Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Super Soft and Moist Cinnamon Sultana / Raisin Swirl Bread - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!

Hi hi, I'm back!!!

Due to the global Covid-19 pandemic outbreak, I have not been blogging and sharing new recipes for the past 3 months but I have not stopped baking.

Despite that some essential ingredients such as flour, eggs and yeast were sold out at the beginning of outbreak, I was able to bake some basic cookies and breads to keep my family happy and sane. Yeh... Nothing fancy with complicated list of ingredients. Yet, these basic feel-good food can help to make us feel optimistic about our future.

Surviving through this pandemic has been strange and confusing for me. Like most countries that experienced an exponential rate of infection, the Australian residents were told to stay home and practice social distancing.

Although staying at home is safe, it can make people feel lonely, restless and even angry sometimes, especially when we lose our social life and also our track of time. We seem to have no excitement in our lives, maybe because we are not going any where or not doing anything exciting. The mornings, nights and everyday seem to be the same if we are wearing the same comfy outfits, lazing on our couch or bed, doing nothing. Is it autumn or winter already? Did I have a long sleep after Summer?

Thankfully, I don't have to stay at home everyday! I'm an essential worker and had to work even with the presence of the strictest restrictions. However, juggling with work and family amid a pandemic outbreak can be both physically and mentally exhausting. It became worse when I was hurt from an intentional attack. Until now, I still can't understand why a cyclist pushed an innocent runner like me even though I wasn't in his way. And I wonder... Is the pandemic making people angry and blaming anyone because they can?

It is sad. People should be kind and help each other. Pushing or harming each other and being angry will not stop any economic depression or viral infections.

Fortunately, I recovered. We were able to stay safe throughout the rest of the autumn months and could enjoy our favourite super moist Hot Cross Buns while the quiet Easter passed by. We are eager to move on and hope to lose the virus behind...

During my weekend hibernation at home, I have been testing several interesting recipes but limiting with just a few because not all ingredients are available at all time. Luckily, the situation is improving in Australia and I can bake this super soft and moist Cinnamon Sultana Swirl Bread.

I have to say that this is one of the best recipes that I ever baked! These breads are so moist, fluffy soft and delicious! Extra moist too with the juicy sultanas!!!

super soft moist cinnamon sultana raisin swirl bread
Super Soft Super Moist Very Fruity Cinnamon Sultana Swirl Loaf
 I have to say that this is one of the best recipes that I ever baked!

Why is my Cinnamon Sultanas Swirl Bread so soft and moist?

And why is my fruit-loaded loaf so fruity and yet not too sweet?

It's the recipe! LOL!!!

Sorry that I have to repeat this again... If you wish to bake your cinnamon sultana swirl bread to be as soft and delicious like mine, you should follow my recipe as much as you can. Please do not ask me if you can substitute or modify the recipe. Like I always says at here... "If I have tried any substitution with the recipe, I will mention in the recipe accordingly. If I don't, I can't guarantee that the proposed substitution will work." Please understand that I don't like to be agak agak when answering your questions because I don't want to promise something that might potentially waste your time and effort.

Essentially, the way to make this fruit-loaded loaf so moist and not too sweet is to soak the sultanas or raisins in hot boiling water first before using them to shape the bread. This soaking step will remove the excess sugar in the sultanas or raisins and also plump up the fruits with extra moisture.

Apart from the sultanas-soaking step, I must say that this bread recipe is also really good. It can rise really well with the substantial amount of sultanas in it and can remain soft and moist even on the next day of bake.

Not soft enough? If you are fussy like me, you will notice that top crust is actually firm when it is freshly baked but I can assure you that it will become soft later and remain soft on the next day or two. How about the side crust? Oh... It is always soft whether it is freshly baked or on the next day or two.

Not soft enough on the next day? No matter how soft a bread is, it can never be as soft as the day that it was baked. Agree? If you are fussy like me or fussier than me, you should microwave your overnight slice of bread for about 10-20 secs with high power. I promise that your overnight bread will taste like when it is freshly baked.

If you are planning to bake with this recipe, you might like to watch my video to see how I baked mine. In the video, you will see that the bread dough is fully loaded with moisture and can be sticky and difficult to handle. So, please use a breadmaker or an electric mixer with hook attachment for kneading. Please do not knead the dough by hand. You will see that I had to divide the dough into halves so that I can roll each dough as thin as possible so that I can make a nice swirl pattern in the bread.

Music: Bensound

super soft moist cinnamon sultana raisin swirl bread
When the bread is uncut, it looks an ordinary loaf.
super soft moist cinnamon sultana raisin swirl bread
I kept saying "Wow!!!" when I enjoyed my first slice of this fluffy bread.
Every slice and mouthful of this bread is filled with lots of juicy fruits.

Fortunately for us, the infection rate remains low in Australia now. The supplies in the supermarkets are back to 90% normal and the children are returning back to schools. Yet, we still have to practice social distancing and I still have to juggle between working on site and also at home. Well, I guess this is the new norm. It's tough and we just have to get used to it.

