July 29, 2011

cinnamon swirl bread - a cross atlantic love

Before I left for the states on Wednesday afternoon I bought Zach a little 'talley's-going-away' present, a box of cinnamon toast crunch. To Zach and his family it is more well known as cinn-to-crun. Similar in name to their other favorite cereal, app-cinn-cheer, and to their favorite juice, or-straw-ban. It certainly makes for an animated morning around the breakfast table, where simple Chex face tough competition just based on name alone - too boring to bother with.

The cereal selection in Zürich is not nearly as extensive as it is in the states. But that's okay, we've been adjusting to 'haus' life by eating a lot of muesli and yogurt in the mornings. We are both totally on board with the Swiss morning routine, however, a sweet sugary cereal, the kind that turns your milk into something reminiscent of melted ice cream, is always a welcome treat, especially when faced with two weeks away from your wife.

I just talked to Zach on g-video and he was eating cinn-to-crun for dinner, which is a bit sad but only appropriate, because here on the other side of the Atlantic I am eating a slice of the cinnamon-sugar swirl bread that I just made. It just seemed fitting. If we have to juggle this time apart, we might as well indulge in some cinnamon and sugar. It's like people (actors in Hollywood more likely) who look longingly at the moon and think of the person they love looking up at it too, well cinnamon-sugar goodness is our moon. Mmm cinnamon toast...
I'm definitely in a homemade bread state of mind these days. The parmesan pull apart rolls that I made earlier this week were so easy and delicious that I wanted to put my new bread skills towards something a little larger, a little more loaf-like. Once again the process was fairly simple and the result was delicious. I've come to realize that I like the pace of making bread, I use the time when the bread is rising to organize my day. You are active for so little of the process that it's nice to feel productive in-between bread tasks.

Recipe for Cinnamon Swirl bread from alexandracooks.com
ingredients - yields 2 loaves
- 2 cups lukewarm water
- 1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
- 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 6 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon
- 1/3 cup sugar
- egg wash (1 egg + 1 tablespoon water)
- butter for greasing pan

In a large 5qt bowl mix the water, buttermilk, yeast, sugar and salt and let sit until bubbles and foam have formed on top, 3-5 minutes.

Mix in the flour using a standing mixer fixed with the dough attachment, or with a wooden spoon. If you are using a spoon you will likely have to use your hands to mix in the last bit of the flour. (I used a mixer with a paddle attachment and had to incorporate the last of the flour with my hands, wet hands help.) Cover with a kitchen towel and let it rest for about 2 hours, until it rises and collapses on top.

After the first rise you can use the dough immediately or refrigerate it in a non-air tight container for up to 7 days.

When you are ready to make the bread, either immediately after first rise or after taking it out of fridge, grease a 9 x 4 x 3 loaf pan. Divide the dough in two, and shape the half you are using to a ball by pulling dough from the underside up on top, spinning the dough to replicate process on all sides. Lightly dust your work surface with flour and begin to roll our your dough. It might be easiest to use your hands to stretch the dough before using the rolling pin. Roll out to roughly 11"x18".

Once rectangular lightly brush the entire surface with egg wash. Sprinkle half of the sugar/cinnamon mixture onto the dough (remember other half is for other loaf - but if you want more feel free to add more). Roll the dough, beginning with the short side of the rectangle, into what will resemble a jelly roll. Once you have rolled the rectangle, pinch the ends down, lightly fold them under, and place the dough seam side down in the greased pan. Cover with a towel and let sit for 40 minutes (1 hour and 40 if using refrigerated dough).

Preheat the oven to 375F and bake for roughly 40 minutes, or until top is golden brown and bread appears done. Eat right away or make amazing french toast the following morning!...I ate it right away....

*cooks note - yikes! i forgot to list the buttermilk in the yeast starter. I just tried to make this bread (9/23/11) and it wasn't coming together and now I know why - shooot! must proofread the recipes better
I'm already looking forward to French toast tomorrow morning. There is something about homemade bread, where it is delicious right out of the oven, but then slowly looses it's luster as the hours go by. By tomorrow morning I'll either have to toast it and slather it in butter, or dip it in a bath of eggs, milk and cinnamon and put it into the skillet. Either way it will be delicious, just as good as the cinn-to-crun that Zach will be eating for breakfast. Hopefully he'll get a little more innovative for dinner and whip something up on our new grill! It arrived just before I left for the airport on Wednesday. We are so excited to start grilling steaks and burgers on our terrace!

Happy Friday everyone! only a few more hours until happy hour time. I'm off to the city for some guacamole and margaritas - getting my fill while I'm in the states.


  1. That's it...you've inspired me to try baking bread!! YUM!

  2. definitely yummy and worth baking, even if you just eat it in the form of french toast! delish! (sorry for the delayed response - not sure how I missed these comments)

  3. My fav cinnamon bread to make. So easy and full of flavor!