Cinnamon raisin quick bread is wonderful to have on hand over weekends and during the week for after school snacks. Serve slices with coffee, tea or cocoa on a cold winter afternoon. The recipe takes little time to put together and only fifty minutes to bake. The added bonus is that your house will smell of cinnamon.
The history of quick breads dates back to the Civil War in the United States (1861-1865). Food was needed for the military as well as civilians and there were fewer commercial bread bakers available. Baking soda and baking powder was used to leaven bread and historians say that was how such breads came to be called quick breads. The South was not as lucky as the North. Due to the war and embargoes they could not get many of the items they needed to make baked goods. There was even an embargo on salt. The use of chemical leavening agents instead of yeast led to many of the tasty recipes we have today.
One disadvantage of non yeast breads is they dry out days sooner than yeast risen breads. While you can dip a slice of bread or biscuit that has become hard in water and refresh in the oven it is often better to devise other methods to make use of dry baked goods. The crumbs of most can be used to bread fried foods or to add to recipes such as meatloaf. The crumbs can be tossed in melted butter and used to top a casserole.
A fantastic grilled cheese sandwich can be made of two buttered slices of cinnamon raisin bread and any type of cheese. Fry in a heavy pan over medium high heat until both sides are well toasted. A thin slice of ham or lunch meat is excellent in the sandwiches. Any quick bread that is past its prime can be made into a sweet or savory bread pudding. Slices can also be dipped in egg and milk and then fried in butter for French toast. You could, in theory, slice stale donuts in half and turn them into French toast.
The recipe makes 1 9×5 inch loaf. Serve with butter, cream cheese or other spreads.
Cinnamon Raisin Quick Bread
- 2 cups of all purpose flour
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 2 teaspoons of baking powder
- 1 ½ teaspoon of baking soda
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1/3 cup or more of raisins (more is better)
- 1 cup of buttermilk or sour milk (1 cup milk minus 1 tablespoon, add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar)
- 2 eggs
- ¼ cup of cooking oil
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F and spray or grease a 9”X5” loaf pan.
Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Add the raisins and mix well so they are coated with the flour mixture. This should keep them from sinking to the bottom of the bread while baking.
If you do not have buttermilk you can use sour milk. To make sour milk remove a tablespoon of milk from a cup of milk and stir in 1 tablespoon of white vinegar. The vinegar will not be tasted but is needed to make the baking soda help rise the bread. Let sit a few minutes. You can use lemon juice instead of vinegar.
Mix the buttermilk or sour milk, eggs, cooking oil and vanilla in another bowl. Make sure the yolks are broken. Pour the milk mixture into the dry mixture and stir well until blended.
Pour or spoon the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Smooth the top and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of sugar. You could mix a bit of cinnamon with the sugar.
Bake the loaf for 50 minutes. Test to see if it is done in the middle. Remove from the oven and run a knife around the sides of the pan to make sure the batter did not stick while baking. Remove the loaf from the pan and allow it to completely cool before slicing. To store wrap tightly in plastic or foil. The loaf or part of it can be frozen.
Chopped nuts such as walnuts or almonds can be added along with the raisins. Add about the same amount as the raisins.
Other dry fruits can be added to the batter instead of raisins.
Other extracts can be used such as lemon. Canned chopped fruits could be added instead of dried fruits.