Wow. That’s really about all I have to say about this bread. Let’s just say that the words “this is so good!” may have been heard repeatedly in our kitchen over the 4 days that we ate it for breakfast and/or dessert. Not to mention the morning that Daren turned it into French toast – can’t forget about that. Yum!
As Stephanie Stiavetti mentioned in her description of the recipe, most cinnamon breads are really all about the filling, and the bread itself leaves something to be desired. Not the case here. The addition of some cinnamon in the batter makes the bread delicious all on its own, and the pinch of cayenne added to the filling gives it that extra special something. You know something was good if the second we finished the loaf, I wanted to bake up another one!
A note about the filling – the amounts were pretty significantly reduced in the original recipe (by over half), so feel free to increase accordingly to suit your tastes!
For the bread:
- 3/4 cup warm milk (100°–110°F)
- 1 packet (2 1/2 tsp.) active dry yeast
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed (I ended up using a good bit more, probably at least a 1/2 cup, when I based my measurements on weight)
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 5 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup sour cream, at room temperature
- 3 tbsp. honey
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, beaten, at room temperature
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- Softened butter for greasing
For the filling:
- 3 tbsp. brown sugar
- 1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp. nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- Pinch of cayenne
- 3 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup raisins, optional
For the egg wash:
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp. milk
In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, combine the warm milk and the yeast. Let the mixture rest for 10 minutes, until the mixture begins foaming. In another bowl, combine the flour, salt and cinnamon and set aside.
Add the butter, sour cream, honey, and granulated sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until creamy and well combined, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until incorporated, then add the vanilla and mix on low speed until well combined. With the mixer still running on low, beat in the yeast-milk mixture. Add the flour mixture in two additions, beating each on low until combined.
Switch the mixture to the dough hook and knead on low for 10 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. While the dough is kneading, lightly grease a large bowl with softened butter. Remove the dough from the mixer bowl and shape into a ball. Place the dough ball in the bowl, turning once to coat with the butter, and cover lightly with a piece of plastic wrap. Set the bowl in a warm place and allow to rise until the dough has doubled in bulk, about 2 hours.
In a small bowl, combine the dry ingredients (brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and a pinch of cayenne) for the filling. Stir together and set aside.
Once the dough has risen, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Use a floured rolling pin to shape the dough into a rectangle approximately 9 inches wide and about 20 inches long (use the length of your loaf pan as a guide for how wide to roll the dough). Spread the softened butter throughout the surface of the dough. Sprinkle evenly with the brown sugar–cinnamon mixture and dot with raisins if using. Starting on the short side, tightly roll the dough into a log, making sure to not stretch out the middle of the dough as you go. The log should be approximately 9 inches long. Pinch the sides and seam shut with your fingers to seal it.
Rub a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan generously with more softened butter. Set the dough log in the pan, seam side down, making sure to fill the pan evenly. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise until the dough has puffed up well over the lip of the pan, about 1-2 hours.
Toward the end of the second rise, preheat the oven to 350°F and set your oven rack in the bottom third of the oven. Make your egg wash by whisking together the egg and milk, then use a pastry brush to lightly coat the top of the loaf. Bake on the lower rack until the top is a deep golden color, about 30-35 minutes; when done, the loaf should sound hollow when gently tapped.
Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then turn the loaf out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Once cool, wrap well in plastic wrap and store at room temperature.
Yield: 1 loaf bread