A Slice of Something Else for the Summer
I slept late after the alarm sounded. The sun didn’t stream through my windows at 6 or 7 a.m. like usual. A steady rain awakened me an hour later, and the weather outside seemed like a a perfect day to sideline any schedule at all. The kids agreed, and we determined we would take the ultimate relaxer—a sweat’s day.
Now this might look like a Saturday in December but the sun doesn’t shine at 6 a.m. or 6 p.m. at that time of year in Minnesota. We are mid-way through summer break, and we’ve become a bit exhausted by the constant activity.
The rain gave us a slice of something else to do. We lounged through breakfast and the newspaper, took hot baths, curled up on the couch with my daughter to finish reading The Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett (a great book), and baked. While I strolled through my Google Reader a little slower than usual, my husband walked in the front door from his office and said to KH, “What’s up, ‘nut?”
“Mom and I are making raisin and cinnamon bread,” she said.
We sliced into the loaf for lunch before it even had a few minutes to sit. The steam rising from the thick chunks of bread seemed to be an anomaly on this summer day. Here’s my mother’s recipe:
Honey Wheat and Cinnamon Raisin Bread
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons yeast
1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup honey
2 ¼ cup hot water
3 cups white flour
Mix first three ingredients in a large mixing bowl and set aside. Measure next three ingredients into a medium bowl and stir until honey is well mixed in. Pour liquid mixture all at once into flour mixture. Stir with a heavy spoon until flour is all wet.
Add white flour 1 cup at a time, mixing in well after each cup. Mix last cup in with hands, kneading as you mix. When it is mixed in well enough that the dough begins to stick to your hands, rub the bottom of the bowl with shortening. Continue kneading just until mixed well and ball of dough is greased. Turn over in bowl and let rise until double in bulk, about 30 to 60 minutes.
Turn dough out on a smooth surface and knead until a smooth ball forms. Cut into two equal pieces. To form each piece into a loaf, use a rolling pin to flatten and expel air bubbles. Fold each side in—more at one end than the other. Roll small end toward wide end. Pick up and place in a well-greased standard-sized loaf pan. Cover with a towel and let rise just until even with the top of the pan, about 20-30 minutes. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. When it is finished it will be golden brown and sound hard when you tap it.
For Cinnamon Raisin Bread: When you leave the dough to rise the first time, put 1 cup of raisins in a 2 cup measuring cup. Cover with very hot or boiling water. Allow these to sit while the bread rises; it will plump the raisins. Drain the liquid when you are ready to roll out the dough. After the dough doubles, cut into two pieces. Roll each piece into a rectangle. Sprinkle with a cinnamon and sugar mixture. Scatter raisins on top. Fold edges over and roll each rectangle up into a loaf. Follow instructions above for baking.