Bread making has always intimidated me. I’ve sheepishly tip-toed around the subject, baking everything BUT bread ever since I was tall enough to reach Mom’s measuring cups in the cabinet above the stove. I’ve drooled and gazed longingly at recipe pictures of fresh baked baguettes and dinner rolls, and I’ve purchased all kinds of books with titles along the lines of “Bread Making: TRY IT ALREADY!”, yet I had never actually made real bread – until last night. I was browsing AllRecipes.com when I came across a recipe for a cinnamon swirl bread. I skimmed the ingredients list and I had everything I needed, so I put on the apron, rolled up the sleeves and decided to finally take the bread leap.
I’ve had an adorable pale yellow KitchenAid stand mixer for a few years now. It’s my prized possession. It has whipped up buttercreams, meringues, macarons and lots of other yummy things that I’ve had the pleasure of serving, gifting and of course, eating. The mixer made this bread recipe an absolute breeze.
It took about 3 hours to make. There was mixing, waiting, pounding, rolling, more waiting, baking and eating. If you’ve never made bread before and you’re bummed by how long the recipes take, let me tell you right now, it’s WORTH IT. I never thought I could produce a bread that tasted this good in my own house. I can’t wait to try the hardcore stuff that takes a few days to make, like a real New York-style pizza crust or a true blue French baguette – but for now, I’ll enjoy the cinnamon swirl.
Are you a bread maker? What’s your favorite kind of bread to make? Do you have any advice for newbies like me?
Hungarian Cinnamon Swirl Bread
Makes 2 loaves, 16 servings (about 198 calories per serving)
4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp salt
1 (.25 oz.) packet of active dry yeast
1/4 cup melted butter
1 1/4 cup warm milk (100-110 degrees)
1 tsp vanilla extract
melted butter for brushing
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 cup brown sugar
Put your flour, white sugar, salt and yeast into the bowl of a stand mixer.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, melted butter, warm milk and vanilla extract.
Pour your egg mixture into the flour mixture and run your mixer on a low setting until a dough forms, then increase the speed to medium and knead until smooth for 4-5 minutes.
Place your dough into a greased bowl and cover. Allow the dough to rise in a warm place until it’s doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours. I set my oven to 250 and placed the bowl on the stovetop, which really helped with rising. While you’re waiting, mix together the cinnamon and brown sugar in a small bowl and set aside.
Punch down your dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into 2 equal pieces and roll each piece into a 1/3 inch thick rectangle with a floured rolling pin. The short side of your rectangle should be about the length of a 5×9″ loaf pan. Brush each rectangle with melted butter and then sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture evenly over both.
Roll each rectangle firmly into a log. The logs should be the length of a loaf pan, so roll from the shorter side of your rectangles. Make sure the seam of each log is on the bottom, then pinch the 2 ends and tuck them underneath. Place each into a greased 9×5″ loaf pan. Cover, and let them rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 45 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 at this point so it’s ready when the dough is done rising.
Brush the tops of the loaves with melted butter and bake until they’re golden brown, about 30 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let them cool in the pans for about 15 minutes before turning them out onto a rack to finish cooling. You can slice and serve while they’re still warm.