Thursday, August 1, 2013

Have It Your Way Cinnamon Bread

Oh.. The things we can do with cinnamon!

When I was a kid, I always loved to pass by a cinnamon rolls store in the mall. The smell of freshly baked cinnamon rolls was so enticing and it reminded me of Christmas and the end of autumn  though it was March, or July, or just about any other month. I would always get two or three rolls because one was just never enough. Now, the store is still open and it thrives. But my palate can’t be deceived. The store has taken the route of lowering the quality and quantity of ingredients to keep the price fairly low. I don’t know about anyone else but personally I would rather pay more but have less in quantity for I treat taste like a piece of fine art. After all, there’s not but one Monalisa in this world.

I am quite picky when it comes to good quality bread.. Well I am picky with my food but bread is my passion and I would talk about it, think about it, and read about it because bread is edible science. Now since we’re talking about Cinnamon Rolls, I would underline that I hate people who are stingy with fillings. It has to be a lot but not overwhelmingly sweet. Use good quality cinnamon. If you have coffee bean grinder, oh God I want one so badly, you can grind your own cinnamon stick. The bread itself has to be soft but not cottony, pillowy soft like typical Japanese bread. It needs to be quite fulfilling but not dense bordering on hard because it’s suppose to be had for breakfast, with coffee, when you feel hungry, when you’re bored, for a night snack, for.. Well, the point is, Cinnamon Rolls rock!

Here is the recipe I always use, adapted from Joy The Baker with a twist here and there. It is actually a recipe for Cinnamon Pull Apart Bread. But as the title stated, you can have it your way.

For the Dough:
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup salted butter, or unsalted with a pinch of salt
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
340 gr all purpose flour
20 gr wheat bran
Note: You can skip the wheat bran and substitute all with flour

For the Filling:
1/2 cup palm sugar
2 1/2 tbs ground cinnamon
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened


Directions:
Heat the milk and butter together until the butter melts.. Add the water, then let the mixture cool enough. How cool? Just put your finger in and if it's nicely warm, still a tad bit hot but not too hot it burns your finger, then it's ok. Of course you can skip that step if you have an instant read thermometer. It should show 57C.

Knead your shaggy mess into a beautiful, smooth golden ball. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled, about an hour and a half.
***In the meantime, prepare the filling by mixing together the palm sugar, cinnamon, and butter.

Now.. from here I shall proceed with the Pull Apart Style. You can have it braided or form it into rolls. Have it your way!

Lightly oil your working table, and roll the dough out into a 12x20 inch rectangle. Spread the filling all over the rectangle, then cut the dough into 5 12x4 inch strips.

Stack them up on top of each other, then cut into four equal pieces.

Grease a 9x5inch loaf pan with butter, and place the pieces into the loaf pan. Wait 1-2 hours until they puff up. Preheat the oven to 175C and bake the dough for 27-30 minutes. I always use a flash light to check the brownness because the palm sugar tends too burn faster.

Voila!


Oh my Oh my Oh my!

Every layer is sticky (in a good way), sweet but not overly sweet, oh.. It's just breath taking and better yet.. It's cheap to make! You probably have all the ingredients in your pantry.

Now, if you prefer a dramatic look..

This rather topsy turvy looking bread is using the same recipe. What makes it less golden is I use only 1 egg in the dough and to achieve that beautiful distinctive line, skip the butter in the filling. Roll and cut like you're doing cinnamon rolls but twist each roll inside out. Well, sad to say the step by step picture for this one is MIA in some memory card.

Or you can have it elegantly braided.. 

This one screams Christmas. It's such a show stopper. You can put it in the middle of table for a Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner and you have a gorgeous edible center piece. This too, will make a perfect gift.

So braid it, roll it, pull it apart like crazy! Have it your way!

But remember.. Have fun with it.

Love,
Amy

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