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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Swirl Bread: Avid Baker's Challenge

This bread, another King Arthur recipe, is easy enough to make, but it does require you to make a starter the night before you want to bake the bread.  Rose Levy Beranbaum uses this technique frequently in The Bread Bible, so it wasn't new to me.  I like the technique because, besides adding flavor--the obvious reason to like it--it also has the advantage of committing you to baking bread the next day, so you don't get out of bed and decide to take a walk instead.  Or, more realistically, go back to bed.  

I'll confess that I didn't use all whole wheat flour.  The recipe calls for a mix of whole wheat and white whole wheat flours, and I used about half whole wheat and half AP white, for no reason other than that I didn't have the white whole wheat flour that I thought I had.  The flours are mixed with half milk and half orange juice--the orange juice supposedly eliminating any bitter taste that you might get from whole wheat flour.  It wasn't bitter at all, so the OJ trick must have worked.

After the dough has risen, you pat it out into a more or less rectangular shape.  I suspect that most of the other avid bakers will have a tidier rectangle than mine, but I believe that tidiness is overrated.  

It's then rolled up like a jelly roll, shaped, and tucked into a loaf pan.

I had some errands to run, so I put it into the refrigerator for a few hours so it wouldn't overproof, and took it out when I came home.  It was ready to put into the oven about an hour later.

I love a loaf of bread just out of the oven!  The recipe tells you to tent the bread with foil for most of the baking time, but I took the tent off for the last 15 minutes of baking because I like a browner loaf.

This bread got a very enthusiastic reception from my tasters, especially from my 19-month-old grandson, who devoured two whole slices, a quarter-slice at a time, and calling for, "more, more" after each piece.  I thought it was good, but a little too moist.  It was moist even when toasted.  It reminded me of the kind of bread that you might have, when you were a child, squished into a bread ball and thrown at your younger brother.  If you were that kind of person.  

But I will definitely make it again.  What kind of grandmother would I be if I didn't?  Next time, I'll be a little more parsimonious with the liquid ingredients.  

Thanks for the recipe, Hanaa!  Other renditions can be seen at the Avid Bakers' Challenge blog.