Struan is the monthly bake for the Bread Baking Babes. My version, which I call Rustic Sourdough Cinnamon Raisin Struan, is made with cooked brown rice, coarse cornmeal, rolled oats, oat bran and a mix of raisins and cranberries.
To give it an over-the-top flavor, the dough is rolled out, brushed with melted butter and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. And for the finishing touches, the top of the loaf is brushed with melted butter and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. Needless to say, these loaves pack a powerful punch of sweetness!
The idea for the monthly bread came about while our host, Elle, was clearing out her bookcases. She found a small paperback by Peter Reinhart mixed in with the mysteries. In it she found what she described as the perfect March bread for gathering round our BBB kitchen table.
The book, which was written in 1994, is called Sacramental Magic in a Small-Town Cafe – Recipes and Stories from Brother Juniper’s Cafe’. In it, Peter Reinhart gives the recipe for his (at the time) all time favorite bread – Cinnamon Raisin Struan, which is a variation of Struan bread.
Brother Peter says, “Struan, incidentally, aside from being the name of a Scottish clan, also means “the convergence of two or more streams” which he feels is quite appropriate considering all the different convergences of ingredients.
Elle reminded us that, “Peter Reinhart has been encouraging bread baking for a long time, especially slow food bread baking where the dough is given plenty of time to develop its flavor.”
It just so happens, that he is one of my favorite bread-baking mentors. I’ve learned so much from him through his books (I have most of them), but also in person. I’ve had the privilege of meeting him and participating in several of his workshops at the Asheville Bread Festival and hearing him speak at the Kneading Conference in Maine.
He includes a recipe for Struan in each of his books so I’ve made it before, but it really is a great bread so it was definitely worth making again.
However, rather than use the recipe from Sacramental Magic in a Small-Town Cafe – Recipes and Stories from Brother Juniper’s Cafe’, I chose the Struan recipe from Artisan Breads Every Day, another one of Peter’s books.
I converted the formula to utilize sourdough as the leavening instead of yeast, and substituted kefir milk for the buttermilk. I also scored my loaves. I don’t know what it is about me and scoring these days, but I think I’ve gone scoring happy. The scoring gave the loaves an interesting look which is why I called them “rustic.”
- 5 cups / 638 grams all-purpose flour (reserve about 50 - 75 grams)
- ¼ cup / 42.5 grams coarse cornmeal or polenta
- ¼ cup / 28.5 grams rolled oats
- 3 tablespoons / ~ 20 grams oat or wheat bran
- ½ cup / 56.5 grams brown riced, cooked and cooled
- ¼ cup / 56.5 grams brown sugar
- 2½ teaspoons / 19 grams salt
- 1½ tablespoon / 28.5 grams honey
- 128 grams sourdough, active and recently fed
- 1½ cups lukewarm water
- ½ cup lukewarm kefir milk or buttermilk
- 200 grams raisins or cranberries or a mix
- Melted butter for brushing, if desired
- Cinnamon-sugar mixture for sprinkling
- In a large bowl, add the sourdough starter and combine with the other wet ingredients (honey, water and kefir or buttermilk)
- Incorporate thoroughly to break up the starter. Stir in the cooked brown rice.
- Whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, cornmeal, rolled oats, bran, sugar, salt. Add to the wet ingredients and mix thoroughly using a Danish dough whisk or wooden spoon.
- The dough will be sticky and shaggy. Let it rest for 5 minutes until the flour is fully hydrated.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly-floured work surface.
- Knead in the raisins and/or cranberries until thoroughly incorporated throughout the dough. This could take a while. Add in extra flour if necessary. The dough should be soft and slightly sticky.
- Stretch and fold the dough onto itself from each corner. Then flip it over and tuck it under to form a ball. The dough will be a bit firmer but will still be very soft. Scrape down or rinse the bowl and place the dough back in the bowl.
- Cover and let it sit at room temperature for 2-3 hours. After 40 minutes, complete a stretch and fold and place the dough back in the bowl. Repeat the process two more times at 40-minute intervals for a total of three folds. Let the dough rest for the final 40 minutes to an hour. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator overnight.
- On baking day, remove the dough for 2-3 hours before you plan to bake.
- Divide the dough into two pieces and roll each piece out into a rectangle.
- Brush the loaves with melted butter and sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of cinnamon sugar over the surface, spreading it evenly. From the bottom of the long side, roll up the dough into tight loaves, tucking and pinching the seams into one line on the bottom. Put the loaves, seam side down, in greased bread pans. I used 8-inch loaf pans. Cover and allow the loaves to rise until doubled in size. This could take up to 2 hours or more depending on the temperature in your kitchen.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. When the loaves have risen, cresting over the tops of the pans, place on the center shelf and bake for about 40-45 minutes. The loaves should be nicely domed and dark gold. The bottom and sides should be a uniform light gold and there should be an audible, hollow thwack when you tap the bottom of the loaf. If the loaves are not ready, remove them from the pans and place them back in the oven until done. They will bake quickly when removed from the pans.
- When done, brush a little butter, margarine, or oil over the tops, then sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon sugar, coating each loaf with a layer of cinnamon crust.
- Allow the breads to cool on wire racks for at least 40 minutes before slicing.
Since this formula made two loaves, I kept one and gave the other loaf to a friend. He said it was a nice treat and slices could even be substituted for dessert.
This bread is excellent for toasting. You don’t even need to add any extra butter. However, I thought it was a bit sweet. If I make this version again, I will reduce some of the sweetener in the dough and let the cinnamon sugar and raisins provide the sweetness.
Elle of feeding my enthusiasms is the host kitchen for the Bread Baking Babes this month. If you’d like to bake along as a Bread Baking Buddy, check out Elle’s blog for instructions.
And please visit all of the Bread Baking Babes and check out their versions of this month’s recipe:
- Blog from OUR Kitchen – Elizabeth
- A Messy Kitchen – Kelly
- Bake My Day – Karen
- Bread Experience – Cathy
- Feeding My Enthusiasms – Elle
- Judy’s Gross Eats – Judy
- Karen’s Kitchen Stories – Karen
- My Kitchen in Half Cups – Tanna
- Notitie Van Lien – Lien
- Thyme for Cooking – Katie