The ninth bread in the Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge is Cinnamon Raisin Walnut Bread. This might be my favorite bread we have baked so far. Sure it's hard to argue with that cheesy, salami-studded star, Casatiello, but this loaf is simple and comforting and delicious and lacking in any pretense or fancy flair. This bread is exactly what I want for breakfast - toasted with a healthy smear of good butter. One loaf lasted about 24 hours in my house and I think I single-handedly ate the entire thing. Every hour or so, I would stroll by the bread board, saw off a little slice, and gnaw on it absently while chasing around the kid.
Next time, and there will be many next times, I will try this with butter instead of shortening, since I tend to be squeamish about the good ol' Crisco. The dough seemed a bit heavy while kneading, but it produced a wonderfully light and fluffy loaf. For me, the cinnamon swirl is de rigueur for just the right amount of indulgence. I skipped the cinnamon sugar on top, which seemed, well, over the top.