Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Comfort of Bread--Cinnamon Swirl Bread

James Beard wrote..."Good Bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, is the greatest of feasts."  I concur!

Yesterday marked the sixth anniversary of our daughter, Kelly's passing; a day that is etched into my heart.  Today, feeling rather drained, I decided to go into the kitchen and bake (yesterday I worked in the garden thinking of all the times I worked with Kelly in hers.)  Baking, for me, relieves stress because I am transformed back into my mother's kitchen helping her.  I needed to bake.  Going through some recipes, I came up with a Cinnamon Swirl Bread that sounded wonderful and it brought back the memory of peanut butter sandwiches on that bread that were special treats my mother would make for us.

This bread, a recipe by King Arthur Flour, has an unique streusel topping that I was intrigued to try.  Most of the Cinnamon Breads I've made have had raisins in them, however, I used the smaller currant. You could easily substitute dried cranberries and make it more festive if you don't like either raisins or currants.

Cinnamon Swirl Bread
3 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour
1/4 cup potato flour
1/4 cup Baker's Special Dry Milk
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3 T granulated sugar
2 1/2 tsp. instant yeast
4 T unsalted butter, at room temperature (+additional butter for the bowl and loaf pan)
1 cup lukewarm water

1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup raisins or currants
2 tsp. King Arthur all-purpose flour
1 large egg beaten with 1 T water

Streusel Topping
2 T unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 T sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup King Arthur all-purpose flour

I "proofed" the yeast in 1/2 cup of lukewarm water, adding about 1/4 tsp. granulated sugar.  I like to make sure my yeast is active and becomes foamy.  In a stand mixer, using the dough hook, add the remaining ingredients (except the remaining 1/2 cup of water).  Mix a few minutes to combine the ingredients.  Add the foamy yeast and start the mixer on Setting2.  Slowly add the remaining 1/2 cup of lukewarm water; the dough should come together in a ball.  If you need to add more water, do 1 tablespoon at a time.

Turn the dough out onto a bread board,
Knead 5 to 7 minutes until you have a smooth dough--"like a baby's bottom" my mother would say!
Place the smooth ball into a bowl that has been brushed with melted butter.  Place dough, right side down in the bowl, then turn it over.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.  Make the filling and streusel while the dough is rising.
When the dough has doubled in size, turn it out onto the bread board once more and roll to a 16" x 8" rectangle.
Brush the rolled dough with the beaten egg wash, then sprinkle the filling over the center.

Starting from the short edge, roll the dough into a log.  I could have gotten more "swirling" if I had rolled tighter!  Pinch the seam and ends closed and place into a buttered 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pan.
Brush a piece plastic wrap with some melted butter and place over the dough for the second rising--about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
During the last 15 minutes of rising, preheat your oven to 350F-degrees.  Remove the plastic wrap and brush the top of the loaf with the same beaten egg.  I placed the loaf pan on a parchment-lined baking sheet to catch any spills of streusel!
Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, tenting the loaf lightly with aluminum foil for the last 15 minutes if it appears to be browning too quickly.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes.  Gently remove the loaf from the pan as to not knock off the streusel topping.
Now, here's the hard part--LET IT COOL COMPLETELY BEFORE SLICING INTO THE LOAF!  I know it's going to be hard to resist--your kitchen smells wonderful and the thought of fresh butter on a hot slice is enticing, but don't do it:-D

I will say it made a lovely peanut butter sandwich to go along with my yogurt for dinner.  I had dental surgery this past week and I'm still taking it easy.  Enjoy!


  1. Oh Susan this bread is making my mouth water. I find baking bread to be a stress reliever as well as working in my garden. Do take care of yourself. I hope your mouth is feeling much better, dear one. xoxo ♥

  2. What a beautiful loaf of bread! It makes me hungry just looking at it and I had a delicious salad for supper, too. =D I am glad that you find time in the kitchen helpful and healing. Your daughter would approve. Take good care of your mouth. I am still babying mine and hoping for the day when I can really chew with abandon.

  3. wow..this bread has such a smooth, almost cake-like texture. The cinnamon filling and the streusel topping make it even more tempting!

  4. It seems like baking is a form of healing for those of us who've lost loved ones. It's is so hard to get through those yearly markers, isn't it? However, fixing foods that our loved ones would enjoy, keeps their spirits alive in our hearts. It's easier for me to talk about my late beloved hubby without crying, and it's going on three years. God bless you, Susan!

    1. Oh Kitty, I'm so sorry for your loss. It does become more manageable, but the emptiness is still there. She was such an extraordinary woman and mother--life is not fair, but I know I'm not the only one going through this.

  5. Dear Susan:
    How wonderful - yes definitely brings comfort!

    1. It's meant more exercising:-D but well worth it!

  6. Love anything with cinnamon in it. As a matter of fact I think we are lacking cinnamon in our diets so I tend to add a bit ---- who am I kidding ?? a lot -- more to a recipe. This looks delicious.
    I have given you a bit of a shout on my blog as I wore the apron you gifted me in my latest baking adventure.
    Happy baking :-)

  7. hello susan :) this looks so unbelievably good. i'm so happy to hear you are well, and baking the most beautiful things still. xox

    1. I'm SO HAPPY to hear from you; I know you must be busy with those grands, but I've missed you!

  8. Would love a piece of that bread right now. hope you are feeling better. I totally understand I'm going to have dental work done today!
    stamping sue

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  10. I'd love a slice or two of this... lightly toasted, with butter!

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