Cinnamon Roll Bread

Along my quest for the perfect cinnamon bread, I found some were too complicated, some used ingredients I didn’t have, some weren’t what I was going for, so, like usual, I made up my own. I was wonderfully surprised when I pulled it out of the oven, as “a little of this a little of that” recipes can go bad sometimes. But as long as you’re okay with that, then I suggest following your heart in the kitchen and enjoying the wonderful surprise of discovering your concoction turned out better than expected.

I wanted a sweet bread, sturdy and uniform so I could slice and put in the toaster, a recipe that didn’t make 5 loaves at a time, and something with the little cinnamon swirl on the inside. To achieve this, there are two parts: the dough, and the filling. The dough took about 10 minutes to make, and then it took about 20 mins to make the filling, roll it up and pop it in the oven. This is what I did:

Image

Cinnamon Roll Bread

  • 2 cups white flour
  • 1/2 cup wheat flour (optional, you can just use 2 1/2 cups white flour)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 tbsp white sugar
  • YEAST: I let my dough rise over night, so I used 1/2 teaspoon of yeast. If you want your bread the same day, use 2 teaspoons and let rise for at least 1 hour
  • 1 cup warm water
  1. Mix dry ingredients and slowly add water. Stir your dough, you may have to add more water but you do not want an excess of water in the dough because then it will be hard to roll out and work with. Mix with your hands for a few minutes to work the yeast, and then cover and let rise in a warm place.

This bread can rise for up to 24 hours, it will develop a sour taste during this time which is not a bad thing. I let mine rise for about 26 hours and the sour dough taste actually worked well with the cinnamon. Remember the more yeast, the less rise time. Two teaspoons of yeast will rise the dough in about an hour, 1/2 teaspoon will take at least 12 hours to rise.

Filling: make this right before you’re ready to bake your bread

  • 1 egg white
  • 1 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  1. Reserve about 2 tsps of egg white into a small bowl
  2. Mix the rest of the egg white with the other ingredients in a bowl. It should be goopy and sticky.

Okay now you’re ready to assemble!

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees
  2. Grease a 9×5 loaf pan
  3. On a greased or floured surface (I use my cutting board), roll out your dough to about 1/2 inch thick. It should be in a rectangle shape at least about 9-10 inches in width.
  4. Spread your goopy mixture onto the dough. Use all of it! Spread it evenly.
  5. Now it’s time to roll your bread up. This is the hard part so take it slow. Roll your bread longways, so its the 9-10 inches in length and will fit in your loaf pan. If you’re careful, most of the filling will stay in the roll. My first time this was not the case, it takes practice so don’t worry if some filling comes out. It will be extra-specially gooey with some filling at the bottom, don’t fret.
  6. Once it’s all rolled up, plop it in the loaf pan.
  7. Brush your reserved egg white over the top to give your bread a little bit of shine.
  8. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown.Image

Let it cool for a little and then plop it onto a cutting board, remembering bread is better when you let it cool for a while, and then cut into it when you can’t wait any longer.

Image

This bread is awesome because its so versatile. You can eat it plain, toast it with butter, toast it with cream cheese, use it to make french toast. It reminds me of a less crunchy, more gooey version of Panera’s cinnamon crunch bagel. Enjoy and let me know your favorite way to eat it!

Image

 

Advertisements

Crockpot Bread

Image

I want to share my crockpot bread recipe with y’all! This is wonderful because no one wants to be in a hot kitchen all day when it’s hot outside. I do put mine in the oven for 15 minutes at the end but that’s just to brown and crisp the crust! It’s not necessary.

Depending on how much time I have, I use my Quick French Bread recipe or my no knead bread recipe to make the dough. The first one takes about an hour to make the dough, the second one takes 18-24 hours. Of course most of this time is so the bread can rise. Remember the longer your bread takes to rise, the better it will taste! Choose a recipe based on how soon you want to be eating your bread 🙂

  1. Sprinkle corn meal on the bottom of your crockpot OR lay a sheet of parchment paper on the bottom of the crockpot. Both of these will prevent the bread from sticking as it cooks. I prefer cornmeal because it adds a very nice texture to the bottom of the crust, but to each his own
  2. Turn your crockpot on High
  3. Form your dough into a ball. I usually do this by squeezing it in half a few times, getting all the air bubbles out, and eventually putting the crease on the bottom when I plop it into the crockpotImage
  4. Put the lid on.
  5. Wait an hour. Use this time to make something delicious to eat your bread with or go tan outside or take a nap
  6. Check the bread. It won’t be done, but you’ll be able to see how much longer it needs. Mine has taken anywhere from 1 1/2-2 hours total. The bread will be done when you push on the top and it doesn’t spring back.Image
  7. Preheat your oven to 425 and pop the bread in. No pan is needed, but you can use one if you like. Bake for 15 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

