Pane Bianco with Apples, Raisins & Cinnamon

Ever since I made Pane Bianco with Sausage, Sundried Tomatoes and Basil, I’ve been obsessed with, in no particular order, the following:

1. Calling ordinary white bread by a fancy Italian name like Pane Bianco.

2. Finding fancy Italian names for most everything ordinary. “Lavare i piatti” means “doing dishes.” See, it sounds so good, I almost want to do the dishes!

3. Making everything into a curvy figure-8 shape.

4. Wondering why I have a curvy shape. Oh, wait. Never mind.

5. Wondering what else I could fill my Pane Bianco with. Hmm. That sounded…uh, wrong. Sorry! Wondering how I could adapt the Pane Bianco recipe. There. That sounds better. 😉

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Well, my fellow carb lovers, I decided my first adaptation of this recipe would involve apples and because I didn’t want the apples to be lonely, raisins.

And because I didn’t want the raisins to be lonely…oh, you get my point.

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Now, the result of this little experiment was delightful, if I do say so myself.

Here’s why.

Imagine cinnamon raisin bread. Now, imagine a cinnamon roll. Now, imagine if they had a baby.

Too weird?

Okay. Let me try again. Basically, it’s like the flavor of a cinnamon roll without the guilt of a cinnamon roll.

Are we speaking the same language now?

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Now, of course, if you were expecting an over-the-top gooey, sticky cinnamon roll, you’re going to be disappointed.

If you’re like me and can follow my food guilt logic, then you’ll be just fine.

Because, of course, the apples and raisins balance out the rest of the bread and brown sugar calories.

Besides, if you have a houseful of people, you’re not going to eat the whole thing yourself anyway.

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This would be a great breakfast bread if you have company over. Or maybe for the holidays. Or for any random Sunday. Or Monday. Or Wednesdays. I like Wednesdays.

I have done some additional research for you and I can say that a slice of this tastes excellent reheated for 30 seconds in the microwave. So, you could definitely make this the day before and serve it at room temperature or reheated slightly. You’re welcome.

Oh, and don’t be like me and forget to tent the bread with aluminum foil halfway through. Multi-tasking is not always helpful. While my bread got a little darker than I intended, it did not affect the taste. Thank. Goodness.

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I hope you try one of the Pane Bianco recipes. It’s such a happy feeling to make something that looks complicated, but is actually pretty easy. Now, the only thing I’m left to wonder about is if I can make a miniature version? That would be so cool.

Pane Bianco with Apples, Raisins and Cinnamon
recipe adapted from Lanascooking.com, which I believe originally came from King Arthur Flour

Ingredients
1/4 cup warm water
2 tblsp. sugar
2 tsp. (1 pkg.) instant yeast
1/2 cup low-fat milk, warmed
3 tblsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 egg
2 tsp. salt
3 cups bread flour
1 cup raisins
2 lunchbox size Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced. (One large apple of most any variety would work too.)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1 – 2 Tablespoons cinnamon, depending on taste
White sugar for dusting (optional)
either shortening or olive oil to grease the bowl
parchment paper

Directions
Combine the milk, water and sugar in a large bowl. Sprinkle the yeast on top. Wait 5  – 10 minutes for the yeast to start working. (To warm the milk, I placed mine in a coffee cup and microwaved it for 30 seconds. Mine was between 105 – 110 degrees Fahrenheit after this amount of time, but all microwaves are different. You want the milk warm, not scalding hot.)

After the yeast has begun to work, add the olive oil, salt and egg and mix together.

I made this recipe by hand, so I used a fork to mix everything together.

Add in the flour. Again, I used the fork to mix everything and when it became too hard to mix with the fork, I began to kneed the dough by hand for approximately 5 minutes. You can sprinkle on a little additional flour if the dough seems too sticky.

Either grease the bowl or drizzle a bit of olive oil in the bowl and coat all sides of your dough. Cover the bowl with a towel and set in a warm place to let the dough rise. This will take approximately 1 hour.

After the dough has doubled in size, roll the dough out on a floured surface into a large rectangle. Evenly sprinkle the brown sugar, cinnamon, apples and raisins over the dough. Cut up your 2 tablespoons of butter and sprinkle/place the pats of butter on top of the dough.

Starting with a long edge, roll the dough into a log as you would for making cinnamon rolls. Pinch the edge to seal thoroughly.

Place the rolled dough on a parchment paper lined baking sheet with the seam side down. Using a very sharp knife, start about 1 inch from an end and slice the roll about 1” deep to within 1 inch of the opposite end (see Lana’s blog for awesome pictures showing this technique). Form the sliced roll into an “S” shape. Bring the two ends together under the roll and pinch them together. (Be sure and pinch them together well, otherwise, the gooey brown sugar mixture is going to ooze out a little during baking. The parchment paper is a lifesaver if this occurs.)

If you want, you can lightly dust the surface of your creation with white sugar. Totally optional.

Cover and let rise again for about 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size. When the dough is almost done rising, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Bake for 35 – 40 minutes. Check at the 10 or 15 minute mark and if the dough is browning too quickly, lightly cover or tent the dough with aluminum foil. When it is done baking, remove from parchment paper and let the dough cool on a wire rack.

Take a bunch of pictures and post on Instagram and Facebook so your friends can be jealous of how amazing your bread looks.

Then enjoy your creation!

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