The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Peter Reinhart's Transitional Cinnamon Raisin Bread

pavisgravis's picture
pavisgravis

Peter Reinhart's Transitional Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Hello fellow bakers.


I just made P. Reinhart's Transitional Cinnamon Raisin Bread from the Whole Grains book and ended up with dense, doughy loaves.  The dough barely rose at either stage of proofing, but I decided to bake it anyway.


I used Red Star Quick Rise yeast with a 2012 expiration date.


I have been baking bread for many years, but am new to Peter Reinhart's methodology.  Any advice for rectifying the rising issue?  I haven't experienced this problem with recipes by other bakers.


Thanks!

Postal Grunt's picture
Postal Grunt

I have that book on loan from the local library system at the moment. IIRC, PR mentions that cinnamon may inhibit yeast activity and suggested two methods for utilizing the cinnamon. Which one did you use?

pavisgravis's picture
pavisgravis

Thanks for the feedback.


I did not find the methods for using cinnamon that you mention.  Per the recipe's instructions, I added a teaspoon of cinnamon with the other final dough ingredients.  I also used the cinnamon-sugar mixture in the final shaping.


Perhaps there was some interaction between the cinnamon and yeast.

Bread Engineer's picture
Bread Engineer

The WW raisin bread from the same book is my current favorite breakfast (without nuts or cinnamon swirl, and I've been adding 1/4 c potato flakes/loaf and reducing the flour a couple of tablespoons). I've made it probably a half-dozen times over the past 3 months. I used the teaspoon of cinnamon in the dough the first several bakes, and it was very slow to rise (6 hrs first rise after making the final dough, then 2-3 hours final rise in the pans), then removed the cinnamon yesterday and it behaved with a more "typical" time frame of more than doubling in 2 hours on the first rise and proofing 1 hour in the pan.


Before the cinnamon is fully blamed, the only constant in this experiment was the use of the same (5 year old) jar of Fleischman's in the freezer (said jar is down to about a teaspoon). The temperature in the kitchen increased from 60 degrees to 70 degrees, which also contributed to the change in the timing. I also probably used slightly less flour in the later batches, although I haven't been measuring the flour added during kneading.

pavisgravis's picture
pavisgravis

Thanks.  Sounds like I should experiment with omitting the cinnamon from the dough.  I'm impressed that you had the patience to wait six hours(!) for the first rise.

Bread Engineer's picture
Bread Engineer

After the first slow batch, I planned to be home at the appropriate intervals and left the dough to mind itself in between. The only problem with that plan is that I almost got in trouble with the fast batch, since I had planned to be home to attend to it based on the long schedule and be in and out in between.

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

I am curious to see what happens when you adjust the cinnamon in the recipe.


I use PR's recipes from his WGB book all the time.  In order to get my family to eat a variety of grains I add cinnamon and raisins to a lot of his breads so that my kids will eat them....The only time cinnamon effects the rising time is when I use a sourdough starter instead of a biga in a recipe.  On all the other recipes it doesn't make any difference and I use quite a bit of cinnamon - 2 tsp. per loaf.


Don't know if it makes any difference but I grind my own flour so it is really fresh.  When not using sourdough I use instant yeast.

bbradley_nz's picture
bbradley_nz

I have made the 100% Whole version of this bread. Works well for me, although I find the taste very strong. My problem is that, athough the structure of the loaf is good, The loaf is always a little flat.


What size breadpan do you normally use for the recipe's in WGB?

pavisgravis's picture
pavisgravis

Thanks for the feedback, JanetCook and Bbradley.


Maybe the cinnamon I bought was especially acidic since nobody else seems to have a problem adding cinnamon to the dough.  I haven't tried the recipe again yet, but have been pondering other adjustments I might make.  For example, my soaker was also difficult to work with as it was very dry.  (I live in a cold climate, and the indoor air is quite dry.)  So maybe the hydration level was too low in the final dough.


As for pan size, I have one 8" x 4" and one 8.5" x 4.5".  My cinnamon-raisin loaves were so dense and tiny, however, that I ended up just baking them as free-standing loaves because they didn't fill out the pans properly.  I have baked lots of other yeast bread loaves in these pans with no problems.  None were Peter Reinhart's recipes.  The other PR breads I've made have all been freestanding, hearth loaves.


