My friends Nancy, Kayte and Margaret all made this cinnamon raisin bread together earlier in the week (via Twitter) and I had every intention of joining them but I got sidetracked and missed baking along. Then I started seeing all the tweets about this bread and man, was it ever getting good reviews! I've always loved store-bought cinnamon raisin bread so I was pretty sure I'd really enjoy this recipe, but after hearing the reviews there wasn't any doubt in my mind. I got up early on Thursday and got to work.
As bread recipes go, this one is fairly simple - plus there aren't any unusual ingredients and the bread can be made in 1 day. I skipped the walnuts and followed the instructions for adding a cinnamon swirl for one of my loaves (the recipe makes 2 loaves). I kneaded by hand and it did take a while to get the dough to the point where it passed the windowpane test, but it gave me peace of mind not risking burning my mixer out. The bread rose nicely on the 1st rise but didn't rise quite as much as I'd hoped after I shaped it and put it into the pans for its second rise. It also didn't get much oven spring but still looked nice. The one to two hour to wait to cut into the bread was a killer...
Well, the taste test proved that this is easily my favorite bread I've ever made!! It's amazing! The texture is perfectly light and there are so many raisins that you're just about guaranteed to get one in every bite. I loved the cinnamon swirl - sugary and delicious! This bread was so good that I sliced the loaves, wrapped them into individual servings and hid them in my freezer so I wouldn't be tempted to eat them all on the first day :)
The recipe can be found here (page 147). Instructions for adding the swirl to the bread are in the right margin under the commentary heading.