it’s about timeMarch 30, 2010
From practically the first moment I contemplated putting things in a hot oven and seeing what happens, mrslovey’s been up my butt to make her some cinnamon bread. Somehow, I’ve managed to avoid this request for nearly a decade now. At this point it’s a running joke between us. It’s not that I didn’t want to make it for her. Initially, I was simply terrified by yeast breads, and I didn’t want to risk messing up something she was so excited about. Eventually I became more confident in this area, but still never seemed to produce a loaf. Want to know why? I’ll tell you why – there are quite possibly one zillion recipes for cinnamon swirl bread out there, and no two are the same. How the heck was I supposed to know which one was the right one?
Once it was confirmed that this month was yeast bread month, I knew that there was no way I could possibly avoid this task any longer. Not wanting to be solely responsible (really, not wanting the overwhelming task of picking a single recipe), I sent mrslovey to the cookbookcase and told her to come back with the winner. All I heard from the kitchen for about 30 minutes was the turning of pages. Finally she emerged with an orange coil-bound book that I don’t recall ever seeing before. Midwestern church cookbook, 1975, hoo daddy. “This, this is the one you’ll make!” Ok, if you say so! I figure if it failed miserably, I can always blame Mrs. Magnusen.
The recipe is written as if you’re sitting at the kitchen table while she’s making the bread. A couple of the ingredients are kind of vague on how much, or else lacking quantities completely. When it gets to the loaf shaping part, she goes on a complete tangent. You could do it this way, or that way, or make some of this other thing and put this in it…it went on forever, swear. From start to finish the written recipe was almost two solid pages long. Now, I know that I can be chatty, but that was a little ridiculous. Plus, I’m lazy and don’t want to type all that out. So I present to you my interpretation, with far fewer words, and a couple of tweaks. And how did it turn out, you ask, this long-awaited loaf? I’m afraid the words I’d use to describe it could be considered sacrilegious, so in deference to Mrs. Magnusen, I won’t type them out here.
MOSTLY MRS. MAGNUSEN’S CINNAMON SWIRL LOAF
2 1/4 teaspoon (or one envelope) active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup shortening
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups milk (scalded)
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups seedless raisins
6 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 slightly beaten eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
4 ounces (1 stick) soft butter
- In small bowl (or measuring cup), add yeast and 1 pinch of the sugar to warm water.
- In large bowl (or mixer bowl) put remaining sugar, shortening, butter and salt and pour scalded milk over. Mix well (you’ll still have lumps, which is fine) and then let cool to lukewarm.
- Add half the flour, mix well. Stir in the yeast mixture and the eggs, and blend well.
- Add raisins, mix to incorporate, then add remaining flour and knead until you’ve got a smooth, soft dough.
- Place in greased bowl and turn so that top of dough is also greased. Cover with damp cloth and let rise in warm place until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
- Mix the cinnamon and sugar together.
- Punch dough down and divide into three pieces. Take first piece and roll into a rectangle approximately 15×7, half an inch thick.
- Spread a thin layer of soft butter on the dough, and then sprinkle with sugar mixture. Roll from narrow end, seal the seam, and place sealed edge down in standard loaf pan (9.5x5x3).
- Repeat with remaining two pieces. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise again until double in size, about an hour.
- Heat oven to 375F. Brush loaves with soft butter and sprinkle remaining cinnamon sugar.
- Bake for 30 minutes. Drool the whole time because of the amazing smell. Turn out of pans immediately, and cool on rack.
- Do NOT, no matter how much you want to, cut these before they’re completely cool. The center needs time to set up, and if you cut too soon you’ll reveal a gooey, doughy, mess. Not that I know about that or anything.