Sunday, April 4, 2010

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

I always like to make a little something special for breakfast on holidays. I think I have mentioned it before but it is that whole tradition associated with holiday thing with me.

The boys and I had a great time making this bread. The nice thing about making bread with the kids is that since the bread needs a couple rises, there are breaks that they can play and it doesn't seem like drudgery. My boys both love to measure and pour the ingredients. They love to turn on the mixer and give the dough some kneading. H especially loves to smell the ingedients and what we are making along the way. They both enjoyed rolling out the dough and patting the filling on. Really, I think they like making bread because it is so hands on.

This dough is really great to work with. It comes together really nicely. It also seemed easy to roll out. The hardest part for me was making sure it was the right measurements (8x16) before adding the filling and rolling up into a loaf shape.

This recipe had some tips that were different than any that I have seen for a swirl type of bread. They really helped though. The first was to use an egg wash vs. butter to help keep the bread from unravelling when slicing. Butter acts as a barrier between the pieces of rolled-up dough, preventing them from cohering, and giving you bread that "unravels" when you cut it. On the other hand, the protein in egg acts like glue, cementing the bread and filling together, and allowing much less (though still a bit) unraveling. The second is to blend the sugar, cinnamon and raisins until smooth. This well help the filling be more cohesive and moist as well as add a subtle flavor. I used a small food processor. Again, a small appliance that boys love to operate.

The filling makes this bread moist and the flavor is! Yum! This bread is also different, and better, than store-bought because of the topping. 

The house smelled out of this world while it was baking! 

Cinnamon Swirl Bread
King Arthur Flour
3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/4 cup potato flour
1/4 cup Baker's Special Dry Milk
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup water

egg wash, made from 1 egg  with 1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 cup raisins or currants
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the dough ingredients, mixing till the dough begins to come away from the sides of the bowl. Knead the dough with an electric mixer for 2 minutes; allow it to rest for 15 minutes, then continue kneading it for an additional 5 to 7 minutes, or until it's smooth. If you're kneading by hand, transfer the dough to a lightly oiled work surface; knead it for 3 minutes; allow it to rest for 15 minutes, then continue kneading till smooth, an additional 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and set it aside to rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours; it'll be puffy, if not doubled in bulk.

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled work surface, and shape it into a long, thin rectangle, about 16 x 8 inches. Brush the dough with some of the beaten egg, combine the filling ingredients, and pat them gently onto the dough. Beginning with a short edge, roll the dough into a log. Pinch the side seam and ends closed (to keep the filling from bubbling out), and place the log in a lightly greased 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan. Cover the pan with lightly greased plastic wrap or a dough-rising cover, and allow the bread to rise for about 1 hour at room temperature, or until it's crowned about 1 inch over the rim of the pan.

In a small bowl or mini processor, combine the streusel ingredients, cutting in the butter until the mixture is crumbly. If you're using a mini processor, watch carefully; streusel will go from crumbly to a cohesive mass in just a second or so. Brush the loaf with some (or all) of the remaining beaten egg, and gently press on the streusel.

Bake the bread in a preheated 350°F oven for about 45 minutes, tenting the loaf lightly with aluminum foil for the final 15 minutes or so if it appears to be browning too quickly. Remove the loaf from the oven, and after about 5 minutes, gently remove it from the pan. Some of the streusel will fall off, but you cal alleviate this by first loosening all around the edges of the loaf with a knife, then turning the pan on its side and gently pulling it away from the loaf. Streusel will continue to fall off as you maneuver the bread  but you'll still be left with some nice, sweet topping.