It’s time of the month when the Bread Baking Babes are at it again. We’re baking bread together and this March we’re making Peter Reinhart’s Cinnamon Raisin Struan. Elle of Feeding My Enthusiasms picked the recipe, Peter’s then favourite one apparently, out of his book Sacramental Magic in a Small-Town Cafe – Recipes and Stories from Brother Juniper’s Café.
Struan is a small village on the Isle of Skye. The word is also considered to be an anglicised form of the Scottish Gaelic word “sruthan” supposed to mean “small stream”. In today’s bread baking world, the Struan is bread made from different grains and a variety of ingredients. Though it has changed somewhat through time, it continues to be the harvest bread baked for Michaelmas.
Going back to do some research on the net, I found that the original bread, known as Struan Micheil, was a bannock style unleavened flat bread that used to be made on the eve of the festival of St. Michael, guardian of the harvest. Cooked on a griddle by the eldest daughter of the family under direction of her mother, this harvest bread was made using the various grains (usually oats, barley, wheat and rye) harvested during the year.
Each family used whatever they had harvested so there was no fixed recipe. Large Straun were made for the community while smaller individual loaves for the family. Special ones were made in memory of dear ones who had passed away and these were given away to the poor.
The modern day Struan keeps the spirit of using different grains but is a much lighter and moist bread that’s usually bakes as a sandwich loaf. Peter Reinhart’s recipe uses flour, rolled oats, cornmeal, and cooked brown rice with honey, brown sugar and buttermilk. The cinnamon and raisins in this recipe make this Struan more of a raisin bread.
I did change Peter Reinhart’s recipe a little. I first cut it down by a third to make just one loaf. The recipe calls for strong bread flour which I don’t get. So according to advice I found on a bread baking site, I made my own by adding 2 tbsp of vital wheat gluten to the 2 ½ cups of flour I used. I didn’t have any wheat bran so I left that out.
The original recipe called for 1 tbsp active dry yeast which I found a bit on the higher side. The bread was good but a bit yeasty so I would use 3/4 tbsp the next time I make this bread. Any less might be too little given that this is multigrain bread that needs help to proof. It would have been too much of effort to specially cook rice to make this bread so I substituted the cooked rice with beaten red rice flakes (aval/ poha).
I left out the cinnamon sugar in the bread as I didn’t want a very sweet bread and kneaded the raisins into the dough. Once the bread was done, I brushed it with butter and sprinkled cinnamon sugar over that for a nice crust. So my Struan stayed true to the original recipe with cinnamon and raisins without being too sweet. This bread is quite good toasted and slathered with butter. It also makes excellent French toast. You can use the leftovers, if any, to make bread pudding.
Please see Elle’s post for the original recipe.
The Bread Baking Babes are –
Though the Bread Baking Babes (BBB) are a closed group, you’re most welcome to bake with us as a Bread Baking Buddy. Here’s how it works.
The Kitchen of the Month this month isElle’’s and the recipe for this month’s bread is on her blog. Bake the Cinnamon Raisin Straun according to that recipe and post it on your blog before the 28th of this month. Make sure you mention the Bread Baking Babes and link to her BBB post in your own post.
Then e-mail Elle with your name and the link to the post, or leave a comment on her blog post with this information. She will do a Buddy round-up for this month on her blog and send you a BBB badge for this bread to add to your post on your blog.