Can’t take credit for this recipe; I got it from a Taste of Home cookbook called Mom’s Best Made Easy. But I CAN take credit for attempting homemade bread for the first time and (excuse the shameless bragging here), having it turn out so well! But I figure if I can do this, it must be a good recipe, so I thought I’d share it with you. True, making bread takes a few steps, but they weren’t complicated steps (really!) and nothing says home like the smell of fresh baked bread. This was divine toasted, by the way, and fun to do with my 3-year-old. I just stuck her on a chair in front of the counter, gave her her own piece of dough to play with, and let her pound my dough with her little fists when it came time to knead.
Cinnamon Raisin Bread
Yield: 2 loaves (16 slices each)
2 packages (1/4 oz. each) active dry yeast
2 c. warm water
1 c. sugar, divided
1/4 c. canola oil
3 tsp. salt
6 to 6 1/2 c. flour
1 c. raisins
Additional canola oil
3 tsp. ground cinnamon
In a bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add 1/2 c. sugar, oil, salt, eggs and 4 c. flour. Beat until smooth. (I used an electric stand mixer with a bread hook for this step.) By hand, stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide in half. Knead 1/2 c. raisins in each; roll each portion into a 15-in x 9-in rectangle. Brush with additional oil. Combine cinnamon and remaining sugar; sprinkle to within 1/2 in of edges.
Tightly roll up, jelly-roll style, starting with a short side; pinch seam to seal. Place seam side down, in two greased 9-in x 5-in loaf pans. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.
Brush with oil. Bake at 375 for 45-50 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool.
Since this recipe makes two loaves, save one for your family and give the other as a gift to new parents or new neighbors.