Saturday, January 23, 2010

Hot Fluffy Healthy Whole Wheat Raisin Buns

Fresh Raisin Buns.

I attempted raisin bread once before and it was a failure. I was afraid to attempt bread again until I saw this recipe, which inspired me. The buns looked so fluffy, soft, and delicious that I just had to try! I'm glad I did, because it turned out to be a hit with my family.

Additional proof that the buns were a hit: I wanted to have a bun for breakfast, but when I woke up. I discovered that all the buns were gone! Poof! No where in sight! It turns out that Miss JSB took the rest of the buns to school! I couldn't even test how long the buns would keep for.

Before Oven Time.

Whole wheat cinnamon raisin buns
Toxo Bread
  • 2/3 cups raisins
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp hot water
  • 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm milk
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 egg, beaten
  1. In a large bowl, let the raisins soak in the hot water for 10-15 minutes until they begin to get soft. This keeps the raisins plump and less likely to burn once they’re in the oven.
  2. Add the milk to lower the temperature of the water, and then mix in the remainder of the ingredients. You may need to add a bit more flour because this dough is quite sticky. Stir until the dough starts to leave the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface, and knead until it becomes smooth and supple, around 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and allow the dough to rise till approximately doubled, about 60 minutes.
  3. *Note: If you like, you can incorporate a folding step halfway through this first rise. If you won’t be able to tend to the dough within ~an hour’s time, you can also place the dough in the refrigerator for the first rise and let the dough sit on the counter for ~15-20 minutes before proceeding to the next step.
  4. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface (I used a wooden cutting board) and divide into 12 equal portions. I do this by gently flattening the dough into a rough circle, dividing the circle into 4 equal portions, and then dividing each of the 4 portions into 3 equal smaller portions for a total of 12 portions. Shape each small portion into a ball and cover lightly with plastic wrap. Let the buns rise until puffy, around 30 minutes.
  5. Brush the beaten egg on the tops of each bun – this egg wash will give the buns a glossy shine. You can apply two egg washes (once ~15 min before baking and once right before baking) if you like, but just be careful that there isn’t so much egg it pools at the bottom of the buns = burnt bun bottoms = bird and squirrel food (!).
  6. Bake the buns in a preheated 350°F oven for about 20 minutes, until they’re light golden brown. Remove the buns from the oven, and cool on a wire rack before tearing them apart and savouring their deliciousness.

  • I was surprised that I enjoyed this bread, because normally I do not like the taste of wheat. Because the bread is composed of both all purpose flour and whole wheat, it helps hide the wheat taste.
  • One improvement I would make is add more raisins, maybe 1 cup of raisins instead of 2/3 of a cup. I felt that there was too much bread compared to the amount of raisins.

Check Out the Glowing Golden Crust.

The Fluffy Interior.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Don't own a grater? Not a problem!

My mom and dad were never interested in baking or cooking. Cooking was a necessity not a hobby. As a result, our kitchen lacks proper utensils such as graters, rolling pins, and zesters.

Starting September of 2008 when baking and cooking became my hobby, I had to improvise when recipes called for certain tools or ingredients. For example, I used a knife to "shave" the zest off of lemons for my Lemon Souffle Pudding. Another time, I needed to flatten some bread dough. I ended up using a high ball glass to roll out the dough.

Well, this time around, I needed to grate chocolate for a tiramisu. With no grater in sight, my handy dandy paring knife was my savior. This baby can zest citrus, peel fruits, and grate chocolate. Well...not "grate," but it can shave chocolate pretty well!

Mmmm...A pile of chocolate.

By holding the chocolate bar at an angle, you can shave slivers of chocolate with a knife, resulting in some fine chocolate that you can sprinkle on top of your goodies. I'm not going to lie, shaving your chocolate with a knife is a pain, but it works. works!


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