And no, it probably isn't anywhere good.
Not all my memories of him are the toil and trouble kind though. I distinctly remember how a loaf of cinnamon raisin bread would make his day. Especially the loaf we would get from a nearby Amish family's store. It was always topped in a simple vanilla glaze. This loaf comes pretty close to that one. At least I think so... I don't remember the bread itself as much as I remember how much he loved it. If only he lived a few hundred miles closer, I would make it for him to see how it measured up.
But if memories of your little brother (or sister, for that matter) don't evoke the warm and fuzzies then go bake this bread and let it do that for you.
Cinnamon Swirl Raisin Bread
For the dough:
1/2 cup whole milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1/2 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
1/3 cup (2 1/2 ounces) sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup raisins, rinsed and patted dry
3 1/4-3 3/4 cups (16 1/4 to 18 3/4 ounces) unbleached all purpose flour
For the filling:
1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) sugar
3 teaspoons cinnamon
milk for brushing
For the glaze:
1 large egg
2 teaspoons milk
To make the dough, heat milk and butter in a small saucepan or in the microwave until the butter melts. Cool until warm (about 110 degrees).
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add warm water and sprinkle with the yeast. On low speed, mix in sugar and eggs. Add salt, milk mixture, and 2 cups of flour. Mix on medium speed until blended, about 1 minute. Switch to the dough hook and add 1 1/4 cups more flour and knead at medium-low speed for 10 minutes or until dough is smooth and comes away from the sides of the bowl. After 8 minutes of kneading add the raisins and continue to knead. Add flour sparingly if the dough sticks to the side of the bowl, until the dough is smooth and comes away from sides of the bowl.
Turn the dough onto a work surface. If the dough is sticky, knead up to a 1/2 cup more flour to form a smooth, elastic, soft dough. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover and let rise until doubled in size, 2 to 2 1/2 hours. After the rise, punch down lightly. Turn the dough out onto and unfloured surface making sure not to fold the dough while doing so. Let rest for 10 minutes to allow gluten to relax.
To make the filling, mix the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl. Press the dough into a 8 by 6 inch rectangle with the short side facing you. Roll the dough into a 18 by 8 inch rectangle. Brush the dough liberally with milk. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar mixture making sure to leave a 1/2 inch border on the far side. Start with the side closest to you and roll up the dough, pinching the dough gently to make it is tightly sealed. Pinch the seams closed when finished rolling, including each end.
Place the loaf, seam side down into a prepared 9 by 5 inch loaf pan. Press lightly to flatten. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise until dough is 1 inch above the top of the pan, about 1 1/2 hours. As the dough nears the top of the pan, adjust over rack to center position and preheat to 350 degrees.
To make the glaze, whisk egg and milk together in a small bowl. Gently brush the loaf with egg mixture when fully risen.
Bake the loaf until it is golden brown and the temperature is 185 to 190 degrees. Cool on a wire rack until room temperature, at least 45 minutes.
Adapted from Baking Illustrated