This recipe was a little fussy and this first attempt of mine had a few hiccups, but overall it’s a winner. I plan on making it again soon, in hopes I can correct the few things that went wrong this time around.
You make a simple sweet dough (milk, butter, eggs, sugar, yeast, flour, etc) in your mixer.
With yeast doughs, you can’t just follow the recipe exactly and think your dough will come out predictably. The dough may need a little more or less flour each time. I gauge this by watching for when my dough “cleans the bowl.” I was explaining this to a friend and thought it would be nice to have a few photos to explain:
Once all the ingredients are mixed together, you want your dough to form into one cohesive ball of dough as it mixes – it should not stick to the side of the bowl. If it’s sticking, try mixing on a higher speed for about 10 seconds to see if the dough eventually works its way together. If it continues to stick to the bowl, add a little flour – about a tablespoon at a time and mix on a fairly high speed to incorporate.
The dough may “climb” the dough hook and you’ll need to stop and scrape it down from time to time. (I use this model of Kitchen Aid mixer; it has a bigger bowl and larger dough hook – perfect for recipes like this.)
Eventually the dough will come together and as it is kneaded in the mixer, it will “clean the bowl,” meaning it will pick up all the flour and dough that was on the side and bottom of the bowl. That is when you know it has enough flour.
Because it’s a sweet dough, it is smooth and silky – not at all tacky. Then at this point, it’s just a matter of letting it knead in the mixer.
In the end, you’re left with a lovely, soft and silky mound of buttery-smelling dough.
This is patted down and topped with the raisins and cinnamon, which are kneaded in by hand. This leaves you with he final dough which is allowed to rise in a covered bowl.
After rising, the dough is halved as this recipe makes two loaves.
Each portion is rolled out into a rectangle, brushed with melted butter, and topped with a hefty amount of a brown sugar-cinnamon filling. (My favorite rolling pin.)
The sides are folded in and the loaf is rolled. This is one step in the process where you should really envision the final product you want and pay attention to how you roll the loaf, taking care not to shift all the brown sugar as you’re rolling.
Once rolled, the seam is pinched closed and the loaves are placed (seam side down) in two loaf pans and allowed to proof. (These are the loaf pans I use.)
Then they bake. I need to adjust the temperature and time – as you can see, my loaves got far too dark on top. That unattractive hump on the loaf on the right was an air bubble from not rolling the loaf tightly enough.
Additionally, the interior of one of my loaves did not bake through and collapsed under the weight of the top layers and cinnamon-sugar filling. I think this could be remedied by rolling the loaf more tightly and adjusting my oven temperature so the bread bakes more evenly.
You can see in the photo below that my brown sugar filling stuff mostly accumulated at the bottom of the loaf, rather than being distributed in swirls. This probably happened as I rolled the loaf – I inadvertently slid all the mixture to one end. You can also see a big air pocket in the top right corner which came from not rolling the dough tightly enough and allowing the filling mixture to escape. I can’t wait to make this again to see if I can fix these mistakes and get a perfect swirl inside.
Aside from those few mistakes, the bread itself is very, very good! It smells delicious while it bakes and the brown sugar mixture melts into this ooey-gooey cinnamon-roll filling type stuff. It’s wonderful. Made for fantastic toast. This would be great with the addition of walnuts.