I kept calling this bread the “all day bread” because it took all day to make. The bread turned out to be amazing but it took way way way too long for my liking. This recipe came from The Bread Bible. The complexity of the recipe means that I can’t type it up in my normal structure so here goes nothing.
Dough Starter (sponge): mimimum 1 hour, maximum 24 hours
Minimum Rising Time: about 3 ½ hours
Oven Temperature: 350 deg. F
Baking Time: 50 minutes
Makes: two 8-by-4-by-4 1/2 –inch-high loaves
Dough Starter (Sponge)
- 2 ¼ cups plus 2 ½ tbsp unbleached all purpose flour
- scant 1 ¾ cups water, at room temperature (70-90 deg. F)
- 2 1/3 tbsp honey
- ¾ tsp instant yeast
Two 8 1/2 -4-1/2-inch loaf pans, light greased with cooking spray or oil;
A baking stone OR baking sheet
Make the sponge. In a mixer bowl or other large bowl, combine the flour, water, honey, and instant yeast. Whisk until very smooth to incorporate air, about 2 minutes. The sponge will be the consistency of a thick batter. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and cover it with plastic wrap.
Flour Mixture and Dough
- 2 cups plus 2 1/4 tbsp Unbleached all purpose flour
- scant 1 ¾ cups dry milk, preferably non-fat
- ¾ teaspoon instant yeast
- 9 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
- 2 ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp melted butter
- 1 cup raisins
Cinnamon Sugar Spiral Filling (optional)
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp lightly beaten egg
- 4 tsp cinnamon
Combine the ingredients (except raisins) for the flour mixture and add to the sponge. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour (reserve ¼ cup if mixing by hand), dry milk, and instant yeast. Sprinkle this on top of the sponge and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Allow it to ferment for 1 to 4 hours at room temperature. (During this time the sponge will bubble through the flour blanket in places: this is fine.)
Add the butter to the bowl and mix on low speed with the dough hook (#2 if using a KitchenAid) for 1 minute or until the flour is moistened enough to form a rough dough. Scrape down any bits of dough. Cover the top of the bowl with plastic and allow the dough to rest for 20 minutes.
Sprinkle on the salt and knead the dough on medium speed (#4 KitchenAid) for 7-10 minutes. It will not come away from the bowl until toward the last minute or so of kneading; it will be smooth and shiny and stick to your fingers. With an oiled spatula, scrape down any dough clinging to the sides of the bowl. If the dough is not still, knead in a little flour. If it is not at all sticky, spray it with a little water and knead it. (It will weigh 44.25 ounces/1258 grams.) Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to relax for 10 minutes.
Add the raisins and mix on low speed (#2 KitchenAid) for about 2 minutes to incorporate them evenly. But don’t worry too much about how well they distribute, because deflating and folding the dough after the first rise will distribute them more evenly.
Make the cinnamon sugar spiral filling. In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar and cinnamon.
Shape the dough and let it rise. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and cut it in half. Keep one piece of dough covered while you work with the other piece.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll out one piece of dough to a rectangle 7 ½ inches wide by 14 inches long and about ¼ inch thick. Using your fingertips, gently press (dimple) the dough all over to deflate air bubbles that result in gaps in the spiral. Brush the dough with the lightly beaten egg (about 1 Tablespoon per loaf) leaving a ¾ inch margin all around.
Sprinkle half the cinnamon sugar evenly over the dough, leaving a 3/4 – inch margin on all side. Starting from the short end closest to you, roll the dough up tightly, as you would a jelly roll; brush the top of the dough with the egg and squeeze the dough gently all along the length of the roll with each roll so that it will adhere well to the filling. If necessary, use your hands to push in the ends of the roll so that it does not get larger than 7 ½ inches long. When you come to the end, make a seam by tightly pinching the edge of the dough to seal in the filling. Push in any inner coils of dough on the sides that may have worked their way out and pinch the ends of the dough tightly together to seal. Tuck them under so that the loaf will fit into the pan.
Place the roll seam side down in a prepared pan; it will be about ½ inch from the top of the pan. Repeat for the second loaf.
Cover the pans with a large container, or cover loosely with oiled plastic wrap. Allow to rise about 1 to 2 hours or until the center is 1 ½ inches above the sides of the pan. When the dough is pressed lightly with your fingertip, the indentation will remain.
Preheat the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 deg. F 45 minutes before baking. Have an oven shelf at the lowest lever and place a baking stone or baking sheet on it before preheating.
Bake the bread. Quickly but gently set the pans on the hot baking stone or hot baking sheet, and immediately shut the oven door. Bake 50 minutes or until the bread is medium golden brown and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean (an instant read thermometer inserted into the middle of the will read about 211 deg. F). Halfway through the baking, turn the pans around for even baking.
Glaze and cool the bread. Remove the pans from the oven and set them on a wire rack. Brush the tops of the bread with melter butter. Unmold and cool, top side up, on wire rack until barely warm, about 1 hour.