Bbradley, I have noticed that the whole grain sandwich loaves pictured in PR's Whole Grains book look smaller and flatter than transitional or white-flour breads.  If your shaped loaves have crested an inch above the top after the second rise, you've probably proofed them adequately.

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

I am by no means an expert here but, from my experience, the soaker shouldn't be really dry.  Should be almost like your final dough.  


You have had success with his hearth loaves and so you are familiar with how those soakers feel.  I would suggest adding more water so the soaker has the some consistency as your hearth loaves do.


I would also suggest making only one adjustment at a time or else you won't know what made the difference in your loaves.


jc

Bread Engineer's picture
Bread Engineer

My experience is that the soaker has been a bit wetter than the final dough when I use a new bag of (plump, slightly sticky) raisins, and drier when I used the remains of an old bag. The initial moisture content of the raisins seemed to affect the consistency of the soaker and the amount of flour required when mixing the final dough more than typical seasonal variations in the moisture content of flour.


WRT pan sizes, 8.5x4.5" pans have been about right for me. I would definitely scale up the recipe if I were using 9x5" pans.

bbradley_nz's picture
bbradley_nz

Thanks for the info pavisgravis and Bread Engineer.


I tried using a bigger quantity in the same pan this weekend (measured out 1.4Kg of dough for a 10" X 5" pan). A little too much dough, but my loaf looked great. And tasted great (this is the 100% wholewheat sandwich loaf).

pavisgravis's picture
pavisgravis

I finally tried the recipe again.  This time, I omitted the cinnamon from the dough but still included it in the filling.


This change did not seem to make a difference.  The rising times were still painfully slow.  The final product did bear a stronger resemblance to bread than the first batch I made, but only because I allowed much more rising time.


It took three hours for the dough to increase to 1.5 times its original size during the initial proofing stage.  The shaped loaves still hadn't risen sufficiently after three hours -- when I had to leave for an evening engagement -- so I left them to continue rising.  I returned home after another five hours and found them closer to the desired one-inch crest, so I baked them.


I thought the dough looked right and felt right at each stage (soft, supple, passed the "windowpane test") so I'm guessing the problem is either temperature or type of yeast.


Has anyone else used Red Star Rapid Rise yeast in this recipe?


And should I be concerned about salmonella since my dough-with-raw-egg sat at room temperature for a combined total of 11 hours?

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

I am stumped as I have not had this problem and I have baked this loaf before and I mix the cinnamon right into the dough.


In my experience it only takes longer to rise when I use sourdough. When I use yeast (I use  Saf-Instant yeast and have NO experience with the type you are using...) it rises very quickly...


My suggestion is to go to his master recipe and start there and see how that works for you since it is basic....once you have that 'working' go to his cinnamon one and give it a shot...


Not sure about your salmonella question...sorry.


Good Luck

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

I can guarantee that the brand and type of yeast is not the issue here. That is not to say that somehow the viability of your yeast has been compromised(temperature, moisture, etc.).


I have used only 3 "types" of dried yeast in my about two years of bread baking: Red Star Quick Rise(3 pack strip), Kroger store brand "bread machine" yeast(jar), and SAF Instant(1# bulk pack). They have all performed virtually identically.


Red Star Quick Rise and SAF Instant are actually manufactured by the same corporation and I would bet anything that the only difference between the two is the type of packaging.


Even though the yeast brand is not the issue, why not try buying a 3 pack strip of another brand and try it. Maybe the quality of your yeast has been compromised, somehow. Although that can probably be substantiated by it's performance in other recipes.


That seems to leave temperature issues as the culprit. I would suggest using only room temp water to rule out the possibility of killing the yeast with water that is too hot. I very rarely use anything besides room temp water and instant yeast straight from the fridge/freezer(if not doing an all sourdough recipe). Never, ever had a dough fail to rise, fully, eventually. That is not to say that I have never had a loaf turn our more dense than desired, but I can usually trace the cause back to overproofing or inadequate dough development. Been baking bread/pizza on average of at least twice a week for the past 2 years almost.


Lastly, while I personally don't worry about leaving whole(unbroken) eggs unrefrigerated for a day or so, and then using them in a dough formula, however long it takes, I do know that, for whatever reason, the USDA and most "responsible" US entities seem to advise against such practices for eggs, milk, etc.