The San Diego Silk Guild holds its annual holiday sale today and since I did not do any silkpainting this summer and have no art to sell, I am bringing a bread to share instead.
It’s too early to start making my famous pseudo-Czech Christmas bread with the pounds of butter, raisins and marzipan. But I came upon the perfect loaf to celebrate the beginning of the Holiday season; a bread that inspires thanksgiving as well as summons visions of sugar plum fairies to come.
Cinnamon Roll Bread.
It’s not that hard to make. It just requires patience to let the yeast do its magic.
Makes 2 small loaves or 1 very large one
3-1/2 cups unbleached bread flour
1 tbl plus 1 tsp sugar
2 tsp instant yeast
1/4 cup dried milk
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup water
1 tsp lemon extract (or fresh zest)
3/4 cup or so of raisins (dried cherries are nice, too)
Cinnamon sugar for filling:
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon (using pumpkin pie spice instead of cinnamon adds unexpected and wonderful flavor)
Mix the dry ingredients of the dough in a very large bowl. Add in the butter, egg, lemon extract and water and raisins. Mix until all dry ingredients are part of the dough ball. Stir wet dough for a couple of minutes, the cover and let rise for about 2 hours. If it’s a cool day, let it rise for 3-4 hours. This first rise is crucial, so be patient and just let it take its time to double.
When the dough is doubled in size, punch it down and start kneading. Add flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking to your hands. Knead for about 5 minutes or so. For 2 loaves, cut the dough in half with a knife.
Pat, cajole and roll out dough to a long rectangle. Spread cinnamon sugar in an even layer over the top. Start rolling the rectangle starting at one end and trying to keep it tight. When it is all rolled, squeeze the roll with your hands to ensure a tight seal, then tuck the ends under and put in your baking pan. (You can grease the pan, but I like using parchment paper — it makes it very easy to lift the loaf out of the pan.)
Dust with extra cinnamon sugar (a step I omitted in the above photo).
Let rise for 1 -2 hours until doubled in size (this helps prevent giant bubbling around the filling.)
Bake at 325F for about 40 minutes — or until golden brown and slightly pulling away from the sides of the pan. Check for doneness with a bamboo skewer or long toothpick.
Behold the yumminess! Delicious as is, but also makes great toast and french toast.