Why Cinnamon Swirl Bread?
There is no better two smells in the world to me than freshly baking bread and cinnamon.
Freshly baked bread of all sorts from savoury to sweet has a unique buttery sweet aroma with a very slight sourness from the warm remains of yeast. Cinnamon on the other hand has an overwhelmingly earthy aroma that from childhood has warmed my heart and at the risk of sounding very deep, has centred my soul.
It is amazing how smells can bring you instantly into other places and times reminding you of memories nearly lost. That is why I love cooking. This recipe is simply that – the joy of cooking.
15g fresh yeast or 1 1/2 packets of 7 g dried yeast
310ml tepid water
500g bread flour
Extra flour for dusting
15g caster sugar
Dissolve the yeast and sugar in half the water. Rest for 1 minute until it becomes slightly foamy.
In a large bowl place the flour and salt, make a small well in the centre and pour in the yeasty water. With your fingers slowly mix the flour and water together by making circular movements from the centre moving outwards until the water is soaked in.
Slowly add the rest of the water and oil into the centre and mix to make a slightly moist dough. Depending on your flour you may need a little less or more water so take your time and add slowly.
Flour your workbench and lightly flour your hands. Turn the dough out onto your surface and sprinkle with a little more flour. With the palm of your hand push the dough away from you and with your fingers pull the dough up and fold it towards your palm. If it is a little sticky at first add a little more flour. Continue to do this for up to 5 minutes until the dough is silky smooth on the surface.
Make the dough into a roundish shape, lightly flour the top and place it on a floured baking tray. Cover with a warm damp tea towel and leave in a warm draught free area.
In the mean time put the oven on 200 degrees Celsius and spray a 23 cm x 12.5 cm loaf tin with oil. In a small bowl mix the sugar and cinnamon.
After 40 minutes to an hour the dough should have doubled in size. When it has, using your fist punch the dough to deflate it (this is called knocking back). Return the dough to your work surface and knead a few times for it to become smooth again.
Working the dough with your hands spread out into a 30-40 cm by roughly 30-40 cm square. Don’t worry if you can’t get the bread that large on the first working. Try leaving the bread to rest for a minute and try again.
Once spread out sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar. Starting at one end roll the bread dough up until you have a long sausage and seal the end with a little water. Cut the sausage into 8 even lengths and place in the oiled bread tin so you can see the swirl.
Allow to rest for 5 minutes before placing in the oven. Once the bread is in the oven turn the heat down to 180 degrees Celsius and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the base sound hollow when you tap it.
Enjoy warm with butter and jam, or use to make into a fantastic bread and butter pudding
Makes 1 loaf.