Cinnamon Swirl Bread, “healthified”

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One of my favorite snacks is a slice of swirl bread, toasted and slathered in butter.  Oh my.  The problem is, I never stop at just one slice!  And that store bought stuff, well, it’s not so good for you.  This way, I make it myself, I get to pretend I’m being healthy, I get the freshest bread possible, and I still get to toast it and slather it with butter!  And, let’s not forget, I get to change the raisins to currants because I like them much better, and sub in some brown sugar for white sugar cause it tastes that much better.  And put in more cinnamon or less cinnamon, depending on my whim.  Hmmm, this is starting to sound like control-freak-ism, rather than healthy-ness.  Eeenteresting . . . . but let’s move on.

I started with Farmgirl’s base recipe, which I featured in the previous post .  In this case, I’m using a half recipe, and I made a few little tweaks–like browning the butter before mixing it in (and okay, you caught me, I added a little more butter).  I added some flaxseed meal, that’s healthy, right?  I also swapped in some sour cream for part of the milk, mainly because I didn’t have enough milk on hand, but it worked out fine.  Even though I forgot to mix in the sour cream until kind of late, and it was plenty cold when I mixed it in, which could have killed the yeast . . . did I mention that this recipe is Stephanie fool proof?  I think that has been fully proven now.

Oh, yeah, and my only tip for this one is:  don’t go and slice the top of your loaves once you have them in the loaf pans, thinking that it will make that beautiful, rustic, open top design once it rises.  This is a filled, rolled bread, dummy.  Slicing spills out the filling.  Duh.

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Cinnamon Currant Wheat Swirl Bread

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup bread flour (or sub all purpose)
  • 1/2 cup oat bran
  • 1/2 cup wheat bran
  • 1 T flaxseed meal
  • 1 T instant yeast
  • 2 T browned butter
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 T honey
  • 2 cups wheat flour
  • 1 T salt
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • cinnamon
  • currants

The best directions to use are the ones here, at A Year in Bread, but I’ll summarize:

Mix the all purpose flour, bread flour, oat bran, wheat bran, flaxseed, and instant yeast in a large bowl.  Warm milk and honey to lukewarm in microwave, stir in sour cream.  Add wet ingredients to dry and stir until well mixed.  Add wheat flour one cup at a time until fully incorporated.  You should have a soft, slightly sticky dough.

Turn out onto a floured board and continue to knead for 6 or 7 minutes, adding flour as needed to keep it from sticking to your hands or board.  Turn the bowl over to cover the dough and let sit for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, remove bowl and flatten dough slightly.  Sprinkle with half the salt. Knead for a few turns, then flatten and sprinkle the remaining salt.  Knead for 6 or 7 minutes more, until salt is incorporated and dough is smooth and elastic.  Place dough in a large, straight-sided container with a lid and allow to rise in a warm place (70 degrees) until doubled, approximately an hour.

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When doubled (poke your finger in and make sure it doesn’t spring back), turn out onto a floured board.  Lightly flatten to remove any large air bubbles.  Divide into two pieces.

Roll out one piece into a large rectangle.  The thinner the dough, the more “swirls” you’ll have in your bread.  Just don’t make it too wide to fit in your bread pan!  Spread half of the softened butter (or more, I won’t judge!) evenly onto the dough.  Sprinkle with half the sugar and brown sugar (again, more is fine too!).  Sprinkle with cinnamon to your taste (I used approximately 2 teaspoons per loaf) and currants (approximately 1/4 cup).

Start at one end and carefully roll the dough into a log.  When you are done rolling, pinch the dough along the final edge to make a seam and keep all the filling inside.  Pinch the open ends closed as well.  Place in a greased loaf pan, cover with a damp tea towel, and allow to rise in a warm area until doubled in size, approximately 45 minutes to an hour.

Bake at 375 for (uh oh, didn’t write this down!) 20 to 30 minutes?  Check every 5 minutes after 20, until done.  To test for done-ness, pull the pan out of the oven, turn the loaf out into your (protected) hand, and tap the bottom.  When it sounds hollow, it’s done.

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