Classic Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Classic Cinnamon Swirl BreadGive It a Whirl
Usually at the end of the year you start to see articles or news stories about what they big trends were in during the past year and what they will be going forward. I have not seen any yet…but if I had to pick a big trend for 2020, it would be bread baking.

The shelter-in-place order in March caught a lot of people off guard and put a huge strain on the food supply chain. On top of that we were bored. So, many people turned to bread making, not only out of necessity, but as a mean to pass the time and, frankly, for some much needed therapy. Suddenly people were sharing sourdough starter and trading baked goods for yeast.

Now that supplies have normalized, there are still several “new” bread makers that have embraced the hobby, but might need some new equipment to take them to the next level. A good bread pan can make a fantastic holiday gift either by itself or filled with something freshly baked and yummy. Quick breads like Banana Bread or a Cranberry Tea Loaf make great gifts—and an even better snack with a hot cup of tea on a chilly afternoon. Decent bread pans can cost $15-$18 depending on how serious you want to be. The fancy ones with different shapes and designs on them are, obviously, a bit more but a good basic loaf pan is always a good piece to have in your kitchen.

For those who want to show off their newfound bread making skills, this Classic Cinnamon Swirl Bread is a perfect choice. (High-end cinnamon would make a great stocking stuffer too!)

It’s an easy enough recipe that a novice bread maker can handle it, but it looks like it is much harder to make. The flavor is divine. I like to toast my slice, but my kids cannot wait that long. They just slice and eat. A double batch of this for Christmas morning would also make some tasty French toast….

Classic Cinnamon Swirl Bread Recipe
Adapted from King Arthur Flours
Yields 1 loaf

This is a classic sweet bread recipe that makes fantastic toast and peanut butter sandwiches. And, Cinnamon Swirl French Toast is a delicious breakfast treat!

For the dough
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (We use King Arthur brand.)
1/4 cup potato flour
1/4 cup powdered milk
1-1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons sugar
2-1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup lukewarm water

For the filling
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 cup currants
2 teaspoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1 large egg

Make the dough
Combine all of the dough ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix it until the dough begins to come away from the sides of the bowl.

Knead the dough
In an electric mixer: knead the dough for 2 minutes. Then allow it to rest for 15 minutes. Then go back to kneading it until it is smooth and elastic (about an additional 5 to 7 minutes).

By hand: transfer the dough to a lightly-oiled work surface and knead it for 3 minutes. Then allow it to rest for 15 minutes, Then go back to kneading it untill smooth and elastic (about and additional 8 to 10 minutes). You can also simply knead the dough using the dough cycle of your bread machine.

Allow the dough to rise
Transfer the dough to a lightly-oiled bowl and set it aside to rise until it is puffy (about 1 to 1-1/2 hours). It should double in bulk.

Make the filling
While the dough is rising, prepare the filling. Combine the sugar, cinnamon, currants, and flour in a food processor, mini processor, or blender and process until the fruit is chopped.

Form the loaf
Transfer the dough to a lightly-oiled work surface, and shape it into a long, thin rectangle, about 16″ x 8″.

Beat the egg with 1 tablespoon of water and brush the dough with some of the egg and water mixture. Pat the filling onto the dough.

Beginning with a short edge, tightly roll the dough into a log. Pinch the side seam and ends closed (to keep the filling from bubbling out), and place the log in a lightly greased 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf pan tucking the ends underneath.

Allow the dough to rise for the second time
Cover the pan with lightly-greased plastic wrap, and allow the bread to rise at room temperature until it’s crowned about 1″ over the rim of the pan (about 1 hour).

Preheat the oven
Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.

Bake the bread
Place the loaf in the center of the oven and bake it for about 45 minutes, tenting the loaf lightly with aluminum foil for the final 15 minutes or so if it appears to be browning too quickly.

Cool the loaf
Remove the loaf from the oven and allow it to sit and cool for 5 minutes. Loosen the bread from the pan with a knife by running it around the edges. Turn the pan on its side and gently pull away the loaf from the pan.

Allow your loaf to cool completely before cutting. This will prevent the loaf from being crushed and misshapen.

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