Cinnamon Swirl Bread (+ Cinnamon Rolls)
This recipe is just downright delicious. Yes, it's white flour (I have not tried it with any other flour), and yes it includes sugar, but sometimes you just need to throw caution to the wind and splurge and enjoy.
And we did just that this week.
I had forgotten all about this recipe. In fact, I think I haven't made it in 3 or 4 years. And then Saturday night, for some reason, I thought - "that cinnamon swirl bread would taste really good right now". I made it the very next day (and we each had a slice as soon as it cooled) along with a batch of cinnamon rolls. It was just as yummy as I'd remembered.
I make quite a bit of our food from scratch but I'm finding that I'm currently making even more, in these difficult days of COVID 19. We have stocked our cupboards, fridge and freezer as much as possible but the reality is, the grocery stores are struggling to keep up with demand. Because of this, as we all try to limit our exposure to others we're figuring out how to make do with what we have. Tortilla shells, pasta, English muffins, etc. that I would normally have defaulted to purchasing if I was short on time I am now defaulting to making from scratch. Thankfully our pantry was well stocked with ingredients.
I've added this recipe to the lineup to make over the next couple of months.
While the recipe makes 3 loaves of bread, one of the things I do sometimes is make 2 loaves plus one batch of cinnamon rolls. It's a wonderful treat. You can serve them as is or add a decadent (and easy) cream cheese glaze. The directions and glaze recipe are all listed below.
When I made this on Sunday I used non-dairy butter and milk and it worked just fine. So, use whichever you have on hand. Honestly, you can make just about any bread recipe into cinnamon swirl bread by adding the filling and rolling it up, however, this bread recipe not only holds the filling well, but is light and perfect. It slices and toasts well too.
Cinnamon Swirl Bread
2 packages instant yeast (4 1/2 teaspoons)
2 cups warm water, 100-110 degrees fahrenheit
4 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
2 cups milk (dairy or non-dairy)
5 tablespoons butter (dairy or non-dairy), softened
4 teaspoons salt
8-10 cups bread flour
3 tablespoons butter (dairy or non-dairy), softened and divided
1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cups light brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
Cream Cheese Glaze (for cinnamon rolls if you are making):
3 tablespoons cream cheese, softened (dairy or non-dairy)
1 1/2 cups powdered/confectioners sugar
3 tablespoons milk (dairy or non-dairy)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a large mixing bowl, sprinkle the yeast and 1 tablespoon of the granulated sugar over the warm water. Let sit for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium-low heat warm the milk, 5 tablespoons of butter, and remaining 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, stirring frequently, until butter is melted and milk mixture comes to between 100-110 degrees Fahrenheit. If the milk mixture gets warmer than this, allow to cool before proceeding.
Add milk mixture to the yeast mixture along with 5 cups of the bread flour. Mix with a stand mixer or by hand. Add 2 cups more bread flour and continue to mix. Add remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough is no longer sticky and pulls away from the sides of the bowl as it mixes. Knead a total of 5-8 minutes, until smooth and satiny.
Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, covered with a clean towel or plastic wrap, and set in a warm place for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
Meanwhile, mix together the granulated sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon of the filling ingredients, and set aside.
Once the dough has doubled in size, punch down and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled again, 30-45 minutes. Grease 3 standard bread pans (or 2 bread pans and a 9-inch cake pan for cinnamon rolls). Set aside.
Once the dough is doubled, remove the dough from the bowl and divide into 3 pieces. Working with one at a time, roll it out into an 8x10 inch rectangle, spread 1 tablespoon butter over it, and sprinkle with 1/3 cup of the filling mixture. Roll up tight, starting at the short end for the bread or the long end for cinnamon rolls. Pinch the seam and place in the pan seam side down. For cinnamon rolls, cut the length of the dough into about 2 inch pieces and place, filling side down into the prepared pan.
Cover loosely with a clean towel or plastic wrap sprayed with non-stick cooking spray and let rise in a warm place 30-45 minutes, or until doubled again.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake cinnamon rolls for 20-28 minutes and loaves for 45 minutes.
While they are baking, if you are using the cream cheese glaze for the cinnamon rolls, mix together all ingredients in a medium size bowl until smooth. Set aside until rolls are removed, then, with a rubber spatula, spread onto hot rolls. Allow to cool to room temperature.
Remove the bread from the loaf pans about 10 minutes after removing from the oven. Allow to completely cool on a wire rack.