Recipes so good it oughta' be a sin!


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Double Cinnamon Bread

IMG_6107When people get me down, I take my Mama's advice and bake. Lately, I find myself saddened by so much ugliness from people I know and the world in general. One of those people is a very good friend who suddenly began posting very mean and ugly racist things on Facebook. I don't know why. They never seemed that way before. Regardless, it distresses me greatly to see such ugly ideas infect people like a cancer of the soul - especially people I know are capable of more. But, since I cannot force them to let light into their lives, I'll just bake.

Amish 7
Photo by Alotor
Last night I was watching a documentary on National Geographic Channel about the Amish. Michael asked me why I was so interested in them. It's a rather complex reason. I find certain aspects of their "simple" life to be rather fascinating, even desirable and other aspects I find puzzling because they seem to be clever ways of getting around their own "rules" of behavior. I find their cooking to be very much like that from the South - delicious, simple, and unpretentious.

Regardless of my differences of opinion on religious matters and behavior, I have great respect and love for their food ways. This double cinnamon bread is an Amish recipe and it's quite wonderful. When I was baking this the other day the entire house began to smell like a giant cinnamon roll. The cinnamon, butter, and sugar wafted through the house immediately bringing a sense of peace with it. I put on some music while the bread baked and simply reveled in the joy of being. Maybe that sentiment is more Shaker than Amish. I have always loved the Shaker dance tune "Simple Gifts" and its joyous exhortation to live simply and fully: "Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free, 'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be, And when we find ourselves in the place just right, 'Twill be in the valley of love and delight."

It's funny that a local "personal injury" attorney is using the tune on their advertisements touting how much money one can make by suing someone else. I think they may have missed the meaning of the tune.

At a later point in history someone added additional verses to the simple song and one of those in particular is a favorite: "When true liberty is found, By fear and by hate we will no more be bound." Those lines really spoke to me as I baked and contemplated my sadness with my friend.

So, I take comfort in my kitchen work and the peaceful smell of bread baking in the oven while I sit and listen to music and enjoy the unconditional love of Lady Snow who has never met anyone she doesn't like no matter their race, ethnicity, or anything else. That feels like the place that is right and it does feel like the valley of love and delight.

: Double Cinnamon Bread
IMG_6113 : Delicous bread that is perfect for cinnamon toast.

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 7-8 cups bread flour
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups milk, warmed to 110°
  • 2 packets rapid rise yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water (110°)
  • 2 large eggs, slightly beaten
  • 2 tbs. ground cinnamon
Filling:
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tbs. ground cinnamon
  1. In bowl of electric mixer fitted with dough hook, mix together sugar, salt, and 7 cups of the bread flour. In large glass measuring cup mix together warm milk, warm water and yeast.
  2. With mixer on low speed, add eggs and soft butter to dry ingredients. Slowly pour in wet ingredients from measuring cup and mix at medium speed until dough begins to come together. Increase speed to medium high until dough forms a smooth ball and comes away from the sides of the bowl. Add up to 1 cup more of flour by tablespoons if necessary to get dough to release from sides of bowl. Continue kneading dough for about 5 minutes on medium speed.
  3. Spray a large bowl with non-stick spray and place dough in bowl. Turn dough to coat all sides of the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  4. Remove wrap from bowl and punch down dough by gently pulling sides of dough toward the top and gently folding over. Repeat on all sides of the dough. Recover with plastic wrap and allow to rise 30 minutes more.
  5. Flour a work surface and turn out risen dough. Gently pat into a 9x12-inch square. Using a bench scraper or pastry cutter, slice the dough into two 9x6-inch pieces. Using 3/4 of the melted butter, brush the dough liberally then sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Roll the dough tightly along the 9-inch side and securely pinch the seam and ends together.
  6. Grease two 9x5-inch loaf pans. Place the dough seam side down in the loaf pans. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 30 minutes.
  7. Preheat oven to 350°.
  8. Remove plastic wrap from loaf pans and lightly brush with remaining melted butter. Sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until loaves are golden brown and an instant read thermometer inserted in the side of the loaves reads 195°.
  9. Immediately remove loaves from pans and allow to cool completely on wire rack.
  10. This bread will keep in a sealed plastic bag for about 4 days at room temperature or when double wrapped can be frozen for up to 6 months.
If you like Cinnamon Raisin Bread add 3/4 cup of raisins dusted with flour after mixing dough but before kneading.

Preparation time: 2 hour(s) 10 minute(s)
Cooking time: 30 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 12
Culinary tradition: USA (Traditional)

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