Adventures in Bread: Cinnamon Raisin Walnut Bread

Attention everyone. I have fallen in love. Head over heels in love.

I am in love with baking bread.

First, there is that heavenly smell of rising yeast that fills every inch of the house and welcomes you home with a big bready hug as soon as you come in the door.

Second, there is the endless variety of bread-making options. Rye, wheat, white, swirled, loafs, rolls…. It never ends! I bet you could make a different type of bread every day of the year!

Third, there is the undeniable comfort that comes in eating a hunk of carbs. All toasty warm. Slathered with a nice pat of butter.

 

Seriously though, do you know how cool the process of making bread can be? I’m not talking toss some flour and yeast in a bread machine and call it a night. I’m talking stirring, kneading, rising, punching, steaming, baking. I’m talking enzymes and glutens and fermentation. I’m talking flour and water and muscle and patience.

Okay, I’m not sure if there is such thing as a bread nerd…..but I would like to be one, please. As I mentioned before, my brother and I are baking through Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice one recipe at a time. It is a one-way ticket to bread obsession, let me just say that.

Now I started all this by reading through the 100+ pages of introduction – all about the science, technique, and history behind bread making before diving in to any recipes. I thought, like a good little college girl, that studying up would make bread-baking a cinch. Nope. I’m here to tell you: bread is hard work. After 10 minutes of kneading a tough blob of gluten, I start to get a little sweaty, I won’t lie! But the satisfaction of opening the oven and pulling out a beautiful golden loaf of cinnamon-raison-walnutty goodness is SO worth it. I have only made a couple recipes so far, but each time I just feel extra proud – more so than I ever would with a plain old batch of brownies or cookies. There is something just complex enough, yet still ever-comforting that makes bread a fascinating and rewarding art.

So if you want to fall in love, take a Saturday afternoon and spend some time getting to know bread.

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