I realize this is a geek cooking blog. If I was living up to my responsibilities, I’d slap a My Little Pony theme onto this, or somehow morph it into an Adventure Time loaf.
Today, my loyal internet minions, I fail you. Sometimes, when I see something adorable, my ovaries cry out and demand that I too deserve a little stealth cuteness in my life. Then I post it on the internet, eliminating all stealthiness. My ovaries aren’t good at subtlety.
This loaf is inspired by the watermelon shaped chocolate chip bread I discovered over on Taste For Adventure. To my disappointment, the blog doesn’t include any information about paragliding over live volcanos or sewer spelunking with genetically engineered mole men, but it does have some worthwhile culinary goodness.
Since I love me some cinnamon raisin bread, I ditched the chocolate chips and, let’s be honest, completely changed the recipe in every way except the look.
3 ½ – 4 cups flour
1 cup warm milk
1 tbsp yeast
6 tbsp sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt
½ tsp vanilla
1 tbsp oil
½ tsp red food coloring
½ tsp green food coloring
3 cups raisins
1 cup boiling water
2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
Start by rehydrating your raisins in boiling water. Don’t worry. That’s not the sound of them screaming. It’s merely a natural release of steam, just like the sound of cooking a live lobster. Rehydrating your raisins thusly will keep them nice and moist in your bread. Otherwise, you risk them turning into angry lumps of tar in the baking process. If you like really raisin intensive bread, add another cup. Remember, these suckers have to stretch out between two full loaves of bread. Only you know how much fruity sweetness you crave in each slice.
While the raisins rehydrate, warm your milk in a microwave. Mine takes about 20 seconds. Your mileage may vary. Add the yeast and a tablespoon of sugar. Whisk it all together then walk away for 10 minutes. When you come back, your yeast should’ve bloomed to the point where you appear to have a top down view of a nuclear explosion from space.
Add the rest of your sugar, all of your cinnamon, salt, vanilla, and oil, and eggs. Give it a good, thorough stir.
Now comes the tricky part. Divide that mess in half. Mix ½ tsp of red food coloring into one half and ½ tsp of green in the other. If you want your bread to look more red and green than pink and teal, double the food coloring.
Add 1 ¾ – 2 cups of flour to each bowl. Mix it up until it reaches a normal dough consistency. I put the green dough in my stand mixer and let the dough hook knead away at speed 2.
While the green dough was kneading, I drained the raisins, rolled them in flour, and added them to the red dough. Rolling them in flour helps keep them from sinking to the bottom of the bread. It also makes a sticky mess, but luckily you’re about to get your hands dirty anyway as you knead the raisins right into the red dough. Keep kneading for 6-8 minutes. It builds character. And upper body strength.
You should now have a ball of plain green dough and a ball of disturbingly pitted red dough. Cover them both and walk away for an hour.
When you come back, punch both dough balls down into submission.
Now cut the red dough in half and make two long red logs.
Roll the green dough out on a floured surface. This isn’t just an excuse for a visual pun. It’s cinnamon raisin bread. Let’s add some sweetness.
Melt your butter and slather it all over one side of the green dough. Now top that with your cinnamon and brown sugar. This is what takes the dough from adorable to delicious. Always feel free to add more sugar and cinnamon.
You can see what’s coming next. You want to make a sock-like tube of green dough around the red. I like to let my bottom seams overlap. Otherwise, the dough can separate when rising, leaving you with the embarrassing look of a partially exploded watermelon. Try not to add any cinnamon-sugar mix on the overlapping segment. It’s not a crime if you go all sugar overload on it, but that brown stripe in the middle of the green rind will look disturbingly like rot. Better to keep it clean.
Pinch the ends closed and tuck them under each loaf. Now put each loaf in a well buttered pan and let it rise for another hour.
Just before baking, whisk up an egg with a dash of vanilla and paint the top of each loaf. The vanilla really adds to the bread’s aroma. Pop it in the oven at 350F for 25 minutes. If the crust seems to be browning too fast, tent some aluminum foil on top.
When it comes out, you’ll have a disturbingly green and bulbous mass. Don’t panic. Much like harvesting organs for transplant, no matter how disturbing the outside, the beauty lies within.
If you hand someone this loaf unsliced, they’re going to think you’re gifting them with a pet slime mold. This bread absolutely has to be served pre-sliced. That way, all nausea at the sight of green bread is overridden by the coos of people admiring your adorable craftiness. Look at that. It’s so cute you want to stuff it right into your face hole. Try lightly toasting it and slathering it with butter first.
While it loses a lot of the look in the process, leftover slices make disturbingly good French Toast.
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