I was recently in Chicago visiting my family. I saw a bag of cinnamon raisin bread on their counter and had a piece for breakfast one day. To my surprise, it was the best cinnamon raisin bread I ever had. When I asked where it came from, you can imagine my surprise when I was told, “Walmart”! Unfortunately, when I returned home and went to my Walmart, no such cinnamon raisin bread was to be found that even came close to the one I had.
So my task was clear. Make a better cinnamon raisin bread – and I took this very seriously. There is nothing I like more than working with yeast breads. There is something magical in combining ingredients and watching them grow. Several years ago I wanted to come up with my quintessential sweet yeast bread. I used honey for sweetness and instant mashed potatoes to keep it soft for days. Vanilla is used to enhance the flavor and the basic dough is used in more than a dozen sweet yeast bread and roll recipes, some familiar and some new. Continue reading