Enjoy! Instagram your creation! Be proud of yourself! Remember, wait as long as you can to cut into your bread. Cutting into it while it’s still pretty hot can cause the inside to be a little gummy. The steam inside continues the cooking process for a while after it’s out of the oven/crockpot. For best results, wait at least 45 minutes 🙂

Image

Things to know before you bake bread

I began my bread baking hobby last summer, when I wrote “learn to bake” on my summer bucketlist. I began with no knead bread, then tried crockpot no knead bread, then kneading bread, then making sourdough and sourdough starters, French bread, rye bread, wheat bread. It was fun and exciting, nerve wracking at times, but always very rewarding. I learned a lot along the way, as I started out knowing absolutely nothing about bread except that I liked to eat it.

Five things you should know

1. Bread baking involves yeast. Yeast is a very much alive bacteria that feeds off of sugars and emits gas which produces bubbles which make your bread lighter and fluffier. You can kill your yeast with hot water. It thrives in warm places, which you can create with the help of warm water. It feeds off of sugar. Salt, or the abscence of sugar can stunt or stop your yeast’s growth. You can buy yeast in packets, jars or in big blocks. I buy mine in jars. However you buy it, store it in a fridge.

2. Kneading. Do not be afraid or weary about kneading. Kneading helps incorporate the yeast into your bread and helps make it grow stronger, like when humans lift weights. Push the dough down, stretch it out, twist it, squish it, pull it, mash it, twist it again. How long you have to knead depends on the type of bread you’re making and how much dough you have. Less dough, less knead time. When you’re done kneading, the dough should be stretchy, elastic, somewhat smooth, and if you cut it in half there should be bubbles in the dough. There are also bread recipes that do not require kneading and still produce a wonderful bread, here’s my recipe for it.

3. The longer your bread rises, the better it will taste. Think of it as a fast aging wine. The amount of yeast you use directly affects the rise time: more yeast will lead to a faster rise; this is more convenient than longer rising dough but doesn’t taste as good. It won’t taste bad, it will still be edible and wonderful. The less yeast you use, the longer the rise time, the better the bread. Less is truly more.

For example, 2-3 teaspoons of yeast can make 3 cups of flour rise in less than 45 minutes. One quarter or 1/2 of a teaspoon can make 3 cups of flour rise in in 18 hours.

Let your bread rise even longer and it will begin to develop a sour taste. Not a bad sour, a good sour.

Bread dough rising

Bread dough rising

4. Steam helps the crust become light and crunchy. There are a few ways you can achieve this: baking in a covered dish, or you can put a pot of boiling water in the oven with the dough. You can bake bread open on a pan without any of the fancy steam stuff, but I find the crust to be too crunchy. My favorite method is baking a glass casserole dish.

The glass casserole dish I bake my bread in. It traps the steam inside and creates a nice crunchy crust

The glass casserole dish I bake my bread in. It traps the steam inside and creates a nice crunchy crust

5. Bread will stick to the pan you bake it in, sometimes even if you grease it. You can prevent this three ways: one, heavily flour the bread before you put it in the pan. Two, lay a sheet of parchment paper on the pan and plop the dough on it. Three, sprinkle a layer of cornmeal on the bottom of the pan before you plop the dough on it. I prefer parchment paper, but cornmeal is a close second. It adds a nice texture to the bottom of the crust.

Bread baked in a casserole dish

Bread baked in a casserole dish

Another piece of advice is to just have fun! Don’t get stressed about bread baking. Practice makes perfect and believe me I’ve thrown out more than a few loaves of bread that didn’t turn out right. You’ll be proud of the end result and it will all be worth it.

