reaches enough of the bread that you get a taste of it in every bite. Toasted and with butter, it was a delicious Sunday morning breakfast.
A few days later, the second loaf has been turned into oven baked french toast. I like french toast, but when I make it on the stove I have several problems. If I use butter I always get the pan too hot, so I end up using margarine, and a lot of it, to get that perfect browning on the outside. I've taken to using an oven baked method because I can bake all of it at once, and use far less fat in the recipe (I like to save that for when I eat it!). I use the recipe in the Betty Crocker cookbook, but really just use your favorite french toast recipe, and bake it in a 500 F oven, 5-8 minutes on each side. This time around I had to do an additional 5 minutes because the bread was so dense, but you just bake it until it is beautifully browned.