I don’t know if I could live in a world without bread. Whether it be the smell of freshly baked bread or admiring the endless shapes and flavours it can assume, bread really is one of my favourite foods. And I must confess, some days you still really can’t beat butter and vegemite on a piece of fresh white bread, which in winter I usually enhance by putting it in the microwave for 20 seconds to get all warm. Mmmmmm….
But back to this months Daring Bakers Challenge which was to take bread and shape it into something a little fancy. If you follow me on Pinterest, you will see on my bread board I have a few fancy shaped breads which are on my “to do” list. For this challenge, I stuck with one of the provided recipes which was for a cinnamon sweet bread as you know how much I love cinnamon.
Beauty surrounded the Daring Bakers this month as our host, Sawsan, of Chef in Disguise, challenged us to make beautiful, filled breads. Who knew breads could look as great as they taste?
This is a similar process to that of my cinnamon scrolls, which the hubby admitted was actually his favourite out of the two, so if you have made them you’re ready to rock so grab some water, milk, an egg, butter, sugar, salt, flour and yeast. If you like you can also add ¼ teaspoon of cardamom to the dough, but I didn’t have any so I omitted it.
The milk and water need to be warm, but not too hot, and are then whisked together with the egg, sugar, butter and yeast. Set this aside until the yeast is nice and foamy.
Sift together the dry ingredients and once the yeast has activated, add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. You will need to knead until you get a nice smooth dough. If you are
lazy efficient like myself, you can use a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook to do the work for you.
Once the dough is done, place it into a clean bowl brushed with some oil then cover and place in a warm spot until it doubles in size.
When the dough has risen, turn it out and grab a little bit of dough (a small handful – I kept too much) and set it aside then split the remainder in to four pieces. You don’t have to have that little extra bit if you so choose as it will just be used to make a little coil to place on the middle of the bread once assembled. Completely up to you (I am still in two minds as to whether I liked the coil so you be the judge when you get to the photos below).
You will need to prepare the filling which is simply butter, which has been melted, plus cinnamon and sugar that have been mixed together.
Roll a piece of the dough into a circle at least 20cm in diameter, brush with the melted butter and then sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar. My OCD came out again and I divided the cinnamon sugar into three portions so it would be relatively even when sprinkling it across each layer. I did find there was quite a lot overall and didn’t end up using the entire amount.
Repeat this step with the second and third layers of dough.
When it comes time to place the final piece of dough on top, simply brush it with melted butter. Now as you can see, my layers were not very circular so I took a dinner plate and cut around it with a pizza cutter, so as not to drag the dough, to make it pretty again.
Again using the pizza cutter, or a knife, cut the layers into eight triangles.
In the centre of each triangle, make a cut that make up 2/3 of the triangle but leave a gap at the top and the bottom as you don’t want to cut them into smaller triangles.
Now it’s time to get fancy! Grab a triangle and insert the tip into the cut and pull it through the underside.
Continue this process for the remaining seven triangles and arrange them on a baking sheet.
How awesome does that look. The next step is to pinch the ends together. I pinched the dough about half way which resulted in it looking like a paper aeroplane, but you can also pinch them together at the corner of each triangle, or not at all… whatever floats your boat. As mentioned before, you can finish off the centre by placing a small coil of dough over the centre where the pieces join.
I also rolled the trimmings together, cut them into slices and baked them with the cinnamon sweet bread.
Brush everything with milk then allow to rest for 15 minutes whilst the oven heats up. Bake in a very hot oven, 240°C for 5 minutes, then drop the temperature to 200°C and continue to cook for 15-20 minute or until the underside is golden brown.
About five minutes after you have taken it out of the oven, you can drizzle it with some sweetened condensed milk whilst it is still warm (I didn’t this time).
One of the great things about this is that each section pulls apart quite easily so makes it really good to share, no cutting necessary.