Just a few weeks ago my baking world was rocked by my "discovery" of the no-knead method of bread making. Ever since my family enjoyed that fantastic (and easy to make) loaf of Rosemary and Garlic No-Knead Bread I've been imagining other possibilities for this method.
My local Shop Rite used to carry a whole wheat raisin bread, but I guess it wasn't popular because I seldom see it on the shelves these days. I always loved this bread. It combined the slightly sweet flavor of raisin bread with the heartiness of whole wheat. Good stuff. With this bread as my inspiration, I decided to make my own.
I used the same basic no-knead recipe as last time, but I made some modifications and ended up with a completely different loaf. I added cinnamon, raisins, whole wheat flour, a bit of sugar and I coated the exterior with old fashioned oatmeal instead of flour. The result was another beautiful, round artisan loaf. I slathered it with cinnamon honey butter and enjoyed it with my coffee all weekend. I had to give half the loaf to my mom to save myself from eating the entire thing! Bake this for your weekend brunch. Imagine the possibilities... plain, French toast, even grilled cheese (yes, on raisin bread, that's another post)! You won't be disappointed.
Whole Wheat Cinnamon Raisin Bread
a Keeley Original, based on the No-Knead Method
2 cups all-purpose or bread flour I used bread flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup raisins
2 teaspoons cinnamon
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons sugar
old fashioned oatmeal, for dusting
1. In a large bowl combine flours, cinnamon, raisins, sugar, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.
2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.
3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with oatmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.
4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.
Yield: One 1½-pound loaf.