Cinnamon Plaited Sweetbread

20170810_16470520170810_164546Bake this and watch people swarm the kitchen, the smell drifts to every part of your house like the cinnamon buns in Ikea. I don’t know how cinnamon is the one smell that permeates every single square-inch of a house but it does, and it’s so good! But then again it doesn’t last long because it all gets eaten by the attracted swarm 😛 Anyway, Gove this a go! It’s the perfect fun recipe, great bread-baking practice with a bit of arty plaiting thrown in.

Mainly I’m just really happy I finally have the time and motivation to bake bread! Not bread maker auto-bread but real hand-made bread that makes your forearms hurt from kneading and your patience thin while its proving. I last went though a bread baking stage about 5 years ago and for my 18th birthday my Mum bought me a day’s cookery class at The Kent Cookery Scholar the Secret Garden Restaurant near our home. There were only 4 of us for the day and I was the youngest by about 40 years, give or take! I absolutely loved it, learning how to make sourdough starters, sweet, sticky brioche and crunchy ciabatta to name a few. then we would all sit down and munch away, bloated by happy. I keep meaning to go on another course but I think the prices has gone up alongside the rapid increase in cookery TV shows and millions of cookery books (not that I can complain about either of those).

Anyway, while I would love to remember how to make that brioche from 5 years ago, I can always remember this recipe. Every time I go to Ikea I think I should really make cinnamon buns myself but this is the same flavour but with a lighter texture. Also this is fab for parties or after a BBQ, a real tear-and-share bake.

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Ingredients

For the dough:

  • 7g dried yeast (or 15g fresh yeast if you can)
  • 1 tbsp soft brown sugar
  • 290ml lukewarm milk
  • 450g strong bread flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 tsp fine salt
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten, (1 for the dough, plus 1 for glazing)
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil

For the cinnamon filling:

  • 80g soft brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 125g salted butter, well softened

Method

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt til well combined. Dissolve the yeast and the sugar in 1/4 of the lukewarm milk in a small bowl and leave for 5 minutes to bubble and ferment (exciting!!!).

Pour the yeast mixture, the rest of the milk and the beaten egg into the flour mix, then stir with a wooden spoon, it will seem very dry at first but persist and I guarantee you’ll be flouring the work surface in the end, not adding anymore liquid. Once a ball is formed, tip out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 10 minutes or until the dough becomes smooth and elastic and springs back when pressed lightly with your finger.

Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with cling film and leave somewhere warm to rise for 1 hour. Here’s mine tucked up on the windowsill!

Once the dough has roughly doubled in size, tip the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knock it back for a minute or so (gently knead to distribute the air) then roll out the dough into a square about 1cm thick.

In a mixing bowl, combine the light brown sugar, cinnamon and softened butter. Set aside about 2 tbsp of the mix, then spread the rest evenly over the dough using a spatula or palette knife. Starting with one of the long sides, roll up the dough into a log. Using a rolling pin, roll the log into a long rectangle about 8-10cm wide but be gentle – don’t let it all split sideways.

Using a sharp knife, cut the rectangle lengthways into 3 equal strips, leaving 2cm dough intact at one end so the strips stay together. Plait the strips along the length, then squeeze the ends together to seal. Scrape up any filling that comes out and try and post it in somewhere.

Brush the reserved cinnamon butter over the top of the plait, then carefully lift onto a floured baking sheet. Cover loosely with a clean tea towel and leave to prove for 45 minutes or until the dough stays indented when gently pressed with your finger. Heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4. Bake for 30-35 minutes until puffed and golden (cover with foil if it browns too quickly). Cool completely on a wire rack, then slice or tear to serve.

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