Tuesdays with Dorie: Raisin Swirl Bread + Sugar Crusted French Toast
Everyone needs a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Knowing I have bread dough mixed and ready to bake works for me. The yeasty smell of bread coming from the oven is enough to wake up any lingering sleepyheads.
I hesitate to admit how I made this. Will it make Dorie cringe? If so, I’m sorry. But I made this recipe in my bread machine and it turned out…well…the way it was supposed to, I think. The dough was smooth and elastic with a buttery sheen just as Dorie predicted. The loaf was well-risen (maybe too much as it separated a bit in the swirls) and the taste ensured it will be a repeat, again and again. If you’ve read me long, you know I’m a gadget nut and see no reason to ride a horse when you can get there faster, easier and more predictably in a car–without breaking a sweat. Not that riding a horse doesn’t have its own pleasures. It’s just not the way I want to spend my time at this point in life.
Reading the sidebar in Dorie’s book, Baking, enticed me to try her Sugar-Crusted French Toast. Slices of raisin bread are soaked in sweetened, vanilla-flavored whole milk, eggs and egg yolks, then sauteed in butter with more sugar sprinkled on the toast during the cooking process.
I made the first pieces too thick and couldn’t get them cooked in the middle without the toast getting overly brown. Perhaps I was impatient and had the heat too high. A second attempt with slices closer to 3/4 inch yielded perfectly browned and crispy toast with a smooth, custard-like interior. Fresh fruit and maple syrup are all that’s needed to transform this decadent recipe into dessert or a very special breakfast.