Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Orange Cinnamon Swirl Bread

“Sharing is caring”, so it’s convenient when bread recipes yield two loaves.  Yet, when each gooey slice melts in your mouth to a citrusy sweetness, sharing starts to seem a bit too generous.  I want it all.  Unfortunately you cannot hide the evidence with bread.   You do not need to see a dusting of flour or a preheating oven.  The olfactory sense is the great detective in this case.  A baking loaf is a ticking-tummy-time-bomb.  About the time the buzzer dings, a group of entranced people have gathered around the oven door.  Our noses tingle as we search out the source of that saccharine smell; a near primal urge.  I have been known to devour an entire loaf fresh from the oven.  It’s just that good.  It even won me a first place blue ribbon when I made it in my Brownie troop oh so many years ago…
Like most homemade bread recipes, the process is involved; demanding that it be made only on special occasions.  But that would be a tragedy.  Orange and cinnamon invigorate the senses without weighing down the airiness of the bread, making it a perfect complement to any meal.  The frosty icing on top would have you thinking it is a cake, but be assured that the texture is that of a sweet bread, not a pound cake.
Reluctantly, I shared the second loaf; though I only saw about two pieces of it.  Apparently it was enough to quell the sweet-starved belly beasts of more than one person.  So whether you are preparing something for a Sunday brunch, afternoon tea, or dessert, Orange Cinnamon Swirl is sure to impress any company.  

Orange Cinnamon Swirl Bread
6 cups bread flour, approximately
2 packages dry yeast or 4 ½ tsp
1/3 cup nonfat dry milk
½ cup granulated sugar
1 ½ tsp salt
1 ¼ cups hot water (120-130˚)
¼ cup ( ½ stick) butter, room temperature
 1 T grated orange peel
¾ cup orange juice
1 egg, room temperature
1 T ground cinnamon mixed ½ cup sugar
2 T water
1+ cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp grated orange peel
4 tsp orange juice

1.       Measure 2 cups flour into a large mixing bowl and add the dry ingredients.  
2.       Pour in hot water and stir vigorously to blend into thin batter. 
3.       Add the butter, orange peel, orange juice, and egg.
4.       Add flour, ½ cup at a time.  Stir until shaggy mass that is workable on floured surface with hands.
5.       Knead for about 8 minutes by hand.  Add flour to achieve desired moisture content – should not stick to hands or be too dry.
6.       Place dough in lightly greased bowl (use vegetable/canola oil), turning the dough to be covered on all sides.
7.       Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and put aside in warm place to rise until it has doubled in bulk – about 1 hour. 
8.       Fold back plastic wrap, punch down dough.
9.       Turn onto floured surface and divide into two pieces.  Cover with wax paper and let rest for about 10 min. 
10.   Roll each piece into a 15”x7” rectangle, about ½” thick. 
11.   Use a spray bottle with water to wet the dough, then sprinkle cinnamon/sugar mixture on top.  Spray again to smooth out texture. 
12.   Roll dough from the narrow side.  Seal the edges by pinching tightly along the seams.  Tuck in the ends and place seam down in bread pans. 
13.   Cover the pans with wax paper and let stand until the dough has doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.
14.   Preheat oven to 375˚ 20 minutes before baking.
15.   Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325˚ and bake for 30 minutes more, or until the loaves are nicely browned and test done when tapped (sound should be hard and hollow).
16.   Remove loaves from oven, let cool on rack. Then ice with the frosting.
Makes 2 (decadent) loaves

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