Saturday, July 16, 2011

Cinnamon Bread Success

Hey, nice buns. So it's not buns, it's bread. Cinnamon swirl yeast bread from Dine and Dish to be exact. I just can't help thinking that the two loaves sitting there side by side look like a big saggy pair of butt cheeks. Juvenile and immature, but that's me!

I'd been wanting to bake cinnamon bread for a while now. I scoured the Internet and found several recipes that caught my eye. Ultimately, I chose the recipe I saw on Dine and Dish because it only required one stick of butter and made two loaves. Several other recipes I found needed more than a stick of butter for just one loaf. So I am being frugal and slightly more healthy with this choice of breads. I mean why put all the butter on the inside of the bread when you know you are going to slather each slice with oodles of butter anyhow.

I also liked the fact that this recipe had cinnamon in the dough, not just smeared on top of it to create the swirl within each slice. This bread is truly a cinnamon lover's dream. The bread was so jam packed with cinnamony goodness that the side of the loaves split open and the ooey gooey goodness overflowed onto the oven floor! Huge billowing clouds of dark smoke came flowing out of the oven vent.

Luckily Mrblocko was working from home when I made this so he was able to help before things got too tragic. He had the quick thinking to grab his metal grilling spatula to scrape off the charred brown sugar cinnamon that had crusted itself to the oven floor. His quick thinking helped clear the kitchen of smoke before the smoke alarm went off. Whew!

I placed the loaves on a baking sheet lined with parchment for the remainder of the bread's baking time. I was so afraid that the bread was ruined and all the filling was in the garbage instead of in a nice fancy swirl in my bread.
Well my bread luck just might be turning around. I mean look at that gorgeous swirl. It's perfect. I nearly cried when I sawed off that first slice. It looks just like, no better, than the cinnamn bread you can buy in the store. It tasted way better too. The bread was so good I didn't even want any butter on it. I wanted to savor every bit of the cinnamon without anything masking it's true flavor.

The loaves are best, like most fresh bread, within the first 24 hours. I froze one loaf just as an experiment. I let the bread thaw out in the fridge, not the counter. I was afraid of the bread getting moldy because of the lack of preservatives. The frozen bread, like the fresh bread, was the best the first 24 hours after it was thawed and sliced. The day old bread was still good, just not as mind-blowingly good.

We even made some of it into French toast. I still think my mom's french toast is the best, but Mrblocko and Blockette thought French toast made with cinnamon bread certainly gives my mom's French toast a run for her money.

I was trying to wrack my brain and figure out how the loaf could have split open. I sealed the dough very well and rolled it as tight as I could. Maybe it rose too much. I let the loaf sit for a whole hour for the second rise, instead of 30 minutes like the recipe stated. I don't know much about the science of bread making so that is the only solution I can come up with.

Also, I only baked the bread for 40 minutes. The recipe says to bake for 55 minutes. This extra 15 minutes may not seem like a long time, but I think the time gap is larger than 15 minutes. I left the timer on while Mrblocko was scraping the burnt stuff off the floor of the oven, and the bread was out of the oven at that time as well. I'm not really sure how long the bread actually took to bake. If you are going to make this bread, and I highly recommend that you do, check it after a half hour, and don't forget to bake the loaves on a cookie sheet...just in case.

Cinnamon Swirl Yeast Bread from Dine and Dish
1 envelope (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
2 cups warm milk (about 110 degrees)
7 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 stick butter, room temperature, cut into pieces, plus more for pans
½ cup sugar
2 eggs
2 ½ tsp coarse salt
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp ground cinnamon

In bowl of electric mixer, sprinkle yeast over warm milk and whisk to combine. Add flour, butter, sugar, 2 eggs, and salt. Attach bowl to mixer fitted with dough hook. Mix on low speed til all  ingredients well combined, 3 min. Raise speed to med-low, and continue to mix til dough  completely smooth and pulls away from sides of bowl, 3 min.Turn out dough on a lightly floured surface. Pat out dough into a big round. Sprinkle with cinnamon and knead and fold until just incorporated. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, and cover with oiled plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place til doubled in size, 1 hour.

Return dough to a lightly floured work surface, and pat into a round. Fold bottom 3rd of dough up,  top 3rd down and right and left sizes over, pressing down seal. Return dough into bowl and let rise again til doubled in bulk, 40 min. Make filling. Combine sugar, brown sugar and cinnamon with 2 T water in a small bowl. Generously butter 2 9x5" loaf pans set aside. Return dough to a lightly floured work surface, and divide in half. Roll each half out to a large rectangle, a bit bigger than loaf pans – about 10" . Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle each with half of the filling.

With short end of rectangle facing you, fold in both of long sides of dough in. Then roll dough towards you, gently pressing forming a tight log. Roll back and forth to seal seam. Place loafs in prepared pans. Cover loosely with oiled plastic wrap, and let rest in a warm place, 30 min. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375°F. Transfer pans to oven. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, til loaves golden brown, 55 min. Turn out bread onto a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.

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