I love cinnamon. It’s one of the greatest spices, in my humble opinion. This bread is so deliciously satisfying – you can eat it on its own right out of the oven, or slice it up for a peanut butter sandwich. You can make amazing french toast with it, or even roll the dough out to make the most incredible homemade cinnamon rolls you’ve ever tasted.
This recipe is from James Beard’s book, Beard On Bread. It was published in 1973 and I got a hold of a copy that someone had left on a community give-away bookshelf! It’s a beautiful book, and if you ever get your hands on one, make sure you keep it!
This bread is light, soft, and fluffy. The crust has a bit of a crunch, but nothing hard to eat and it melts the second you put it in your mouth. The best part is, while you’re painfully waiting the 30 minutes for it to bake (yes, only 30 minutes! It seems a lot longer when you’re waiting…) your whole house will smell incredible.
This recipe does take some time for the bread to rise – you want to make sure your temperatures stay warm enough for the yeast to activate. Do this first by making sure your water is hot on your finger – warm at first and then gets hot as it stays in the cup. It should not burn though – then the water will be too hot for the yeast. Second, make sure when you add in the milk – it’s not simmering still – when the butter is 1/2 way melted, take the pot off the heat and stir until the butter is fully melted. By this point, the milk should be as warm as your yeast water, but not too hot. Finally – make sure that you can set your bread to rise in a warm, area without a draft. A window on a sunny day is great for this. The warmer it is the faster the bread will rise.
Based on a recipe by James Beard from Beard on Bread
2 Package Active Dry Yeast (or ~2 Tbsp if you have it in bulk)
1/3 Cup Brown Sugar
3/4 Cup Warm Water (110 – 115 F approx. it should be hot on your finger, not burning but not lukewarm either)
1 1/4 Cups Almond Milk, or regular milk if preferred
1 1/2 Tbsp Salt
1/2 Stick Butter
1 1/2 Tbsp Cinnamon (use less if you’d like a more delicate spice level)
5 cups AP Flour
- Heat the water, add in the sugar, and then the yeast. Stir well to incorporate and set aside until yeast becomes foamy (~10 minutes).
- Meanwhile, heat the milk, add in the salt, and the 1/2 stick of butter. When butter is 1/2-3/4 melted, remove from heat and stir until butter is completely dissolved. Make sure the milk is not too hot or it will kill the yeast (it should be the same temperature as the hot water you started with or cooler)
- Add the cinnamon to the milk mixture. Pour both the milk mixture and the yeast mixture into a mixer.
- Using the dough hook attachment, Add in the flour 1 cup at a time, scraping down the bowl as needed after each addition. Add in up to 5 cups. The dough should no longer stick to the side of the mixing bowl. remove the dough from bunching up on the dough hook as needed. If your mixer is small, once the dough is formed, divide in half and mix on low for 10 minutes each half.
- The dough should be smooth and elastic. Place into a buttered container and turn the dough around to lightly coat with butter to prevent sticking. Cover with plastic or a towel and set in a warm space until doubled in size.
- Punch down the dough and divide into 2 pieces (if not done so already) shape into loaves that will fit 2 8x4x2 tins, or whatever you have on hand. Make sure they are buttered as well to prevent sticking.
- Preheat oven to 425 F.
- Cover dough loosely and let rise again until doubled in size.
- Place in preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes and then turn down the temperature to 350F. Bake for another 20 minutes. The loaves should sound hollow when knocked on top.
- Make sure to cool completely before slicing.