Can you believe that it’s already November? If you live in southern California, this 78 degree weather makes it extra hard to feel like the holidays are just around the corner. I’m not complaining…I don’t know that I’ll ever miss those never-ending cold winters most of the country endures. I love that I can toss on a sweatshirt and shorts year round.
For me, this time of the year is all about good food. I absolutely LOVE holiday food, especially Thanksgiving foods. I think that any holiday that centers around a big feast of delicious food is ok by me.
Today’s recipe totally has that home for the holidays thing going for it and will make your house smell divine as cinnamon and sugar always do. It’s yeasty and soft and covered in sugar and cinnamon and it pulls apart into perfect serving sizes slices. It even looks at lovely as it tastes. You’ll love it and then love me.
I made this bread the first time for my cooking club when we made breakfast for dinner a few weeks ago, but I’m already planning to make it again since I only got to bring home a piece or two to the mister. I was a bit nervous about this recipe starting out, but it proved to be super easy. As with all yeasty bread baking recipes, make sure you read instructions in full before beginning. This dough needs to rise more than once, so you’ll need to make sure you have time on your side. But the reward — a breakfast treat that is sure to delight. You can thank me later.
recipe adapted from Joy the Baker
For the Dough:
3 C all-purpose flour
1/4 C granulated sugar
2 1/4 tsp (1 envelope) active dry yeast
1/2 tsp salt
2 oz unsalted butter
1/3 C whole milk
1/4 C water
2 large eggs at room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
For the Filling:
2/3 C granulated sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
2 oz unsalted butter, melted until browned
Make the Dough:
1. Let’s start by activating the yeast, shall we? to activate the yeast, whisk yeast into 3 tablespoons of warm water. Your water should be between 105 and 115 degrees F — I always check the temp with a thermometer to make sure. Add just a pinch of sugar and allow the mixture to sit for about 5 minutes. While you wait, the yeast should get foamy and frothy. Success! Moving along… (Start over with fresh yeast if yours doesn’t get frothy.)
2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 2 cups of flour, sugar, yeast and salt. Set aside. In a different bowl, whisk your eggs and set aside.
3. In a small saucepan, heat your milk and butter together until the butter has just melted. Remove your pan from heat and add water and vanilla. Let the mixture stand for a few minutes until the temp of the mixture is between 115 and 125 degrees F. You don’t want it to be scalding hot.
4. Pour the milk and butter mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients and mix with a spatula or wooden spoon. Add the eggs and stir the mixture until well incorporated. It might seem gooey at first but keep mixing! Add the rest of your flour (3/4 C) and stir for about 2 minutes. If your mixture is sticky, you’re ready!
5. Place the dough in a large, greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel. Place your bowl in a warm space (I always like a sunny window) and allow to rest until the dough doubles in size — about an hour.
** The dough can be risen until doubled in size and then refrigerated overnight for use in the morning. If you do this, just let your cold dough warm up and rest for 30 minutes on the counter before the rolling stage. **
6. While your dough rises, let’s make the filling. Mix together the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small bowl. In a saucepan, melt 2 oz of butter until it is browned. Set aside. Grease and flour a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan and set that aside.
7. Is your dough double in size? Great! Deflate the risen dough by punching it down a few times and knead about 2 tablespoons of flour into the dough with your hands. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rest for 5 minutes.
8. Lightly flour your work surface and use a rolling pin to roll out your dough. Try to roll it out to a size of 12 inches tall by about 20 inches wide. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just try to get it close to this. Brush the melted butter all across the dough, and sprinkle it all over with the cinnamon and sugar mixture. It will seem like a ton of sugar. Just trust me.
9. Slice the dough vertically into six equal-sized strips.
Stack the strips on top of one another and slice this stack into six equal slices again. You’ll end up with six stacks of six squares.
Layer the dough squares in the loaf pan life a flip book. It won’t look perfect now but it will bake up beautifully. Time for let it rise again! Place a kitchen towel over the loaf pan and allow it to rise in a warm place for about 30-45 minutes or until it doubles in size. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F while you wait.
10. You’re ready to bake! Place the pan in the center of the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes or until the top is very golden brown. The top might be lightly golden but the insides still doughy and raw if you take it out too soon. If the top starts to get too dark while the inside is still a bit raw (this happened to me since I had the rack too high up in the oven) then just lightly tent the pan with foil for the last 5-10 minutes of baking.
11. After baking, let your loaf rest for 20-30 minutes. Once cool, the loaf should release easily from it’s pan if you run a butter knife around the edges and invert the bread onto a clean place. This is best served warm, but no one will complain if you serve it a day later, too.
*For more detailed step-by-step photos of this recipe process, check out Joy the Baker’s post here.