My family loves cinnamon toast. You know, bread with butter, cinnamon and sugar, then broiled in the oven until toasty. We could eat that for breakfast and for dessert. My kids also love that cinnamon swirl bread with raisins from the grocery store. So, I decided to try making my own. This recipe is inspired by several I found on Pinterest, but I have modified it to make it extra rich and soft. Enjoy it with a cup of coffee or hot tea!
Cinnamon Swirl Bread Recipe
1/2 C warm water
2 ¼ tsp yeast (or 1 pkg)
1 tsp. sugar
3/4 C whole milk, warmed in microwave
1/2 C brown sugar
1/4 C butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3 1/2 C flour (plus more if dough is too wet)
6 Tbsp. butter, softened
4 Tbsp. cinnamon
4 Tbsp. sugar
Activate the yeast by mixing it with ½ cup of warm (not hot, but very warm, like bath water) water and 1 tsp of sugar. Set aside.
Microwave ¾ cup of whole milk at 70% power for 1 minute, stir and microwave again for 1 minute or until it starts to bubble (not boiling). Do not walk away while it is microwaving, you will want to stay to be sure you can stop the microwave if the milk starts to bubble. Scalding the milk does 2 things: it deactivates the protein in milk that can prevent the bread for rising and it also intensifies the flavor of the cinnamon and vanilla you add to the bread dough. Set aside to cool down.
Cream ½ c. brown sugar, ¼ c. butter and 1 tsp. vanilla. Mix in the 2 eggs one at a time. Add the yeast mixture, milk (if milk is still very hot, incorporate it slowly so you don’t scramble the eggs) and ½ tsp. cinnamon.
Add in 3 ½ c. of flour in batches. This bread dough is meant to be wet, but if you feel it is too wet to handle, then you can add another ¼ c of flour. Then, knead dough (or mix with your paddle in a stand mixer) for 5 minutes.
Set in a greased bowl in a warm dry place covered with a towel to rise. (I like to turn my space heater in the bathroom.) Let rise until it doubles in size, about 1 hour.
At this point, I separate the dough into 2 balls. Then, place on a well floured surface and roll out to about ¼ – ½ inch thick in the shape of a rounded rectangle (or oval). Spread with 3 Tbsp of butter (or more if you want), 2 Tbsp. sugar, and 2 Tbsp. cinnamon. Jelly roll it and tuck the ends underneath before adding to your greased 9”X5” bread pan. Repeat with other dough ball in a separate pan.
Cover both pans with towels to rise again until doubled.
Preheat oven to 350.
Bake for 25 – 30 minutes. Turn oven off and leave in the oven for another 10 min.