Monday, December 14, 2009
What a glorious weekend, aside from the ice-rain attack that Mother Nature waged on western PA yesterday. Luckily, I didn't have anywhere to be so the day was spent napping, baking and cooking, eating, and watching Christmas movies. Breads, cakes, cookies, soups... heck yes. I have lots of recipes for the next week or two! Oh, and I think the highlight was getting calls from two friends that used recipes found here to have their very own (successful!) culinary adventures. I'm so happy that I've convinced two self-professed kitchen phobics that they can cook :)
This recipe comes from my good friend Becca, who got it from her mom and, from there, it's a mystery. So, to make things easy, I'm going to call this recipe "Becca's Mom's Cinnamon Bread". Alternate titles also include "Hey-I'll-do-an-exercise-video-while-making-this Bread" and, my personal favorite, "Screw-aerobics!-Just turn-on-Food-Network-and-do-jumping-jacks-while-making-this Bread". (Note: This was not meant to offend any aerobic fanatics. I, personally, have no coordination and couldn't even make it through the warm-up -- no joke. Honestly, this lady must have 20 years of dance training. And I'm pretty sure her ponytail is giving her a face-lift as she does this video. Ridiculous.) And this is an easy bread. No special flours required, and you can do it easily without a mixer.
The first time I made this I used it for French toast the next day. Holy amazing, I highly recommend this! The slices of bread will be smaller than traditional bread, but the richness makes up for the size. Also a nice loaf of this wrapped up makes a great gift. Happy eating!
Becca's Mom's Cinnamon Bread
-makes one 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf (you can also use a 9x5 pan)
1 1/4 cup warm water (105-115 degrees F)
1 package active dry yeast
2 Tbsp soft shortening (I used Crisco)
2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup brown sugar
Pour water in large bowl of an electric mixer. Add yeast and stir gently with a spatula/spoon until dissolved. Add shortening, salt, granulated sugar, and half (1 1/2 cups) of the flour to the water/yeast mixture. Beat 2 minutes on medium speed with bread hook, or 300 strokes by hand. Scrape bowl frequently. Add remaining flour (1 1/2 cups) and stir by hand until just blended.
Cover bowl with kitchen towel, and let rise in a warm place (I sat the bowl on top of my stove) until doubled, about 30 minutes. Mix brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl, and set aside for later use. Grease 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pan (metal or glass will work) liberally and set aside.
When dough has doubled, stir down batter by beating about 25 strokes. You'll hear little "puffs" of air leaving the batter. This is a good sign! Stir in brown sugar cinnamon mixture, incorporating but be careful not to overmix. This will give you swirls of cinnamon in the finished bread. Spread batter (it will be sticky and a bit stiff, do not panic) into greased pan. Let rise in a warm place again, until batter reaches 1/4" from top of the pan, about 40 minutes. Heat oven to 375F.
Bake bread 45-50 minutes or until cake tester inserted in middle comes out relatively clean (there will probably be some cinnamon/sugar on it). Cool pan on rack for 20 minutes. Run a clean knife around the edge of the pan, loosening up the loaf, and turn out onto rack to cool completely out of pan. Optional: Using pastry brush, brush top of loaf lightly with melted butter. Will keep up to a week in plastic wrap or closed container.