I love bread. A lot. It’s my greatest weakness, besides chocolate. One of my favorite breads is yummy cinnamon swirl bread. It’s delicious for breakfast, as a snack, or for dessert. I used to be intimidated by bread, because of the whole rising thing, but it’s actually very easy to make. I also thought it took a long time and wasn’t worth the effort, but I was wrong again. Although it does need quite a bit of rising time, the actual process is much less time consuming than I ever thought before! For those of you who have been a little nervous or reluctant to venture into the world of bread making, you should give this recipe a shot! It’s easy, with simple ingredients, but yields a very exciting result!
Whisk until well mixed; set aside. Pour the flour, cinnamon, yeast, and salt in the bowl of a standing mixer, fitted with the dough hook (you can also make this by hand in a large mixing bowl, just follow all of the same steps, using your hands 0r a rubber spatula). With the mixer on low speed, add the egg/sugar mixture, followed by the milk mixture. Mix on medium low speed until the ingredients come together. Once mixed, increase the speed to medium high to knead the dough.
Before finishing up with the dough, line a 9 by 5 inch loaf pan with parchment paper. Cut one piece that will line the bottom and sides of the pan lengthwise, then cut a piece to line it sideways, as well.
This is a great shot to show how the parchment lining looks. Now you’ll cover the pan with a clean towel and allow the bread to rise until it doubles, about an hour to an hour and a half (it should rise about and inch to an inch and a half above the top of the loaf pan when ready). Once the bread has risen, bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the interior temperature reaches 190 degrees (it may take slightly longer).
Until you slice it up, that is! This is excellent just buttered or toasted, but my absolute favorite way to have this bread is as French Toast! Sliced thick, battered, and fried…mmmmm! Probably something to avoid if you’re dieting…or not! Enjoy!
Cinnamon Swirl Bread
Makes one 9 inch loaf
FOR THE BREAD DOUGH
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
1/2 cup hot water
1/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 envelope) active dry or instant yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 1/2 – 4 cups all purpose flour
FOR THE FILLING
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 to 2 tablespoons milk
To make the bread dough: In a small bowl, combine the milk with the butter pieces and pour the hot water on top. Stir until the butter is completely melted, microwaving for a a few seconds, if necessary.
In another small bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until combined.
In the bowl of a standing mixer with the dough hook attached, combine 3 1/2 cups of the flour with the cinnamon, salt, and yeast. Turn the mixer on low and add the milk mixture and the egg mixture. Increase the speed to medium low and continue mixing until a dough forms. Once the dough comes together, scrape the bowl, increase the speed to medium high, and knead for 10 minutes, or until the dough just sticks to the bottom center of the bowl and the dough is smooth and elastic. If after 5 minutes the dough is still very sticky, add more flour, a little at a time, until the dough is less sticky. Spray a medium bowl with non stick spray and transfer the dough to the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise until doubled (2 to 2 1/2 hours).
Once the dough has doubled in size, punch down the center of the dough and allow it to rest for 10 minutes (at this point, you can refrigerate the dough, covered, overnight).
To make the filling: Mix together the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl. Turn the rested bread dough out onto a countertop and flatten into a 12″ by 18″ rectangle. Brush the dough with enough milk to moisten it, leaving a 1 inch border around the outside edge (you don’t need to use all of the milk…it should not pool on the bread). Sprinkle all of the cinnamon-sugar mixture on the dough. Tightly roll the dough into a loaf shape and place, seam side down, in a 9″ x 4″ loaf pan. Cover with a clean dry towel and allow to double in size, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Once the dough has risen, bake for 30-40 minutes or until the bread reaches 190 degrees inside. Allow to cool completely on a wire cooling rack before serving.