Week 2 of Bread: ‘Sin’namon
It’s a big day on the calendar, my friends. It’s Super Tuesday here in the States, which means a lot of us will be trotting to the polls to decide which presidential wannabe is less evil than the rest. It’s the start of Mardi Grai or Carnival in several countries, which means there’s lots of dancing to be had and occasional stripping for beads. It’s World Nutella Day, which if you haven’t had the pleasure of eating nutella before, you really should rectify that today. It’s also Día de la Constitución in Mexico, which is an official holiday to celebrate the signing of their current Constitution.
But most importantly, it’s Fat Tuesday here in Pennsylvania, which means any god-fearing life-long resident with a German heritage is making a batch of oh-so-bad-for-you-but-unnervingly-delicious fried fauschnauts (the counterpart to pancakes and doughnuts in other parts of the world that observe “Shrove” Tuesday). When I was growing up in the rural heart of Pennsylvania, my school actually celebrated Fauschnaut Day by serving homemade fauschnauts at lunch. To this day I am baffled by how a cafeteria renowned for its inedible cuisine was able to churn out these little balls of heaven once a year. My mom also made homemade fauschnauts during much of my childhood, and I adored swiping them straight out of the cinnamon sugar mixture while they were still piping hot. Ah, the memories…
I hang my head in shame to admit that I forgot all about fauschnauts until today. You see, they would have been PEFRECT for this current theme of bread variations. Fried dough most definitely classifies as bread in my book. You can even make them with just a few adjustments to the Miracle Bread recipe I already provided. Yes, yes, there’s still time to make the fauschnauts today, but not time to post them (this thing called a “job” does tend to hinder my culinary ambitions like that).
I guess we’ll all have to settle for some cinnamon rolls/buns instead. It’s just despicable, isn’t it? I can’t believe this sweet, gooey, lick-your-fingers-afterwards recipe is all I have to offer you on Fat Tuesday. To make up for it, I’ll throw in a second recipe for cinnamon raisin bread. Surely that will even up my debt to my Pennsylvania-Dutch heritage, won’t it?
Of course this redemption isn’t enough to cover up the sin of not posting a nutella recipe today, as any good food blogger worth her salt would be doing. Okay, okay, here’s my solution. Make the cinnamon rolls as directed in the recipe, but just after spreading the dough with butter and before blanketing it with cinnamon and sugar, slap on a layer of nutella for an even more decadent dessert or breakfast treat.
Whew, I think I’m just about absolved of my (food-related) sins. Can I just go home now before I get myself in any more trouble? All I really want to do is make some fauschnauts…
CINNAMON RAISIN BREAD & CINNAMON ROLLS
An adaptation of the Miracle Bread recipe
2 c. boiling water
2 T. butter
2 T. sugar
2 t. salt
Combine above ingredients and cool to lukewarm.
1/2 c. hot (but not boiling) water
2 packages of rapid rise dry yeast (2T.)
1 T. (scant) sugar
Whisk together Part II ingredients in a medium bowl and cover with a towel. Let yeast rise for 15-20 minutes, being sure it froths up and expands considerably. If yeast doesn’t rise, toss it and get new yeast before proceeding. Once yeast has risen, combine with Part I.
1 1/2 c. whole-wheat flour
5 c. white bread flour
1+ c. golden raisins
1+ c. brown sugar
5-6 T. cinnamon
4 T. soft butter
1 c. confectioners’ sugar
3 T. warm water
**You can most certainly just make one kind or the other of the two variations outlined below. Or, conversely, you could just cut the ingredients in Part I & II in half and use only half the flour to just make one loaf of bread or a dozen rolls. In my opinion though, making a full batch of dough and turning it into both these goodies is the best and easiest game plan.**
Add flour to liquid mixture from Parts I and II. Mix with a spoon at first and then using your hands as it comes together. Add just enough flour to keep dough from being sticky. Knead dough for a few times and then cover bowl with a towel to let it rise. Come back to it every 10 minutes or so to punch it down and knead it some more, repeating this process 4-5 times. Don’t worry if you leave it longer – just be sure to punch it down a few times before proceeding with baking.
Divide dough in half and set one half to the side. Roll out dough in a rectangle to about a quarter inch thickness. Sprinkle dough generously and evenly with cinnamon and raisins. Press down on the raisins with your hands to flatten against the dough. Starting from a short end, roll up the dough into a tight jellyroll loaf. Pinch edges of dough together and place in a large greased loaf pan. Cover with a dishtowel and allow to rise for 30 minutes or until doubled in bulk.
Returning to the other half of dough that had been set aside, knead it for a minute and then roll it out into a rectangle to about a quarter inch thickness. First spread the soft butter evenly over the dough and then sprinkle generously with the brown sugar and cinnamon. Starting from the short end, roll up dough into a tight jellyroll. Using a serrated knife, cut the dough roll into 12 even slices (I like to start by cutting it in half and then cutting the halves into halves and so forth). Slices will be about an inch thick Place slices flat in a greased 11” x 7” baking pan, evenly spacing them out so they have room to rise. Cover pan with a dishtowel and allow to rise for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 F and bake risen loaf and rolls for 20 minutes or until browned on top and hollow when tapped. Take loaf and rolls from the oven and brush with melted butter. Mix the cup of confectioners’ sugar with the 3 tablespoons of water to form a thin glaze. Using a spoon, drizzle the glaze over the cinnamon rolls while still warm. If desired, you can also glaze the raisin loaf, but wait until it is cool.
(makes 1 loaf and 12 cinnamon rolls)