For some reason, I had a hankering for French Toast. I have no idea why. I knew I didn't want to make it from the Country Seed Bread (see post below) because seedy French Toast is no fun. So, I decided to make this recipe, which comes from my trusty Fleischmann's recipe book. I made it last night and used it for my French Toast this morning - it was awesome!
Now, I halved the recipe because I only wanted one loaf of this hanging around to tempt me, and it halves fine. I also didn't put the crumb topping on it because I didn't think it was necessary for French Toast purposes, but if you're just going to toast this for breakfast (or, as I also did, cut into it shortly after taking it from the oven and smearing it with butter) I would probably put the topping on. I also added the raisins to the dough rather than rolling them up in the middle with the filling. I won't do that again; the raisins on the top of the loaf burned, so next time I'll add them to the filling. Also, I discovered that you should probably put the loaf pan on a lined baking sheet (foil, parchment, or a silicone baking mat) because as the loaf rose during the baking process, the filling dribbled out and onto the floor of my oven, creating a bit of a mess.
Old Fashioned Cinnamon Swirl Loaf (makes 2 loaves)
5 to 5 1/2 cups bread or all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 packages (4 1/2 tsp) yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk (had 10% kicking around from another project - it worked fine)
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup margarine or butter, cut into small pieces
3 tbsp melted butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup raisins
1 egg white (or whole egg if you don't anticipate using the yolk for another purpose), lightly beaten
Crumb Topping (recipe follows)
OK - for the bread, see the bread baking tutorial.
To fill and shape the loaves, divide the dough in half. Roll each half into a 16x7" rectangle (keeping the other half covered while doing this so it doesn't dry out). Brush the rectangles with the melted butter to within an inch of the edges. Evenly sprinkle on the sugar, cinnamon, and raisins. Beginning at the short end of each rectangle, roll up tightly as you would a jelly roll; pinch seams tightly - both the middle seam and the end seams - to seal. Place, seam side down, in a well greased or parchment-lined loaf pan. Cover and let rise until doubled.
Brush the loaves with egg and sprinkle with Crumb Topping. Bake at 375F for 35 - 40 minutes until done. Remove from pans and let cool on wire racks.
Crumb Topping: In a small bowl, combine 1/3 cup all purpose flour, 1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar, and 1 tsp cinnamon. Cut in 3 tbsp cold butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Yummy, irresistible comfort food on a chilly morning - and it makes great French Toast, accompanied by maple syrup!