 

 

Easy Two hour French Bread

Here is another bread recipe that I use quite often. It is a lot faster, you don’t have to plan ahead, but you do have to knead it. But that’s okay. Some people are afraid of kneading. It’s not that bad. It’s a stress reliever for me. You basically just push and prod and twist and turn the dough for 5-10 minutes. Good forearm exercise 🙂

Image

 

Easy French Bread

3 cups flour

2 tsp yeast

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp sugar

2 tsp olive oil (optional, I like to add it to dough when I’ll be kneading it)

1 1/4 cup warm, not hot, water

 

1. Mix together the dry ingredients in a large bowl.

2. Pour in the olive oil and water. Stir in, reserving a little of the water. Even if it doesn’t look like the flour will be all incorporated, there’s moisture hiding in it.

3. Start mixing and kneading with your hands, adding more water if necessary. It shouldn’t be sticky and should be elastic by the time you’re done kneading.

4. Fold into a ball and place it into the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap so it doesn’t dry out and let it rise for 30-45 minutes.

5. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees, place a ceramic dish with a lid into the oven to preheat for 15 minutes.

6. You can either line your dish with parchment paper or a layer of cornmeal so the bread doesn’t stick. Then place your dough in the pot, put the lid back on and bake for 30 minutes.

 

7. Remove the lid and bake for 5 more minutes to brown the dough and remove from the oven.

Remember to wait for it to cool (at least a little) before you slice into it!

Easy two hour french bread

My tasty bread I made tonight!

Homemade no knead Bread Recipe

Image

 

This bread is absolutely delicious. Life-changing. Once you make it you’ll never go back to buying bread in a bag from a store.

You can make your own bread in just a few hours at home. I was led to believe that was only something famous French chefs and the good people at Panera were capable of. Until one day I found a bread recipe online that didn’t require a bread machine, any special know-how, and only uses a few ingredients. If you’re feeling apprehensive, I also wrote a blog on things to know before you bake bread.

I’ve experimented with several different recipes, some haven’t worked out, some have highly exceeded my expectations. Here is my favorite, basic recipe

3 cups flour

1 tsbp Kosher Salt (or 2 teaspoons table salt)

1/2 tsp yeast

1 1/2 cup warm water

That’s it.

Hot water can kill your yeast. It’s a living thing that thrives where it’s warm, but will die if it’s too hot. Be nice to your yeast 🙂

Start by mixing your salt, flour and yeast in a large bowl. Add your water and mix together.

Dough all mixed together and ready to rise

Dough all mixed together and ready to rise

Now cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit in a warm place (I like to put mine on top of the fridge) for 16-24 hours.

It will have risen and doubled in size. Now you want to preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

This bread is so good because it’s easy to make and the crust is perfectly crunchy. This happens by baking it in a covered dish. You can use an enamel cast iron pot, a casserole dish with a lid, basically anything big enough with a lid that can be baked at 450 degrees. I use a casserole dish with a lid. Put your dish of choice into the oven to preheat with the oven.

Now pour your dough onto a floured surface and shape it into a loaf. It’s going to be very sticky. After this, I put the dough onto parchment paper. It has to sit for 30 minutes or the bubbles in the yeast will smash and it won’t cook right in the oven.

Dough ready to bake! I used cornmeal under it with this batch so it wouldn't stick

Dough ready to bake! I used cornmeal under it with this batch so it wouldn’t stick

After your 30 minutes is up, remove the hot dish, place your parchment and dough inside, cover with a lid and pop it back into the oven. Set a timer for 30 minutes. Use your 30 minutes to get ready to feel super proud of yourself. Get your phone or camera charged so you can document your masterpiece. Alert the media.

After the 30 minutes, remove the lid. Set your timer for 15 minutes. Then remove your masterpiece. I highly recommend that you wait until it is cool to cut into it. I can hardly wait to cut into mine, but it really does turn out a lot better. The steam and heat inside continues to cook for a while, and if you cut into it early the heat is released and your bread turns out gummy. I know it’s hard to wait.

Isn’t it beautiful? You’re pretty special.

My bread right out of the oven

My bread right out of the oven

This bread is awesome alone, with butter, with olives, making it into grilled cheese, making turkey and cheese sandwiches with, pretty much anything and everything.

Grilled cheese made with homemade bread

Grilled cheese made with homemade bread

 

 

Sweet Honey Beer Bread

I am so excited I finally came up with a good beer bread recipe. Whenever I made beer bread, I could always taste a weird, sour, bittery taste in it and I couldn’t enjoy it. I don’t really like beer though so that’s probably why. Everyone has to experiment and figure out how they like their beer bread 🙂 The beer’s purpose is really so you don’t have to rise or proof or knead your bread, the yeast and bubbles in the beer do it for you. You can use any beer you like, my favorite with this recipe is Yuengling Light Lager.

