Meet the bread that Cinnamon Raisin doesn’t want you to know about
I really tried to like Cinnamon Raisin bread. One a few occasions, I think I even convinced myself that I do. I’d toast it and slather it in butter, but still – it felt dry, not cinnamon-y (yes, this is a real adjective) enough and the raisins were just disappointing. I simply could not lie to myself anymore.
That is why I can say, without a hint of exaggeration, that this Coffee and Date Rye Bread changed my life. Reminiscent of that classic cinnamon-raisin combo, this bread gets sweetness from delicious dates and wonderful flavor from a shot of espresso (coffee IN bread? Sign me up!) instead.
All I can say is that you need to bake it. It is unspeakably delicious – pillowy soft, perfectly spiced, toasty crust – cinnamon raisin could never. (If you happen to genuinely enjoy cinnamon raisin bread, no matter, this recipe is for you too! May it guide you to happier, raisin-free life.)
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
- 400 g (3 1/3 cups) bread flour
- 100 g (3/4 cup) rye flour
- 30 g (2 tbsp) granulated sugar
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp quick action yeast
- 30 g (2 tbsp) butter softened and cubed
- 320 ml (1 1/3 cups) whole milk room temperature
- 30 ml (2 tbsp) espresso chilled*
- 150 g (3/4 cups) dates chopped
*strong cold brew can be substituted here
WHAT YOU’LL DO
MIX THE DOUGH
- Combine the flours, sugar and ginger into a large bowl and stir until just mixed
- Add the salt, yeast and butter (be sure to sprinkle the salt and yeast on opposite sides of the bowl)
- Pour in the cold espresso coffee and approximately 3/4 of the room temperature milk
- Stir the mixture with your hands until a dough begins to form. Add in remaining milk as needed if dough looks cracked and dry. It should be soft and tacky, but not sticky.
- Tip the dough onto a floured work surface and knead for 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic
(Note: you can use the dough hook in a stand mixer for this step, but hand-kneading allows you to get a better feel for where your dough is at. You are less likely to under OR overwork your dough this way. IF you choose to knead with a mixer, check it after about 7 minutes for elasticity)
PROVE AND FILL THE DOUGH
- Transfer dough to a clean bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave to rise until doubled in size – approximately 1-2 hours (this will take longer if your kitchen is cold, set a timer for 1 hour and then check on your dough!)
- Check if your dough is ready by gently pressing down on it with one finger. If the indentation springs back immediately, it needs more time. If the indentation refills slowly, you’re good to go!
- Knock back the dough by punching it down with your fists in the bowl, then tip it out onto your lightly floured workstation.
- Flatten the dough into a rough rectangle, approximately 9×12 inches
- Sprinkle the chopped dates over the dough, fold it up and knead a few minutes to distribute the fruit throughout.
SHAPE AND BAKE
- Shape the dough into a boule (round) or oval. Be sure to pinch together the seams of the dough underneath to help it keep its shape.
- Place loaf on baking sheet into a large proving bag (or if you are like me, a large, new trash bag – does anyone actually having proving bags?) for another hour until it has doubled in size again.
- Preheat the oven to 425 F and put a rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan on the bottom rack.
- Score top of loaf with a very sharp knife or razor blade after removing it from the bag and sprinkling with a little flour
- Fill the baking sheet on the bottom rack with water (this creates steam!) and put loaf into oven.
- Bake for 20 minutes at 425 F then lower the oven temperature to 400 F and bake for another 7-10 minutes (to check for readiness, tap the bottom of the loaf and listen for a hollow sound)
- Leave the loaf in the oven and turn off heat to let bread cool with door ajar (this is the single hardest step in the entire recipe)
- Slice your loaf, slather it in butter and just TRY to stop after one slice
- Store bread in a cloth or paper bag at room temperature for three days. This bread keeps wonderfully in the freezer too. Pre-slice and freeze in plastic bags to have the most luxurious morning toast on stand-by!