3 cups all purpose or bread flour
1 tsp yeast
2 level tsp salt
2 1/2 Tbsp cinnamon (sounds like a lot but it's really good!)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup plumped raisins
1 cup toasted, chopped walnuts
1 2/3 cups cool water
1. In a mixing bowl, add flour, dry yeast, cinnamon, brown sugar, and salt. Stir with a whisk to combine. Add raisins, walnuts, and water. Stir together with the handle of a wooden spoon until you have a rough, shaggy dough. Don't worry that the dough looks messy. Just cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave on the counter overnight. This dough can proof from 12 to 24 hours before baking! Bake whenever you're ready. I love how easy it is!
2. When ready to bake, turn dough out onto prep surface--I use my counter dusted with flour. With floured hands, fold the dough in half several times. (A bench scraper helps with this as the dough will be sticky, but isn't absolutely necessary. This quick step is a sort of stand-in for kneading.) Then turn the dough over and form into a ball, tucking the dough under itself and continuing to dust the loaf with flour as you go to prevent sticking. Place the dough into an oiled mixing bowl, cover with a tea towel, and place in a warm place to rest.
3. Rub the inside of your cast iron skillet (or other heavy baking dish--make sure it can withstand 450° F) with a little vegetable oil (I use olive oil), and place in the center of your oven. Now preheat your oven to 450° F. and allow the dough to rest while the oven and pan heat up.
4. After 35 minutes, wearing oven mitts on both hands, take the cast iron skillet out of the oven and place on a heat resistant surface (I just put it on a burner on my cooktop). Still wearing mitts, uncover dough and invert over the skillet. The dough will plop down into the hot skillet. You can shake the pan by the handle to center the bread. Then, being careful not to burn yourself, take off a mitt and dust the top of the loaf with flour. Put the mitt back on, and return the hot pan to the oven. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and turn loaf out onto a cooling rack.
5. Allow to cool at least thirty minutes before slicing the bread. (I use a sharp, serrated bread knife or my electric carving knife.) This bread is wonderful plain, but we love it sliced and slathered with sweet butter. Serve with a cup of tea! If a loaf ever lasts long enough, I'll try making French toast with it!