I came to bake this bread by chance really, I set out to make the Cornish saffron bread from Rachel Allen's Bake.
This recipe intrigued me as it uses warm milk infused with saffron to give a lovely colour to the loaf. The only problem was that on eating this loaf I discovered that I have a intolerance (I don't like to use the term allergy here) to saffron.
Weeks ago I developed a ever so slight rash on my face (after eating paella) it faded quickly and I thought nothing of it, until now. As soon as the loaf was cooked and had cooled enough to eat I took a slice, withing minutes the same rash again developed on my face. Trying to convince myself that I do not have a saffron intolerance I later ate another slice, as you do, and the rash worsened. It covered my whole face, so saffron is now off the menu at my house.
However, apart from giving me a nasty rash we all thought the bread was very good, it had a different texture to regular bread, I put this down to the milk and my daughter commented that the crust was delicious, she hates homemade bread crusts. My only gripe with the recipe was it needed a extra something....cinnamon.
So, the following day I made the loaf again, I omitted the saffron, and instead infused the milk with a cinnamon stick, and added ground cinnamon to the flour. I also used a smaller tin than the one Rachel recommends. The loaf was perfect.
Raisin and cinnamon milk loaf
350g strong white flour, sifted
1 tsp ground cinnamon
50g caster sugar
100g butter, softened
1/2 cinnamon stick
200ml cold milk
1 x 7g sachet of fast acting yeast
1 lb loaf tin.
Grease and line the loaf tin.
Place flour, cinnamon and sugar in a bowl, mix well. Rub in the butter, until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the rasins.
In a small saucepan, bring the cinnamon stick and milk to the boil over a low heat. Remove from the heat, cool to body temperature, remove the cinnamon stick, then add the fast acting yeast.
Pour liquid into the dry ingredients, mix well then knead for 10 minutes.
Place in a large bowl, cover, and leave to rise until it had doubled in size.
Knock back the dough, knead again and place in the prepared tin. Cover again and leave to rise for another hour.
Preheat oven to 180c/ gas mark 4, when the dough has doubled in size bake it in the oven for 50 minutes to 1 hour.
I must admit I did prefer the second version of this bread and will make it again. I love the idea of using warm milk in the dough, the dough was fabulous to knead, in fact to look at, it reminded me of choux pastry, it had a lovely feel. The cooked bread had the texture, almost, of brioche, so, so light and fluffy. A perfect fruity loaf.