I've been hit with a few serious cravings lately. Major, pregnant lady-esque cravings. I know their root, and no, it's not a growing baby belly (promise, I'm so not anywhere near ready for that, we're talking years down the road), it's a my newly adopted, generally healthier lifestyle. Small meals every three to four hours. Healthy snacks. Low fat dinners, high fiber breakfasts. You get the idea, same old same old stuff we've heard a million times over, and the way I've attempted to eat most of my adult life, (but falter on here and there). While I don't crave 'bad' foods, like this delicious sugary loaf, everyday, I did wake up Tuesday of last week dying for a few slices of cinnamon bread. An odd craving for me, one that followed me through the day. Something needed to be done, I needed to honor this one.
First, I considered going out and purchasing your standard $2.99 grocery bakery loaf. Then I thought to myself, 'mallory, why in the world would you do something like that?'. You see, I quickly realized that I had a big jar of yeast in my freezer, plenty of flour, cinnamon, butter, eggs, sugar. . . . you see where I'm going with this? Why not go to the effort to make my own amazing loaf of cinnamon bread instead of buying a boring, bland loaf a the store. So worth the calorie/sugar splurge, far more so than anything I can buy. This loaf did not disappoint, how could it not? Look at this beauty.
This loaf is inspired by a post I found via Tastespotting at Bittersweet Baker , which was in turn inspired by Elissa's Lemon Scented Pull Apart Coffee Cake over and 17 and Baking. I used the same sweet dough, which was a dream to work with. I have a weakness for doughs. I love their smell and the way they feel as they get smooth under the pressure of kneading hands. Dough makes me giddy. It's true. This dough did not disappoint, it was absolutely lovely; soft, warm, and yeasty. Baked it was even better; pillowy, a little chewy, and soft, basically perfect. My filling was a lot different than the other two though. It was straight cinnamon roll filling, plenty of butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and a touch of nutmeg. Slathered between layer upon layer of sweet dough, as the filling bakes up it creates this caramelized cinnamon sugar crust at the top of each layer. Unfortunately, slathering the cinnamon cream cheese frosting all over the top covered up that gorgeous crust. I believe this to be the perfect Thanksgiving or Christmas morning treat. Definitely a recipe I'll be baking again, and one I suggest you try, particularly if you're craving any variation of cinnamon bread, this will surely quell such a craving.
30 Layer Cinnamon Pull Apart Bread
Makes a 9″x5″ pan
Sweet Yeast Dough
About 2 3/4 cups (12 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) granulated sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 envelope) instant yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup (2 1/2 fluid ounces) whole milk
2 ounces unsalted butter
1/4 cup (2 fluid ounces) water
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature
Cinnamon Sugar Filling
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoon cinnamon
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
zest of one lemon
Tangy Cream Cheese Icing
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/8 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon whole milk
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1. Mix two cups (nine ounces) flour, the sugar, yeast, and salt in a mixer bowl with a rubber spatula. 2.Meanwhile, in a small saucepan or in the microwave, combine the milk and the butter and heat until the butter is melted. Remove from the heat, add the water, and let rest a minute until just warm (120 to 130°F [49 to 54°C]). Stir in the vanilla extract.
3. Pour the milk mixture over the flour-yeast mixture and, using a rubber spatula, mix until the dry ingredients are evenly moistened.
4. Attach the bowl to the mixer, and fit the mixer with the paddle attachment. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition just until incorporated.
5. Stop the mixer, add 1/2 cup (2 1/4 ounces) of the remaining flour, and resume mixing on low speed until the dough is smooth, 30 to 45 seconds. Add 2 more tablespoons flour and mix on medium speed until the dough is smooth, soft, and slightly sticky, about 45 seconds.
6. Lightly flour a work surface and knead the dough gently until smooth and no longer sticky, about one minute. Add an additional 1-2 tablespoons of flour only if the dough is too sticky to work with.
7. Place the dough in a large bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, and let it rise in a warm place (about 70°F [21°C]) for 45-60 minutes or until doubled in size. An indentation made with your finger should keep its shape.
Make your cinnamon sugar mixture.
8 .Gently deflate the dough with your hand. Flour a work surface and roll the dough into a 20″ by 12″ rectangle. Use a ruler to get the rectangles as accurate as possible for a prettier loaf that will fit better in the pan. Also sure both sides are floured, so that the dough will be easy to lift up later.
9. Use a pastry brush to spread the melted butter evenly and liberally over the dough. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture.
10. Use a pizza cutter to cut the dough crosswise in five strips, each about 12″ by 4″.
11. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease a 9″x5″ loaf pan.
12. Slice this new stack crosswise, through all five layers, into 6 equal rectangles (each should be 4″ by 2″.) 13. Carefully transfer these strips of dough into the loaf pan, cut edges up, side by side. it might be a little roomy, but the bread will rise and expand after baking.
14. Loosely cover the pan with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place (70 °F [21°C]) until puffy and almost doubled in size, 30 to 50 minutes. When you gently press the dough with your finger, the indentation should stay.
15. Bake the loaf until the top is golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Cover the top with foil if it is browning too quickly. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes.
Time to make the cream cheese frosting: Beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until smooth. Then add the milk and lemon juice. Stir until creamy and smooth.
16. Flip the loaf over onto a cooling rack, then flip onto another rack so that it’s right side up. Spread the top of the warm cake with the cream cheese icing.
I recommend eating it warm. I also recommend that you to eat some before your housemates or guests gobble it down. This loaf lasted less than 12 hours in my house. I wonder how long it will last in yours?