Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Disclaimer:  Homemade Cinnamon Swirl Bread is a highly addictive and habit forming substance, whose aroma and consumption may cause intense feelings of comfort, warmth, and coziness.  HCSB may result in a strong urge to purchase flour, sugar, and butter in bulk.  Users who over-indulge in HCSB may experience profoundly disastrous kitchens, dishpan hands, and a wardrobe made entirely of lycra and spandex.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

I’m on my third batch in six days.  I can’t seem to keep enough butter in the house, and I’m scouting six-slot toasters online. 

And worst of all, I’m considering changing my address to Pepperidge Farm.

Do you think I have a problem?

Makes 1 large, or 2 smaller loaves
Source:  adapted from this recipe

1 cup milk
4 T. butter, cut into ½” pieces
2 ½ t.  Dry Active Yeast

1 ½ t. salt
4 (+) c. flour, plus extra for dusting your work surface

1/3 c. sugar
2 large eggs

¼ c. sugar
5 t. ground cinnamon
Small dish of milk for brushing

1 large egg
2 t. milk

Begin with the dough: slowly heat milk and butter together in a small saucepan until butter melts. Cool to lukewarm (about 120 degrees on a candy thermometer). Sprinkle the yeast over the milk and butter and stir slowly to blend.   Allow to stand for 10 – 15 minutes.

Combine the salt and the flour in a medium bowl and set aside.

Place the sugar and the eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer, and beat them until combined.  Add the milk and butter mixture and beat until combined.  Slowly add 2 cups of the flour and mix until combined, then add remaining 2 cups flour until mixed thoroughly. Add more flour if dough seems extremely sticky (I haven’t needed more than 4 cups).  Beat dough on medium speed for 10 minutes.  Remove dough from mixing bowl, and transfer to a greased bowl.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and a clean dish towel, and set aside to rise (see note) for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, until doubled in size.

Once risen, punch dough down once in the center, and let rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, mix cinnamon and sugar together in a small bowl for filling and set aside (if you’re making two loaves, double this mixture).  Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan (or 2 8×5” pans) and set aside.

If you’ve decided to make two loaves, divide the dough in half and form into two neat balls.  Roll one dough ball into an 8×18” (or so) rectangle, with an 8”side facing toward you. Brush milk over dough, and sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture over it, leaving a ½” edge on the side farthest away. Beginning with the side closest to you, roll dough into a tight (**see note) log shape, pushing ends together as you go to make sure that it does not become more than 8 inches (the length of your pan). Pinch dough ends together to form a tight seam, and push ends of dough toward the center. Place the dough seam-side down into the loaf pan, and press down evenly. Cover pans with plastic wrap and let the dough rise again until it is about 1 inch above the edge of the pans (for me this was another two hours).

Preheat oven to 350.  Combine milk with egg in a small dish. Brush this mixture over the top of the loaves. Bake for 35 minutes until golden brown, and let cool for 45 minutes before serving.

**NOTE**:  First of all, you can tell from the picture that I didn’t roll my dough tightly enough.  Naughty, naughty.  You’ll do better than that, I’m sure.

Secondly, you will have greater success if you leave your dough to rise in a warm spot.  I like to put two cups of water in a glass measuring cup and bring it to a boil in my microwave (about 3 minutes).  I quickly remove the water and place my dough bowl in the now warm microwave, where I leave it to rise.  I repeat this water step before the second rise as well.  Works like a charm!

Featured, Fresh, Frugal, Fabulous | January 21st, 2011