Nevertheless, I will try my best to share new recipes, maybe at least one recipe in every one or two weeks. And it will be really nice if you can support a hardworking blogging mum like me if you like my blog or my recipes.

Please LIKE, SHARE and FOLLOW me at either my Facebook at here or here or my Instagram @zoebakeforhappykids because every LIKE, SHARE and FOLLOW from you indicates that I'm in the right track. And I will try my best to bake and share more. Thank you and take care!!!

Here's the recipe that is modified from Food Network

Make one 10 x 20 cm or 450g loaf

180g water at room temperature about 25°C / 75°F
15g honey
30g neutral-tasting vegetable oil
50g egg (from 1 large egg but please use the exact weight)
300g bread flour with 12% protein
15g milk powder - please do not replace this ingredient and water with milk.
2g salt
1 tsp instant dry yeast

For the cinnamon sultana/raisin swirl:
160g (1 cup) sultanas/raisin
1 tbsp ground cinnamon, plus more if desired
30g dark brown sugar

vegetable oil spray to grease the loaf pan
extra vegetable oil (about 1-2 tbsp) for brushing
extra bread flour for dusting and shaping but please use the minimal amount

If you are using a breadmaker to knead and prove, add all ingredients according to this order. Use "dough" setting to mix and knead dough for 30 mins or until the dough is elastic and stretchy. Then, let the dough prove for 1 hr or until doubled in size.

If you are using an electric mixer with an hook attachment to knead, combine all ingredients in the mixing bowl and mix at low speed until a soft dough forms. Continue to knead at low speed for at least 25 mins or until the dough is elastic. It is important that the dough has to be elastic and stretchy. Cover the dough and allow the dough to prove in a warm and humid place for about 1 hr or until doubled in size.

While the bread dough is proving, soak the sultanas or raisins in adequate boiling water for about 30 mins or until plump. Drain and pat dry with paper towels. Set aside.

To shape the dough into bread loaf:

Grease 10 x 20 cm loaf pan with vegetable oil spray.

Divide dough into into 2 equal portions, about 285g each. Shape both portions dough into smooth balls. Allow them to rest at room temperature for about 10 mins.

Transfer dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll each dough into a flat rectangle. Lift up one side of the dough and fold about one-third of it across, then pick up the opposite one-third of it and place it onto the folded one-third. Press dough lightly to remove any air bubbles. Use the rolling pin to flatten and roll the dough into a flat rectangle again. Then, repeat the folding step. Your dough will look like a squarish dough at this stage.

Use the rolling pin to flatten and roll the dough into a flat rectangle again and as thin as possible with about 10cm width. Brush the rolled dough with oil. Sprinkle generously with ground cinnamon, then brown sugar and sultanas or raisins.

Use your fingers to pick one side of the dough and tuck and roll the dough tightly like a Swiss roll.

Place the rolled dough with their round swirl side facing the short side of the pan and their seams side down into the prepared pan. Press the top of the dough lightly to form an even surface. Allow the dough to prove in a warm and humid place for another 60 mins or until the dough is going to reach the maximum height of the loaf pan.

Brush bread dough with oil. Bake in a preheated 180°C (350°F) oven for 25 mins or until thoroughly baked. If your breads are becoming brown too quickly, cover the breads very loosely with aluminium foil at the last 10-15 mins of bake and continue to bake until thoroughly baked.

Remove breads from the loaf pans immediately and transfer onto a wire rack to cool completely before slicing and serving.

To store, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and keep at room temperature for 2-3 days or freeze in serving portions for 2-3 months.If you want the leftover breads to be moist and soft just like the day when they are freshly baked, you can heat them slightly in a microwave with high power for 10-20 secs. The re-heated bread will be surprisingly soft, moist and nice again to enjoy!

Happy Baking!
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  1. Oh dear Zoe. Sorry to hear that you've been hurt and glad to hear you've recovered. Love your blog, your recipes and your generosity in sharing always. Take care.

  2. Hope you are ok now, and being an essential working during this time is tough but kudos to you, hope things are looking up in australia now. This bread look good, I tried your sandwich bread during this pandamic and it turned out so well.

  3. Hi Zoe... Sorry to hear that you have been hurt and you are now well. Always look forward to visiting your blog = )
    I was visiting your older post of Chicken Sheng Jian Pau and want to confirm the amount of baking powder in that recipe.. is it tablespoon or teaspoon ? Thanks again for all your wonderful post .. Blessings

    1. Hi, Nice to hear from you and thanks for highlighting "tbsp vs tsp baking powder" in my Chicken Sheng Jian Pau post to me. Tbsp should be the correct amount that is used in the book but I reckon tsp should be enough as I prefer the dough to have lesser metallic aftertaste. Thus, I have altered my post accordingly. Cheers!