Monday, October 4, 2010

Homemade Cinnamon Bread

Nothing beats homemade bread! Although it can seem like a time-consuming process, all that waiting for dough to rise is worth it in the end. This was actually the first time I've made bread completely from scratch and I am so pleased with how it turned out. I was always sort of intimidated by bread making, but I'm really glad that I finally tried it. I definitely see a lot more homemade bread in my future! This recipe is so simple to put together - it's perfect for anyone wanting to try making bread for the first time, or for those who are just looking for another recipe to add to their collection.  I'm hoping to try more bread recipes very soon! 

1 cup milk
6 tbsp. butter (3/4 of one stick of butter), plus extra for greasing the pan
2 and 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
2 whole eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup white sugar
3 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
Canola oil

For the cinnamon swirl:
1/3 cup white sugar
2 Tbsp. cinnamon

For the egg wash:
1 egg 
Splash of milk

Melt the butter with the milk. Heat until very warm, but don’t boil. Allow to cool until still warm to the touch, but not hot. This is very important because if the mixture is too hot then it will kill your yeast! Sprinkle the yeast over the top, stir gently, and allow to sit for 10 minutes.

In a bowl, combine the flour and salt. In a separate large bowl, mix the sugar and eggs together until combined. Pour in the milk/butter/yeast mixture and stir to combine. Add half the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until combined. Add the other half of the flour and continue to stir.

Knead the dough on with your hands for ten minutes. If dough is overly sticky, add 1/4 cup flour and continue kneading until the dough is smooth and uniform.

Heat a metal or glass mixing bowl so it’s warm, but not hot. Drizzle in a little canola oil, then toss the dough in the oil to coat. Cover the bowl in plastic wrap and then cover with a tea towel. Place it in a warm place for at least 2 hours so the dough can rise. It is important that the dough is in a warm environment with no drafts so that the yeast gives a good rise.

After two hours, turn the dough out onto the counter. 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 Tbsp. melted butter. Mix the sugar and cinnamon together, then sprinkle evenly over the butter-smeared dough. Starting at the far end, roll the dough toward you, keeping it tight and contained. Pinch the seam to seal.

Rolling out the dough.. use your loaf pan as your guide for width.

Sprinkled on the cinnamon and sugar, and starting to roll it up

All rolled up!

In the loaf pan and ready for the second rise.

Smear the loaf pan with softened butter. Place dough, seam down, in the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for another 2 hours. Do not try to cut down the rising time! All your patience will be worth it in the end, I promise.

Once two hours is up, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Remove the plastic wrap from the loaf pan. Mix a little egg with milk, and brush over the top of the loaf. This will give the top of the loaf a nice brown, shiny finish. Bake for 40 minutes on a middle/lower rack in the oven.

Remove from the pan and allow bread to cool on a wire rack. Slice and serve. This bread makes excellent toast! Yummy!

Fresh out of the oven!

*Recipe from The Pioneer Woman

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