Thursday, July 5, 2012

cinnamon swirl bread

We are planning a trip up to Charlevoix, to go see my mom.  There is a restaurant up there, Juilleret's, that is more than just a place to get food.  It is a landmark- nay, a monument.  

I have been going up north since I was 8 years old.  I have never, and I mean NEVER, gone up without having at least one meal at Juilleret's.  Their specialty is breakfast, and they are famous for the cinnamon bread and cinnamon french toast.  

So, of course, while planning our trip, I have been thinking about how to handle the Juilleret's situation.  This time we won't be able to go.  There is no way I will take Ian into that restaurant.  I am sure that the bread has dairy, as well as everything else on the menu.  

So I'll just have to make my own.

I have only made bread once before, and it was spectacularly disastrous.  The recipe I used promised a tender, moist honey wheat, but I ended up with a dry 10 pound rock that had to be chiseled out of the loaf pan. Actually, TWO dry 10 pound rocks that had to be chiseled out of the loaf pans.  I have now learned to read a recipe through to the end.  Why the recipe was for two loaves is beyond me....

This recipe, however, had all the right proportions.  It had all the right ingredients.  I had to adjust it a little to make it dairy free, but it was super easy.  

And absolutely delicious.

We're talking eating the whole loaf in one sitting delicious.

This is why it is so difficult to photograph food.  There are little hands everywhere in my house.

And little faces, too.  

Little faces who think it is absolutely hilarious to move my bread around with said little hands while I am perilously perched on the counter, wedged between the stove and the window, camera on my thigh trying to keep it steady, obviously in no physical position to prevent that little face and those little hands from moving my bread around....

Consequently, the pictures may be blurry.  But that happens when you have a houseful of little hands.  And little faces.

cinnamon swirl bread
Adapted from The Galley Gourmet

3 c. unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast 
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/3 c. white granulated sugar
4 tbs Earth Balance dairy free butter, melted
1/2 c. dairy free buttermilk (1/2 c. soy milk plus 1/2 tbs white vinegar mixed together and let sit for 5 minutes)
1/4-1/2 c. lukewarm water
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 large egg

3 tbs light brown sugar
3 tbs confectioners' sugar
2 tbs ground cinnamon

2 tbs dairy free milk (I used oat milk, but any would do)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

egg wash:
1 egg
1 tbs dairy free milk (oat milk, but again, any would do)

Combine the flour, yeast, salt, sugar, butter, buttermilk, water, vanilla, and egg in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the hook attachment and knead, on medium speed, until smooth and elastic, 5-7 minutes.  You may have to add flour a bit at a time to get to the right consistency.  You want the dough to be tacky, but not sticky.  Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface.  Shape into a ball, and place into a large bowl that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray.  Loosely cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp towel, and place in a warm draft free space to rise until doubled in size.  The Galley Gourmet found her bread to rise in 1 to 1 1/2 hours, but my bread took 3 hours to rise.  I haven't figured this out yet.  Maybe it was the buttermilk substitution, or maybe I needed more of the warm water for the yeast.  That's probably it, actually...  Next time, maybe I'll use 1/4 c. buttermilk, and 1/2 c. warm water, which is what I should have done in the beginning.  No matter though, the bread came out perfectly- it just took a bit longer....

Gently punch the bread down to release the gas.  Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface and shape the dough into an 8x18 inch rectangle, short side facing you.  In a small bowl, combine the sugars and cinnamon.  In another small bowl, combine the milk and vanilla.  Brush the dough with half of the milk mixture.  Sprinkle the dough evenly with the cinnamon mixture, leaving 1/2 inch border at the opposite short end.  With the short side facing you, tuck and roll the dough, brushing the remaining milk mixture on the dough, brushing and rolling as you go.  Fold the end seams under the roll and put the whole thing into an 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch loaf pan that is lightly sprayed with cooking spray.  Loosely cover with plastic wrap, also sprayed with cooking spray.  Place in a warm, draft free space and let the dough rise until it gets to the size of a regular loaf, about 1 hour. (But with my screwy loaf, 2 hours.)

Preheat oven to 350˚F.  In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and milk for the egg wash and carefully brush over the top of the loaf.  Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and a thermometer inserted reads 190˚F.  Loosely cover the top with foil if it starts to brown too quickly.  Remove the bread from the pan and let cool on a wire rack.  Slice, slather with butter, eat plain, soak in egg mixture and fry it up in a skillet, eat however you like.  But it is probably a good idea NOT to eat the whole loaf in one sitting.


  1. I've been wanting to make a cinnamon swirl cake for a while - yours looks wonderful :)

    1. aargh. I meant to say bread, obviously.

  2. Hahaha thanks! I have made this several times, and even with my different experiments with proportion, it really takes a long time to rise. The next time I make it, I am going to combine the yeast and water before I add it to the bread dough. I think having the yeast directly in the warm water will activate it more quickly, especially with the rather large sugar content. And I would never monkey with the sugar content in this loaf. It is just divine.