Monday, September 6, 2010

Cinnamon Swirl Bread.

Is it true that cinnamon is one of the most attractive, entrapping scents to men?

Because my boyfriend will be here in the next hour and I have a loaf of cinnamon swirl bread in the oven.

Making bread is a truly magical experience.

Besides the smell of cinnamon and warm, freshly baked bread that I can promise you will permeate your entire home, there's just something exciting and yes, magical, about kneading dough until your arms cry, leaving it in a sunny patch of kitchen, and seeing it double in size in the time it takes you to carry laundry down the hall. 

And, of course, cutting into it and seeing the swirly design.

Cinnamon Swirl Bread
1 cup milk
6 tablespoons butter
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 whole eggs
1/3 cup sugar
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons sugar
Egg and milk, mixed together, for brushing
Softened butter, for smearing and greasing

Melt butter with milk. Heat until very warm, but don't boil. Allow to cool until still warm to the touch, but not hot. Sprinkle yeast over the top, stir gently, and allow to sit for 10 minutes.

Combine flour and salt.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix sugar and eggs with the paddle attachment until combined. Pour in milk/butter/yeast mixture and stir to combine. Add half the flour and beat on medium speed until combined. Add the other half and beat until combined.

Switch to the dough hook attachment and beat/knead dough on medium speed for 10 minutes. If dough is overly sticky, add 1/4 cup flour and beat again for 5 minutes. (Or, if you've lost your dough hook as we have, knead on a lightly floured counter for 10 minutes.)

Heat a metal or glass mixing bowl so it's warm (I filled a metal mixing bowl with hot water and let it warm up while I was kneading the dough). Drizzle in a little canola oil, then toss the dough in the oil to coat. Cover bowl in plastic wrap and set it in a warm, hospitable place for at least 2 hours.

Turn dough out onto the work surface. Roll into a neat rectangle no wider than the loaf pan you're going to use, and about 18 to 24 inches long. Smear with 2 tablespoons melted butter. Mix sugar and cinnamon  together, then sprinkle evenly over the butter-smeared dough. Starting at the far end, roll dough toward you, keeping it tight and contained. Pinch seam to seal.

Smear loaf pan with softened butter. Place dough, seam down, in the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Mix a little egg with milk, and smear over the top. Bake for 40 minutes on a middle/lower rack in the oven.

Remove from the pan and allow bread to cool. Slice and serve.

Source: Pioneer Woman.