Cinnamon Book Bread ... from 2011

If you've ever read this blog before, you know that sometimes it takes me a long time to write things down. I mean to do it but then I get distracted with wine, the ocean, and maybe avoiding doing dishes.

But, this particular recipe has been listed as "coming soon" since July 4th .... 2011. That's 16 months.

So, I'm not going to mess around here. I'm going to tell you the facts about this bread:
  • it did not last long once it was fresh out of the oven
  • the stacking of the dough is not as orderly as it looks in the pictures
  • I would make this again in a heartbeat ... although it's clearly been 16 months and I haven't
Something about this bread says it's perfect for a family breakfast ... and given that we are fast approaching Thanksgiving and Christmas. I don't have much experience in Hanukkah or Kwanzaa but perhaps it would be good for that as well.

Let's get started ... it's been 16 months.

(Step 1) Combine whisk together 2 cups flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. Set aside.

(Step 2) Whisk together eggs and set aside.

(Step 3) In a small saucepan, melt together milk and butter until butter has just melted. Remove from the heat and add water and vanilla extract. The original directions I followed said to let this rest until the temperature is 115-125 F. I obviously never measure things ... so how about we all just wait a minute or two? 

(Step 4) Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix with a spatula. Add the eggs and stir the mixture until the eggs are incorporated into the batter. The eggs will feel soupy and it’ll seem like the dough and the eggs are never going to come together. But don't fret. It will. Just like we are always worried about our egg whites getting stiff ... this will be fine too. Keep stirring. Add the remaining 3/4 cup of flour and stir for about 2 minutes. You are going to be concerned that the mixture is too sticky... it isn't. It's perfect. 
(Step 5) Place the dough is a large, greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and a clean kitchen towel. Place in a warm space and allow to rest until doubled in size, about 1 hour. 

(Step 6) While the dough rises, whisk together the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg for the filling. Set aside. Melt 2 ounces of butter until browned. Set aside. Grease and flour a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan. Set that aside too.

(Step 7) "Deflate" the risen dough and knead about 2 tablespoons of flour into the dough. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rest for 5 minutes. On a lightly floured work surface, use a rolling pin to roll the dough out. Regardless of what I'm making I'm terrible at rolling dough. This was no exception. Aim for the dough to be about12-inches tall and about 20-inches long.  But honestly don't worry about it. Use a pastry brush to spread melted butter across all of the dough. Sprinkle with all of the sugar and cinnamon mixture.
(Step 8) There is potentially a bit of a science into how you could slice and organize the dough. This may be weird but aim for about 36 squares ... but also don't worry about it. The best part of this dough at this point is that you could crumple the dough and throw it in the pan right now ... and it'd still be the best thing on the breakfast table. 

So, slice the the dough into rows and then squares.... then stack the squares. Layer the dough baby squares in the loaf pan like books in a bookshelf. Place a kitchen towel over the loaf pan and allow in a warm place for 30 to 45 minutes or until almost doubled in size.
(Step 9) Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Place loaf in the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the top is very golden brown. At this point, you are probably dying of hunger.... but you should wait about 20-30 minutes after baking. It'll be worth it because the bread will stay together a bit better.
(Step 10) Now .... eat.

Recipe adapted from Joy the Baker

Shopping List
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 envelope) active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 ounces unsalted butter
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup water
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Filling:
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted until browned

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