Cinnamon Swirl Bread
The best thing since…
I usually prefer a savory and heavy breakfast — something meaty (bacon), something eggy (eggs duh), and something doused in maple syrup. We got an enormous amount of bacon from the meat coop at Wesleyan so I’m stocked up for breakfast meats. Usually I make banana or pumpkin quick bread for the week to have something go with my coffee every morning.
This time, I decided to make cinnamon swirl bread. I’m sure many of us have gone through the Pepperidge Farm stuff, cheap, tasty and delicious with or without butter. This bread was the stuff of my childhood. My mum thought that cinnamon bread would be a cheaper and a tad healthier alternative to sugary cereals, and maybe she was right (who knows really?).
This bread is incredibly simple and fast for the neophyte and the impatient. There are two rise times, neither of which take overnight to do. This bread also contains no eggs, for the egg-allergic, and the ingredient list is short — I’m sure you already have everything to make this! If you decide to take a weekend afternoon to make this bread, you’ll have cinnamon-y goodness to look forward to for the rest of the week.
This bread keeps for a few days on the counter and is best eaten when toasted first. If it makes it past those few days, try it out for French toast or bread pudding!
Cinnamon Swirl Bread
Adapted from RecipeGirl
Makes 1 loaf
1 ¼ ounce envelope (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
3/4 cup warm water (slightly hot to touch)
1 tablespoon butter, melted, or vegetable oil
1/2 cup whole milk, warmed
2 tablespoons granulated white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups all-purpose flour*, and more for kneading as needed
1 cup whole wheat flour*
1/4 cup granulated white sugar + 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
Combine yeast, 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar, and the ¾ cup of warm water in cup. Let sit for a few minutes until the yeast is foamy and happy. In a large bowl, whisk together 2 ½ cups of flours, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, salt, the remaining granulated sugar.
To the flour mixture, add in the yeasty water, the warmed milk, and the melted butter/oil. Mix together with a large spoon and add just enough of the remaining ½ cup flour (and more as needed) to make the dough start to come together. Turn out the dough onto a floured board and knead for a few minutes until the dough is smooth and soft.
Place dough into a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap or tea towel. Let the dough rise for about 60-90 minutes, or until doubled in size. RecipeGirl does this too, but I like to use my oven as a place to let dough rise — tell your housemates about it first though, or they might turn the oven on and accidentally cook your poor dough (it’s never happened to me but I’m paranoid!)
Once this rise is up, turn the dough out onto a floured surface again and punch out the dough gently. Roll out your dough into a basic rectangular shape — the bigger your rectangle, the more swirls you’ll get. Spread the cinnamon sugar filling over the rectangle. Roll up the dough and place into a loaf pan. If you made your rectangle too big like I did, you can sort of curl the bread into a U or S to make it fit. Cover the pan with a towel and let rise once more, for about 30-45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Brush the top of the bread with half and half or milk — this will give it a soft, sweet crust. Bake bread for 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown. It will sound hollow when tapped.
Let the bread sit in the loaf pan for a minute or two, but do take it out while it’s still warm. It won’t harm the bread if you don’t, but the sugar filling may creep out of the dough and stick to the pan, taking pieces of your bread hostage.