Cinnamon Sunshine

I once read a really important article, noting that a blogger should never apologise for prolonged or even a moderate absence. In most cases it’s not a bloggers job to blog, to have people read and enjoy their work. They gain no money and most are in a situation where they need some sort of income, like me. But still, I find myself realising that I may have broken this rule on numerous occasions since I began blogging in 2006. I don’t know if it’s particularly to the few of you that are my regular readers, or more of a conscious cuss at myself for not writing as much as I think I should be writing. Either way I still do it, a constant reminder that I am no longer a student, and I miss no longer continuously writing in some form or other. 

Today, I am going to keep to this rule and say that I have simply been busy frolicking around in the sunshine to stay inside and write on my laptop. Okay, that’s kind of a lie, i’m relatively fair-skinned so I had keep bobbing in and out to stop myself from burning. Which kind of happened anyway. But still!  

My post today is about summer, it’s about bold flavours, gallivanting around eating ice cream, enjoying the heat and not shivering when you get out of the shower. If you’re reading from somewhere exotic this doesn’t really apply, but there’s something massively satisfying about getting out of the shower, and not making a mad dash to your towel for warmth.

A few weeks ago I had a bit of craziness for cinnamon. A really massive, heady craving for it. I made my cinnamon popcorn but, while it was glorious, it did not sate my lust. So as I was peering through the masses of submissions on Foodgawker, I came across the beauty of cinnamon pull-apart bread. Oh my. 

I’m going to include this recipe today for you with a little note. I literally picked the first recipe I found that looked about right. I tweaked it a little bit as I was making it because it turned out a little different then it was described. When I first started researching cinnamon bread I was under the impression that it was going to be floppy and pretty much like a soft-baked pretzel. If you are looking for that kind of recipe, this is not it! It’s utterly delectable in it’s own right, soft and light bread and more like a traditional cinnamon bun/brioche. 

Cinnamon Bun Pull-Apart Bread
makes 8 mini loaves/buns or one full loaf.
450g plain flour
50g caster sugar
1 sachet active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
50g unsalted butter
115ml whole milk
2 medium eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons butter
Ground Cinnamon
Ground nutmeg
Caster Sugar

NB: If you’ve ever made bread before, the process of making the dough is very similar! 

– Activate the yeast by emptying the yeast into a little bowl and adding a few tablespoons of warm water (not too hot!). Leave it for a few minutes to activate!
– In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 350g of the flour, sugar, yeast and salt. Set aside to chill out for a bit. Whisk the eggs in a separate bowl and leave to the side too.
– In a small saucepan, melt the butter and mix it together with the milk. Take it off the heat and add the vanilla. Leave it to cool a little!
– Pour the slightly cooled mixture into the dry ingredients and mix in well. If you have a mixer with dough hooks, use it now, it’ll make it a little easier. Add the eggs in one by one, it’ll be a little bit soupy, but keep mixing, it’ll come together. 
– Add the last remaining bit of flour and mix again until it comes together in a sticky dough. If it’s still really runny, it doesn’t hurt to add a little more flour, just don’t go too crazy. It needs to be sticky!
– Grease a separate bowl, scrape all the dough from one bowl to the greased one, cover in cling film and leave it to rise for about an hour somewhere warm. Until it’s doubled in size.
– While it’s rising prepare the filling, melt the butter in a pan. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C (fan).
– Get the dough out of the greased bowl, knead it a little and deflate the dough. On a lightly floured service, roll out the dough until it’s about 1cm thick. Leave it for 5 minutes to rise a little, and then brush on the melted butter.
– Sprinkle lots of cinnamon, a little nutmeg and lots and lots of sugar!
– If you want cinnamon buns, roll it up length-ways and cut it about 1″ thick, so you get the classic swirl, if you want pull-apart bread, cut it into squares and pile upright into a greased loaf tin (or mini ones if you have them like me). Leave them to rise one more time for about 5 minutes – lightly covered with cling film or a clean dry tea towel.
– Bake for about 20 minutes for a mini loaf  or buns, 30-40 minutes for a full loaf.

While this bread it lovely and light, it does need to be eaten on the day you make it. It’ll still last until the next day really, but it’s perfect on the first day. Please, now. Go and gorge yourself on all the bready goodness. I hope you enjoy this summery treat.