Saturday, October 4, 2008

Homemade Cinnamon Bread...yummmm

After what I would call a humongous hiatus from my kitchen due to some of the worst months of my lifetime, I seem to be trying to make up for lost time at record speed. I was in the kitchen most of the last few days, making everything from bread to pie to homemade tomato sauce. And what they say is true, it is so incredibly therapeutic. Not good for the waistline, but therapeutic nonetheless.

Yesterday was a chilly day here in Cincinnati, and with the fall chill always comes my desire for homemade bread. My Peter Reinhart book The Bread Baker's Apprentice gets its greatest workouts in the fall and winter months, when I'm dying for the smell of yeasty bread wafting through my house, and especially for that of cinnamon. Better than the best air freshener, that's for sure. So yesterday I cracked the sucker open once again and decided to try Reinhart's recipe for cinnamon bread. Well, technically his recipe is for Cinnamon Raisin Walnut bread, but I have picky toddlers in my midst, those who thumb their noses at any foreign objects in their otherwise uniformly smooth bread dough. So I forwent the fun stuff and kept it to the basic cinnamon.

This recipe was easy. I mean Eeeeeassssy. Throw ingredients in your Kitchenaid mixer, blend, rise, done. Of course, I have a Kitchen aid mixer, so that helps enormously with the toughest part: kneading. But really, the recipe is neither difficult nor time consuming and the results are, family of four has already eaten 1 1/2 loaves of this stuff, and it has been less than 12 hours since it was baked. There you go, we are gluttons...but only for the good stuff.

Cinnamon Bread (A Variation of Peter Reinhart's Cinnamon Raisin Walnut Bread):

3 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour
4 tsp. granulated sugar
1 1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. instant yeast
1 large egg, slightly beaten
2 Tb. shortening or butter, melted
1/2 cup buttermilk or whole milk, at room temp.
3/4 cup water, at room temp.

for cinnamon swirl:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 Tb. ground cinnamon

For cinnamon topping:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 Tb. ground cinnamon

Stir together the flour, sugar, salt and yeast in the bowl of an electric mixer (or by hand if you don't have an electric mixer). Add the egg, shortening (butter), buttermilk and water. Stir together or mix on low speed with the paddle attachment until the ingredients form a ball. Adjust with flour or water as necessary.

Sprinkle flour on the counter and transfer the dough to the counter, begin to knead. Or, with an electric mixer, use the dough hook. Knead by hand for about 10 minutes, by maching for about 6 - 8 minutes. (If you want to add raisins and nuts add them during the final 2 minutes of the mixing, you may need to add them by hand to evenly distribute them.)

Lightly oil a bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it to coat it with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and ferment at room temperature for about 2 hours or until doubled in volume.

Divide dough into 2 equal pieces. Mix your cinnamon and sugar together and set aside. Roll the dough pieces out into two 5 x 8 inch rectangles. Sprinkle 1/2 the cinnamon and sugar mixture on each rectangle. Tightly roll up the dough, from the short side up, pinching tightly after each roll. Place loaves in lightly oiled loaf pans and mist the tops with spray oil. Cover loosely with plastic wrap.

Proof for 60 - 90 minutes, or until the dough comes up above the lip of the pan and is about doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 350. Place loaf pans on a baking sheet, but be sure they are not touching.

Bake for 20 minutes, then turn the pan 180 degrees and continue to bake for about 20 - 30 more minutes. The finished bread will be golden brown on top and on the sides and will make a hollow sound when thumped on the bottom.

Immediately remove the bread from the pans, brush melted butter on top, and roll them in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. This gives them a wonderfully sweet crunch.
Let cool for about an hour before serving.


Megan said...

So I'm trying out your recipe... the dough seemed a bit sticky with 3 1/2 cups of flour... Was that the correct amout?

Lesley said...

Yes, that's it. I wonder why it was sticky? I usually add a bit of flour if the dough is too sticky...sometimes it's a trick to know where to stop w/ the flour and the water...

Megan said...

In the end, I think I added about 1 1/2c more flour- but I also had to use dry yeast, so the difference might have been because of that. In the end, the bread turned out delicious! Thank you for sharing the recipe.

Lesley said...

Glad it worked out! Try the brioche sticky buns, they are to die for