‘Tis (approximately) the season
Now that it is November (complete with glorious lake effect snow/rain/snain in Rochester), I’m thinking about the holidays, and, most pertinently, the associated foodstuffs. Today I’m making my mom’s cinnamon swirl bread, which I think started as a special Christmas treat but has expanded to fill the surrounding months which are cold and generally in need to cheer.
It’s a pretty great yeast bread recipe, and has some sugar in it so it’s pretty hard to mess up. Also, each slice has a swirl of cinnamon-sugar through it (hence, you know, the name), so it looks super fancy without being too technically difficult.
Here is the recipe, straight from mom:
Orange Cinnamon Swirl Bread
6 cups bread or all-purpose flour, approximately
2 packages dry yeast
1/3 cup nonfat dry milk
½ cup granulated sugar
1 ½ teaspoons of salt
1 ¼ cups of hot water
½ stick butter, room temperature, or softened in the microwave
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
¾ cup orange juice
1 egg, room temperature
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon mixed with ½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons of water
Measure 2 cups flour into a large mixing or mixer bowl and add the dry ingredients. Pour in the hot water and stir vigorously to blend into a thin batter. Add the butter, orange peel, orange juice, and egg.
Add flour ¼ cup at a time, stirring with strong strokes after each addition until the dough becomes a rough shaggy mass that can be turned out onto a floured work surface.
Knead for 8 minutes. Add a bit more flour if the moisture works through the surface and sticks to the work counter.
Place the dough in a greased bowl, turning the dough to be certain it is filmed on all sides. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and put aside until the dough has doubled in bulk (approximately 1 hour).
Punch down the dough. Turn onto a floured surface, and divide in two. Cover with wax paper and let rest 10 minutes ( I don’t do this! )
Roll each piece into a 15” by 7” rectangle. Each will be about ½” thick. Spread each piece with the cinnamon sugar mixture, and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of water. Smooth with a spatula. Roll from the narrow side. Seal the edges securely by pinching tightly and along the seams. Tuck in the ends and place seam down in the pans.
Cover the pans with wax paper and let stand until the dough has doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375˚ 20 minutes before baking.
Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 325˚, and bake for 30 minutes more, or until the loaves are nicely browned, and test done when tapped on the bottom with a forefinger. The sound will be hard and hollow. (I actually cover the loaves with a large piece of aluminum foil to keep the from burning on top after the first 10 minutes, and remove it during the last ten minutes). Remove from pans and cool.