Image

Sweet Honey Beer Bread

3 cups all purpose or self rising flour

1/2 cup white sugar or brown sugar

1 12-oz bottle of beer

3 tbsp. honey

1 tbsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Grease a 9×5 loaf pan
  3. Mix together dry ingredients in a large bowl, then add honey and slowly add the beer. Make sure everything’s combined but don’t mix too much, your bread will turn out really tough.
  4. Pour the batter into your pan and then pour the melted butter over top.
  5. Bake for 55-60 minutes. Like most things you’ll want it a nice golden brown 🙂 Insert a toothpick and when it comes out clean it’s done!
  6. Cutting into it while it’s piping hot will probably make it kind of gummy, because the steam escapes before it’s completely finished cooking, so if you can stand to wait until it’s cooled down a while, it’ll taste better. I usually can’t wait. It’s just soo good with a ton of butter.

 

20140501-172136.jpg

20140501-172227.jpg

My first post! Bread!

Hello!

My dough is currently on top of my oven rising right now. I didn’t really know what I was doing or use a specific recipe, so I’m not expecting my first few loaves to turn out great. But still, I’m excited.

I went to the store and bought unbleached flour and packets of dry active yeast. I think if I end up being a good bread baker, I’m going to get a brick of yeast because it’s a lot cheaper than the packets.

So then I mixed together 2 cups of warm (not hot!) water, 1 1/2 tbsp of table salt and the yeast. Then I added 4 (ish) cups of flour and mixed it together. It was a little too dry so I added more water and mixed again. Now it’s in a bowl covered with just a thin layer of plastic wrap, and has to rise there for 2 hours. I read that after the rise, it’s best to refrigerate the dough for a few hours because it’s easier to work with. I might do this and just bake the bread tomorrow (I also read the longer it sits the better tasting it is).

It’s been almost an hour and I don’t think it’s rising so I’m kind of worried. Eeek!

So for me, I like salty things. And I mean very salty. My favorite meal ever is Panera’s Baked potato soup with their french bread (my favorite bread ever!) with lots and lots of salt. Mmmm so good. So with my bread baking, “A lot like Panera’s” is my goal. I like eating their bread plain, with soup, with green olives (so yummy!) or with a sandwich. When my bread baking is refined, I can’t wait to eat a turkey, cheese, lettuce, red onion and ranch sandwich. Mmm.

Depending on how this bread turns out, I’m thinking about making a sour dough starter. My uncle has tried this, but the dough was gummy and needed a lot of salt– and not just for my tastes– it was weird. I know they take a lot of work–days time as well as feeding the yeast daily. We shall see.

I also can’t decide if I want to bake my bread in the oven or in the crockpot. I found awesome recipes for both, and have found out that the trick for oven-baking bread is to steam it right as the loaf goes in. This is done with ice in a pan under the bread or by throwing water on the oven floor and quickly shutting the door. We shall see.

We are also grilling chicken and asparagus tonight! I am very excited. That’s all for now! I’ll update soon 🙂

UPDATE
So my bread actually rose a lot! Almost twice the original size. I let it sit out for about 2.5 hours and then took about half of it and placed it on a floured piece of foil in my crockpot. Set crockpot on high. Set timer. Sit and wait. We’ll see! I guess this is the test of whether I did things right or if I didn’t.

Anyway, other half went in my fridge to bake maybe tomorrow, or to throw out if the first batch is really bad.

UPDATE #2

My Bread is actually good!!! I am seriously one happy woman. Here’s what I did (mostly so I don’t forget):

Bake in crockpot about an hour and a half, until bread is firm. I didn’t really know if it was done or not here but when I was taking it out a small piece clung to the foil. I tried it and it was good. So then I put it (foil and all) onto a pan in the oven on the broil setting for about 10 or 15 minutes until it’s brown.. I did put a tray of ice under it for steam. We’ll see how this works.

It didn’t rise as much as I thought it would but my dough was really watery to begin with; it spread more out than up, which makes it sort of flat and round but still edible. I am so proud.

The ONE thing I would change for next time is spraying the foil underneath. It stuck to the bottom crust and I had to peel it off. Next time, a little spray of Pam will fix it for sure. And maybe a little less salt. So delicious.