Funky AND impressive looking while still relatively easy to put together, this is a tasty treat you can serve guests or family and pile up the accolades. And it makes the house smell great.
As there are several blogs out there with the step-by-step in photos, I’ll simply leave you to visit them to see the process; I’m adding lots of yummy photos and links at the end. The recipe below should still be a great guide to making this a go-to treat in your own home. I’ve included a gram and ounce conversion based on volume equivalent tables I’ve been able to find online.
|446 g||15.7 oz||3 1/2 C||All Purpose flour (2 3/4 C + more as needed)|
|53 g||2 oz||1/4 C||granulated sugar|
|6 g||0.2 oz||2 1/4 tsp||instant dry yeast (one pkg.)|
|2 g||0.07 oz||1/2 tsp||salt|
|56 g||2 oz||1/4 C||unsalted butter|
|75 g||2.6 oz||1/3 C||milk|
|56 g||2 oz||1/4 C||cool water|
|4 g||0.14 oz||1 tsp||pure vanilla extract|
|100 g||3.5 oz||2||2 large eggs, room temp. (weight without shell)|
TIP: To get cold eggs from the fridge to room temp quickly, place them in a bowl and cover them with ‘almost hot’ tap water before getting on with other prep. By the time you need them, they’ll have warmed up significantly.
|226 g||8 oz||1 C||granulated sugar|
|4 g||0.14 oz||2 tsp||cinnamon|
|1 g||0.04 oz||1/2 tsp||ground nutmeg|
|56 g||2 oz||1/4 C||unsalted butter|
In a large bowl, combine 350 grams (12.3 oz, 2-3/4 cups) of the flour – save the rest for later! – with the sugar, yeast and salt; whisk together and set aside.
In a small saucepan, add the milk and butter and heat just until the butter is mostly melted. No need to boil so don’t fire this up too high. Take off the heat and stir until all the butter melts. Add the cool water and vanilla extract. Set aside until this milk mixture is between 115°F and 125°F (46°C - 51°C); the cool water should help it get there faster.
Slowly pour the cooled milk mixture into the flour and stir with a spatula or, if using a mixer, mix using the dough hook on low speed.
Add the eggs and mix until the eggs are incorporated into the batter. This may take a bit of time to achieve. Your batter will be somewhat runny, like cake batter. Adding just a tablespoon at a time, add some of the remaining flour slowly just until you have a sticky but stiffer dough. You might not use all of it.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, adding just a bit more flour if it’s TOO sticky. Tacky is good. (What’s the difference?) You don’t want it too dry; wetter is better.
Total time so far should be about 15-20 minutes.
When the dough is where you want it, form it into a ball, place it into an oiled bowl and cover with cling film or a damp towel. Leave it in a warm area for about 1 hour, until it has almost doubled in volume.
BREAK POINT: If preparing this dough for tomorrow’s breakfast, you can put it in the fridge overnight once it has doubled. Just be sure to let it warm for about 30-40 minutes before continuing the next day.
While the dough rises (or is warming back up):
Put the second lump of butter into a small saucepan (the one used for milk will be fine after a quick rinse) and heat up until the butter starts to turn brown and smells nutty. Set aside to cool a bit.
In a bowl, mix the remaining sugar with the cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.
Grease and flour a 9 in x 5 in bread pan (if anyone knows what an equivalent “standard” metric pan size would be, please post a comment below) and set aside.
Now back to the dough.
Turn the ball of dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently deflate as you start shaping it into a rectangle. Then use a rolling pin to make a rectangle about 12 in x 24 in (30 cm X 60 cm). It doesn’t need to be exact but you might want to nab a ruler the first couple of time you make this to get an idea what that size is like. It’s not mandatory to be perfectly straight and square cornered here. Clean the counter and wipe away any stray flour from around the dough rectangle.
Butter it up:
Use a pastry brush to generously apply a good coating of the now cooled butter to the rolled out dough. Drizzle some out of the pan and spread it; you likely won’t use up all the butter but should end up using most of it; your dough will be very shiny and wet looking.
Next, take the sugar and cinnamon mix and spread it out over the entire sheet of buttered dough, using all the sugar and getting pretty much right to the edges.
You didn’t think this was a diet treat, I hope.
Using a pizza wheel, slice the dough rectangle into six equal strip lengthwise. No need to cut with lots of pressure here; it’s soft dough and you don’t have to gouge into your countertop. The strips will be about 2 in (5 cm) wide. Carefully lift each strip and stack it on top of the next until you’vce stacked all six of them up. Collect any spilled sugar mix and spread back it out onto the top strip – this is why we brushed away the spare flour earlier.
Cut the stacked strips into six equal pieces so you now have six stacks with six layers, about 2 in x 2 in (5 x 5 cm). Again, perfection is not the goal here.
Take each short square stack and put them into the greased bread pan on their edges until you’ve put/crammed all six stacks in, looking like a messy accordion. Being just 2 in wide on average, they won’t fill a 5 in wide pan totally but will have plenty of space to expand and wiggle. Collect and sprinkle any left behind cinnamon sugar over the dough.
Total work time since the break: 15-20 minutes.
Set the pan aside, covered with plastic cling film, in a warm place to do a final proof. The dough should be ready in about 35 minutes or until they’ve almost doubled in size.
While the dough stack is proofing, place the oven rack is in the center position and pre-heat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
Once the final proofing is done, put the pan in the middle of the oven and bake for 30 to 45 minutes, until the tops are golden to nutty brown. If the slices start to get too dark too soon, put a tent of aluminum foil over it to let it cook without burning all those exposed bits. The finished colour should be a deep golden brown. If it’s too pale, you chance that the inside will be uncooked. You can check the internal temp is about 195°F – 205°F (90°C-96°C) with a probe thermometer to be sure.
Once the loaf is baked, place the pan on a wire rack to cool 20 or so minutes. Then release the loaf from the pan using a small knife around the sides and gently extrude the bread from the pan. Put a plate on top of the bread then flip upside down to pull the pan off. Place the serving plate on top of the now exposed bottom and flip back around.
To Serve or Protect?
Serve warm. Can serve 4 to 6 people, or just two if no one is watching. If there are leftovers – LOL! – they can be wrapped and kept at room temp (never put bread in the fridge) and served the next day. It is said this bread can last up to two days, although it’s highly unlikely anyone has been able to test out this theory.
How much time should you put aside to make this? I guestimate the total is about 3.5 hours or, if you split it with a night prep and morning bake, 1 hour and 30 minutes at night and 2 hr 20 minutes (due to extra warming up time) the next morning. A fair bit of that time, 2.5 hours is ‘waiting’ for proofing, baking and cooling.
Where can you find step-by-step photos of this bread in progress?
Joy the Baker used the original version and switched it up to cinnamon.
Our fellow Mellow Baker, the lovely and talented Natashya of Living In The Kitchen With Puppies was the one who inspired me to give these a go with her gorgeous version.