Thursday, February 24, 2011

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

The other day I began my morning with my typical oatmeal. I scanned the day's news and weather, and a social networking site. A friend posted a video of some people who had been caretakers of a lion in its youth. The lion was then returned to its natural habitat. The caretakers planned a trip and a year later tried to visit their lion friend. They had been warned that their lion friend was no longer going to respond to them as he was now a leader in his pride. After locating the pride, the reunion was everything the past caretakers hoped it would be. This short video put to music had me dropping huge tears in my oatmeal. As I sat alone in my house, crying in my oatmeal, I wondered if I should be the caretaker of a baby lion rescued from a crowded zoo. Then when the lion became too big for my back yard and was sent to Africa, I could visit. And the lion would run to me and love me.

Or maybe I should just make some bread instead ;)
(Think Jane’s Rolls with a twist.)

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Combine and let set until foamy:
2 c. warm milk
1/2 c. sugar
1 T yeast
Beat in:
1 stick butter
2 tsp. salt
2 slightly beaten eggs
3 c. bread flour
Put on dough hook, and add:
3+ more cups of bread flour (until it makes soft dough)

Knead 7 minutes with dough hook attachment. Place in greased bowl, let rise 1+ hours, or until more than double. Punch down, divide into loaf size (6-7 mini loaves- probably 3 mid size and 2 full size), cover and let rest 10 minutes. Roll each piece out to 1/4 inch thick and brush generously with water; heavily sprinkle with cinnamon sugar (I made up 1 ½ cups for this recipe and used it all). Roll from small end and place in loaf pan, seam side down, let rise 45-60 minutes. Brush melted butter on loaves and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-40 minutes (depending on size).

This bread reminds me of home. Mom knew it was my favorite. Years ago, we lived a short two hour drive from mom. I liked to give her enough advance notice of a potential visit so that she’d have time to make some bread. I would come hungry and polish off half a loaf while we caught up- standing in the kitchen just inches away from another slice and another story about what adventures the boys (ages 2 and 4) had been up to. I miss living close enough to my parents to visit often, but I’m grateful for flavors that take me there- even if only for a moment.

Curious about the video that made me cry? Click here.

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