Cinnamon Swirl Bread is the perfect addition to your breakfast in the morning. Toast it up, slather with some butter and sit by the window with a cup of coffee in hand to enjoy a few moments of delicious solace before your day begins.
At the beginning of every New Year there is one thing that always tops my list of resolutions, I will set aside the time to make my own bread. I start off ambitious in January making a loaf here and there and then life takes over and that sack of bread flour just sits in my pantry looking quite sad and lonely. I stare at all the beautiful bread recipes being created by my blogger friends and in cookbooks that I buy and I say to myself, one day I’ll make that.
That day finally arrived when I was sent a copy of the beautiful Baking By Hand by Andy King and Jackie King of A & J King Artisan Bakers. The premise of the book is quite simple, leave your stand mixer at home, it’s time to get back to baking bread the original way – with your hands. There is no reason to be nervous about this method either, Andy and Jackie do a great way of describing how the dough should feel under your hands and how often it should be kneaded, so that you won’t end up with a tough piece of dough.
Flipping through the book, I was instantly thrilled with the chapter dedicated to sourdough loaves. I had brought back a package of dry starter from our trip San Francisco two years ago and have yet to get it started. Now that I’m armed with a book full of user friendly bread recipes, I’m know I’m more motivated to get moving on that. Do you know how I know I’m more motivated? Because just one week after baking this intensely fragrant, delicious and tender Cinnamon Swirl Bread – I picked up another bag of bread flour to make the ciabatta recipe in the book.
To say Braden is thrilled with all this homemade bread would be an understatement.
Does all this bread talk make you wish you had a copy? Lucky for you, I have an extra one to giveaway, so keep on reading to find out how.
This book isn’t limited to bread recipes though, which is one of the many reasons why I love it. Andy and Jackie dedicated half the book to sandwiches and pastry recipes as well. Of course with so many recipes, it did make picking one a challenge but I just couldn’t resist this one. As I mentioned, this bread is just slightly sweet and spicy from the cinnamon. Toasting it up, makes your house smell like someone made french toast and while I’ve yet to do, I have a feeling this would seriously good french toast!
1/3 cup ground cinnamon and 1/3 cup granulated sugar, mixed together
Combine the flour and sugar in a large mixing bowl.
Warm the milk in a pan on the stove or in the microwave until it is steaming, and the combine with the ice to make a (relatively) room temperature liquid.
Add the eggs and melted butter, and swish the mixture around with your hand to mix it up, making sure to break all of the yolks.
Dump your flour and sugar on top of the liquid ingredients, and mix it by hand for about 30 seconds until it comes together in a shaggy mass. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl regularly; you want all of that flour hydrated and don’t want to see any dry spots. Set aside in a warm place, at least 80?F, for 30 minutes.
Sprinkle the salt and yeast on top of the dough, which will have developed a good deal of strength by now.
Grab a four-finger pinch of the dough and pull.
Incorporate the salt and yeast into the dough while continuously pushing the sides of the dough into the middle while turning the bowl. After a minute of this, the dough should be pulling away from the sides of the bowl and developing a bit of a sheen, and you shouldn’t feel any crunchy salt crystals. Cover the bowl, and put it in a warm place for 1 hour.
Turn your dough onto a lightly floured surface and give it a four-fold by gently patting it out, folding the left side into the middle, the right side overlapping the left, the top into the middle, and finally the bottom overlapping the top. The fold will happen just once.
After the fold, wait another hour and if your kitchen’s at a nice warm temperature, you’re now ready to divide.
Turn the dough out onto your floured work surface.
Using a bench knife and scale, divide into two 1 lb 12 oz pieces.
Gently pre-shape the dough into loose 8- to 10-inch cylinders, and cover with cloth or plastic so they can relax for the final shaping. This will take about 1 hour. When the pieces are relaxed enough where you can pat them out and when won’t go springing back, they’re ready to shape.
Orient the piece of dough so that the skinnier ends are up and down on your work surface, and pat out with your hands until they’re about 1/4 inch thick. Spray the surface of the dough down with water, and, leaving a 1/2-inch rim around the perimeter, sprinkle a layer of cinnamon sugar on the dough so that you can’t see the dough underneath. This should be about 1/3 cup per loaf.
Starting at the end of the dough closest to you, roll the dough up - but don’t just fold it over itself. Stretch some tension into the surface of the dough, and when you get to the end, pinch the seam shut so that you have a nice, tight cylinder with a smooth surface.
Place the shaped loaves in oiled 5 x9-inch loaf pans, and cover with a cloth.
While your dough is proofing, place your baking stone on the lowest rack in your oven, and a cast-iron pan on the highest rack.
Preheat the oven to 400?F.
Check in on your bread occasionally; if the surface feels dried out, spray it with a bit of water to allow for maximum expansion.
If it feels cold, make it warmer. This may take up to 2 hours depending on the conditions of your kitchen. The loaf is ready to go in when the dome of the loaf has risen about 2 inches above the lip of the pan.
Spray the surface of the loaves one last time with a few spritzes of water, and slide them on to your baking stone. Now grab three ice cubes from the freezer. Being careful not to keep the oven door open too long and let the heat out, open the oven, slide your loaf onto the stone, throw the three ice cubes into the cast-iron pan, and close the door. After 5 minutes, quickly open the door and spray the interior of the oven with water. Continue baking until the loaf is an even golden brown, about 25 minutes. Remove the loaves from the pans immediately and place on a cooling rack for at least 30 minutes before cutting. If the sides and bottom seem too light after removing the pans, feel free to place them back in the oven for five minutes to firm up the crust.
Recipe Type: Bread
Recipe from Baking By Hand by Andy King and Jackie King (Page Street Publishing; August 2013) Printed with permission
Would you like a chance to win a copy of Baking by Hand? Here’s How to Enter:
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1 (one) lucky will win a copy of Baking by Hand by Andy and Jackie King, who will be randomly chosen through Rafflecopter. This giveaway is open from Friday, November 10th through Friday, November 15th 12:00am to US residents only. 1 winner will be contacted by me via email and will have 48 hours to respond, at which time a new winner will be drawn. Good luck!