I made a Cinnamon Raisin Loaf. Cinnamon being a very traditional Mexican spice, and raisins because Momma likes raisins. And Momma gets what she wants. For the second variation I decided to venture a little out of my comfort zone and make a Cheesy Taco Bread. Laced with cheddar cheese, green onions, my special taco seasoning, and topped with crunchy tortilla chips, it was money the minute my three year old nephew suggested it, and it was money when it came out of the oven. So good.
Although this is a very special made-up holiday to me, I don't want to bore you all with any further prolegomenons. To begin we have to make our plain sandwich bread dough. In a large bowl I'm going to dissolve yeast in a cup of tepid water. Remember whenever you are using yeast, treat it as if it were alive. Technically it is - I just don't like to label, especially because in a few hours, after you bond with the little guys, it feels a little inhumane to throw them into a 400 degree oven alive. We're only three paragraphs in and it's already dark - I think that's a record.
Once the yeast has sat for fifteen minutes, add five cups of flour, salt, sugar, butter, and the rest of the water. Stir till the mixture is combined. Add the rest of the flour one cup at a time until the dough begins to get hard to mix by spoon. Flour a clean work surface (like you were going to use a dirty one) and plop the dough out of the bowl. Knead it for fifteen minutes, or until the top is smooth and the dough is elastic.
If the dough begins to stick to your work surface do not hesitate to add more flour. Sticking is your dough's way of telling you it needs more flour. The more you chow.
When you're happy with the consistency of the bread, let it rise in a warm place for an hour, or until it doubles in size. I put mine in a floured bowl covered in front of my window. If somehow you chose not to live in a warm place (though I'm not sure why anyone wouldn't want to), you can put the dough in your oven.
While the dough is rising we can prepare our accompaniments for our dos loaves. For the Cinnamon Raisin Bread I'm going to set aside 1/2 cup of raisins, and combine 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon with 1/2 cup sugar. For my Cheesy Taco Bread I'm going to crush some tortilla chips, finely chop some green onion, and take out my cheddar cheese. Most importantly, however, we have to mix together our taco seasoning. A super secret blend that I stole from food.com - the link will be at the bottom of the post along with the rest of the recipe.
The dough has risen so its time to turn it out onto a lightly floured surface so we can begin the addition of our fiesta flushed flavors. Divide the dough in half. To make the Cinnamon Raisin Bread sprinkle the raisins and half of the cinnamon sugar onto the surface of the dough. Then fold the dough in half and lightly kneed until the ingredients are thoroughly distributed within the bread. Pat the dough into a buttered loaf tin and set aside.
For the Cheesy Taco Bread we'll do the same kind of thing. Take 3 tablespoons of our Taco Seasoning, along with the green onions, and 1/4 cup of cheese and sprinkle it on the dough. Seal the ingredients in the center so when you knead the dough they don't spill all over the place. This goes the same for both of the breads. You could place these in a stand mixer with a dough attachment along with the ingredients and mix them that way. Pat the bread into a buttered loaf tin, cover and leave to rise for an additional 45 minutes. In the meantime you can preheat your oven to 400.
When the bread is finally ready to be baked, brush the tops with butter. For the Cinnamon Raisin Bread sprinkle the rest of the cinnamon sugar over the top. For the Cheesy Taco Bread add the crushed tortilla chips, extra seasoning and extra cheese. Loosely cover both with foil (we don't want to hinder the bread's capacity to rise) and bake for 25 minutes. Take off the foil and bake for another 5 minutes or until the tops are golden and when you tap the bottom of the pans the bread sounds hollow.
These artisan breads are perfect for giving to your Mom for Mother's Day. She'll enjoy the effort and thought you've put in, but mostly, who wouldn't be proud of their kid who just made freshly baked bread. Some serving options could be breakfast in bed, a bread tasting platter with a variety of jams and spreads, or my favorite, toasted with butter. I think y'all will really enjoy that last one, my mom taught me that. So I really hope you all give these dos loaves a try. Your Mom will be so happy you did. Just remember to cut your share before you give it away because you probably won't see it again. And as always,
White Sandwich Bread
4½ tsp. instant (rapid rise) yeast
1 cup plus 2 1/4 cup warm water, divided (105-115˚ F)
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp. salt
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
9-10 cups all-purpose flour
3-4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted, for brushing
for Cinnamon Raisin Bread
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
for Cheesy Taco Bread
1/4 cup of crushed tortilla chips
1 cup cheddar cheese
4 stalks of green onion
mexican seasoning blend - food.com
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