The Wayback Machine: Peeta's Bread (Raisin Nut Swirl Bread)

The Wayback Machine: Peeta's Bread (Raisin Nut Swirl Bread)

So, the Hays family caught Hunger Games fever only slightly behind the rest of the world.  After our Peeta-themed breakfast, we’re headed out to a lunch date to see the movie with friends – Sparky devoured the book in just a few days (admittedly, some of it by sneaking a light into his room after bedtime!)

As I apparently live under a rock, I’d actually first heard about the book from the adorable vlog Feast of Fiction, where I found the recipe we’re making today.  I’m going to let you click the links to figure out how this bread is important to the story, because they tell it so much more charmingly than I possibly could.

Sparky and I made some minor adjustments to their recipe, but it’s pretty close to Feast of Fiction’s:

Ingredients

For the “starter”

1/2 cup milk

1 1/4 tsp active dry yeast

1 tsp sugar
For the “sponge”
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
3 eggs
1 stick of soft butter
1/4 cup honey
For the bread dough
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup raisins (I plumped mine in the microwave in a bit of booze, then drained them)
1/2 cup nuts (we had pistachios and pecans, so I used those)
Vegetable Oil
For the filling
Water
Ground cinnamon (about a tablespoon)
Brown sugar (about three tablespoons)
Vanilla sugar  (about three tablespoons)

For the topping

Melted butter (about 1-2 tbsp)
Raw or demerara sugar

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So, first we heated the milk in the microwave in 30-second increments until it was warm to the touch (about 100 degrees Farenheit) and then added the sugar and yeast and 005left them to ferment a bit. As soon as we had bubbles, Sparky added the “starter” and “sponge” ingredients to our beloved Kitchenaid mixer fitted with the dough hook, and he whipped them together, stopping occasionally to scrape down the bowl, until we had a soupy mess.

011Then we added the 2 cups of flour and started slowly kneading the dough.  After about 6 minutes, we added the plumped raisins and nuts and let the dough hook incorporate them into the dough thoroughly.

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We scraped our bread dough into a slightly gloppy ball, and then put some oil in the bottom of a bowl.
014 We turned the ball over and over in the oil so it was completely covered (this will prevent your dough from drying out as it rises.)  We then stuck the whole thing in the refrigerator to rise slowly overnight (If you’re in a hurry, you can let it rise in a warm place for an hour or until doubled in volume.)

015The next morning, I took out the dough and set it on the counter to come to room temperature (about twenty minutes on a warm day.)  I prepped a bowl with the cinnamon, brown sugar and vanilla sugar, which I whisked together thoroughly.
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The dough was plopped onto a well-floured work surface, and then cut into two equal parts for two loaves.

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Working together, we kneaded one part of the dough into a tube, and then rolled it out into a blobby squarish shape about 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch thick.

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Sparky coated this thoroughly with half of the cinnamon mixture (the recipe says to spread your dough with water first, we forgot and it didn’t seem to matter.)  He then rolled it up like it was sushi, and we sealed the final edge with some water and thorough pinching.

We set the loaf, seam side down, on a parchment- lined cookie sheet, and set it aside while we did the same to the second blob of dough.
028Sparky coated both loaves with a thick layer of melted butter and a generous sprinkle of raw sugar, and we left the loaves near the oven to rise for 30 minutes, or until they “dent” when poked with a finger. We then preheated the oven to 375 degrees (which gave our bread another 15 minutes) and in it went for half an hour, filling the house with a smell – well, I can only hope heaven smells this good.  It came out looking just beautiful.

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033Once we got it out of the oven and let it cool, Sparky got to do something he REALLY wanted to try: use my little brûlée torch to melt and brown the sugar topping so it looks burnt like Peeta’s bread in the story (you can also use a gas burner, or put it in the broiler for a few moments.)

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Then we sliced it up and ate it. MMmmmMMMM. Literature is delicious .

Filed under: Cooking with Kids, Recipe

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