Homemade cinnamon swirl bread is one of my favorite day-off projects. It will definitely take all day to do, so don’t say I didn’t warn you. Last year I made a couple of loaves for my birthday and let me tell you — it’s worth the long day’s work. America’s Test Kitchen recipes are always VERY specific, but they honestly never fail.
Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen
Yield: 2 loaves
- 8 Tb unsalted butter
- 3.75 cups (20 2/3 oz) bread flour
- .75 cup (2 3/4 oz) nonfat dry milk powder
- 1/3 cup (2 1/3 oz) sugar
- 1 Tb instant yeast (or 1.5 Tb dry active yeast)
- 1.5 cups warm water (110 degrees)
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1.5 tsp salt
- 1.5 cups raisins
- 1 cup (4 oz) confectioner’s sugar
- 3 Tb cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten with a pinch of salt
- Start with the dough. Cut butter into 32 pieces and toss with 1 Tb flour. Set aside to soften.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together flour, milk powder, sugar.
- In a cup, mix together water and yeast to proof. Add to stand mixer.
- Add egg, and mix on medium0low until it all comes together, about 2 mins.
- Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let stand for 20 mins.
- Ensuring that rack is in middle position, place a loaf pan on the bottom of the oven.
- Remove plastic from mixer bowl, add salt and mix on medium low, until dough is smooth and elastic and no longer sticks to the bowl, between 7 and 15 mins.
- With mixer still on, add butter a few pieces at a time and keep running mixer until butter is fully incorporated, 3-5 minutes longer.
- Add raising and mix until incorporated, just 30-60 seconds.
- Transfer dough to a large greased bowl. Using a rubber spatula fold dough over itself. Turn bowl 90 degrees and repeat. Do this a total of 8 times.
- Cover tightly with plastic wrap, place on middle rack of oven.
- Pour 3 cups boiling water into loaf pan in the oven, close the door and let dough rise for 45 mins.
- Remove bowl from oven and gentle deflate dough.
- Repeat folding step and return to oven, covered, to the oven until doubled, about 45 mins.
- Make the filling: In a bowl, whisk together filling ingredients listed above until well combined. Set aside.
- You’re ready to shape the loaves! Grease two 8.5 x 4.5 inch loaf pans.
- Transfer dough to lightly floured surface and divide in two. The dough will be sticky but just work with it — don’t add more flour!
- Starting with one piece of dough, pat into a 6 x 11 rectangle.
- With short side facing you, fold in three, as with a letter.
- Roll away into a ball, then dust with flour.
- Flatten into 7x 18 inch rectangle, about 1/4 inch thick.
- Using a spray bottle, spray with water.
- Sprinkle half of the filling onto the dough, leaving 1/4 inch on sides and 3/4 inch border on top and bottom..
- Spray again lightly.
- With short side facing you, roll into a cylinder as you would a cinnamon roll.
- Turn the cylinder so the seam is up, and pinch it closed. Pinch the ends closed as well.
- Dust entire loaf lightly with flour and let rest for 10 mins.
- Repeat steps 18-27 with second ball of dough.
- Now, working with one loaf at a time, cut the loaf in half lengthwise using a bench scraper or sharp knife.
- Turn halves so cut side is up; Gently stretch each half to about 14 inch ropes.
- Pinch ropes together and twist them together (kind of like a Twizzler). This will give you the swirl. Be sure to keep the cut side up, then pinch ends together.
- Transfer twisted loaf, cut side up, to prepared pan, and repeat steps 29-31 with the second loaf.
- Be sure to push in any exposed raisins, otherwise they’ll burn.
- Cover both loaves loosely with plastic, return to oven, and allow to rise for 45 mins.
- Remove loaves and water from oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.
- Allow loaves to continue to rise at room temperature for 45 additional minutes (allow the loaves to rise 1 inch above the pan).
- Brush loves with egg wash
- Bake until well browned, about 25 mins.
- Reduce oven to 325 degrees F, cover with aluminum foil tent, and bake until internal temp reads 200 degrees, about 15-25 minutes longer.
- Transfer pans to wire wrack to cool for 5 mins.
- Once you remove the bread from the pans, do your very best to allow them to cool o room temp before slicing. That is, if you can wait two hours to taste your work!