A Recipe: Cinnamon Swirl Bread

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Looks good, right? Like so good I practically finished off the loaf myself. Sure, I let the kids have a slice but I didn’t offer them anymore and I sort of hid the loaf out of the way…for me.

But here’s my problem with bread baking. I often find that I can’t be home for the 4 hours it takes to mix, knead, let rise, form, rise again, bake, and finely eat. I’ve had the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day for a number of years now and have had great success with the recipes. Basically on day one you mix all the ingredients together without kneading and let the dough rise for 2 hours. Then you pop it in the refrigerator overnight. The next day is when you rip off a chunk of dough, because the recipe makes about 3-4 loaves, form it, let it do its second rising, and bake. Pretty simple, not overly time-consuming, and the results are good…eat the whole loaf yourself good.

So the other day when I just had to have cinnamon swirl bread, but I didn’t want to be house bound for the afternoon, I looked to my cookbook for a good white bread loaf recipe and adapted it for cinnamon swirl bread. And a bonus, I still have 2 loaves worth of dough in the refrigerator begging to be used up. One, definitely for another loaf of cinnamon-y goodness, and the other a basic white sandwich loaf.

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Cinnamon Swirl Bread
(recipe adapted from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day)
This recipe makes enough for 3 loaves
3 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 Tbls yeast
1 1/2 Tbls kosher salt
2 Tbls sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
7 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

Filling
2 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg beaten with a splash of water

1. Mix the water, yeast, salt, sugar, and melted butter in a large bowl. I use the bowl of my Kitchen Aid mixer.
2. Mix in the flour using just a spoon and maybe a wet hand to incorporate the last bit of flour. Don’t go crazy mixing and kneading. The dough will look really wet. It’s perfect.
3. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and set in a nice warm spot to rise for approximately 2 hours. Then pop it in the refrigerator for when you’re ready to use, up to 7 days.
4. On baking day dust with flour the surface of the dough and pull off a 1 1/2 pound piece. Using a little more flour to help shape it into a ball. Use a rolling-pin on a floured surface to roll the dough out to an 8×16 inch rectangle.
5. Use a pastry brush to cover dough will the egg wash. Mix together the sugar in cinnamon and sprinkle mixture over the dough, reserve a little for the top.
6. Starting on short side, roll the it up like a jelly roll. That’s what makes the nice swirl effect after cutting. Pinch the edge and tuck the ends under.
7. Place loaf in a lightly greased nonstick loaf pan. Let rise for 1 – 1 1/2 hours.
8. Right before baking, brush on a little more of the egg wash and the left over cinnamon sugar mixture.
9. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
10. Remove from pan to let cool…and I dare you not to cut a slice while it’s still hot. It won’t look pretty, but it will be so delicious.

 

I’ve linked to Natural Suburbia’s Creative Friday…go see what other’s are doing.

Knitting for Sanity

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Yesterday I woke up to the sounds of a giggling little girl and a purring kitty. It was very sweet and once I opened my eyes the little girl planted a big, wet kiss on my nose. We laughed and played with the cat for a few minutes. Sorry the picture isn’t that great, but Bella’s expression is hilarious.
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But then by the end of the day, another Monday off from school, my patients was running thin and I needed something to keep me busy and not nag the kids. So of course I reached for the needles and quick project, a hat made with beautiful Noro Silk Garden. The project was so fast and just what I needed. I knit about half of it last night, completed in a few rows before I hit the gym this morning, and it was finished by lunch. Just in time for Sarah (and Fozzy Bear) to model.

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I’m linking up to Frontier Dreams Keep Calm Craft On. Check it out to see what others are creating this week.

Beach Day!

We spent part of the weekend exploring the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve during low tide. It’s such an amazing place and I feel so lucky to have it just an hour drive away. Last spring when we visited a volunteer had set up a telescope to watch a Harbor Seal give birth. We didn’t have anything quite as exciting this time, but we still had a beautiful day.

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We came home wet, tired, and happy…it was a good day.

Yarn Along

I’ve been working on the Perpetua Shawl on and off for a few weeks. I like the look of the shawl and I love the yarn, Madelinetosh Merino Light, but each row takes forever to knit so I find myself only able to manage a row per day at most.  With the 70+ degree temperatures we’ve seen around here lately, I don’t think I’ll be able to wear the shawl this season. Fingers crossed for cooler temps and much needed rain.

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I’m also reading Song of the Spirits by Sarah Lark. It’s the sequel to In the Land of the Long White Clouds following the lives of colonial families in New Zealand. It’s an enjoyable, light read after finishing Ken Follett’s nearly 1,000 page Winter of the World, which was totally engrossing and fabulous. Daniel and I are also busy reading the third book in the Harry Potter series. Daniel loves them, which is good enough for me, but I’m a little tired of reading about “you know who”…only 5 more to go I think!

Join Ginny at Small Things to see what others are knitting and reading this week.

In need of a little love

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The kids were off from school today to honor Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. I was happy to ease back into the week and a Valentine’s Day craft seemed like the perfect project for a lazy morning at home. I was inspired by this post from the Artful Parent. Here’s what we did:

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First we drew some hearts in various Valentine-like colors with crayons. Sarah didn’t use much pressure so I think oil pastels would have been a better choice for really having the hearts stand out.

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Then we used a wash of water colors over the whole piece of paper. I was trying to steer her in the direction of pinks and purples but big brother was busy painting a black and gold dragon so Sarah felt more inspired to go in that direction. And it worked out beautifully. So often I have a set idea of how a project should go and what the end result should look like and my kids always take me out of that comfort zone and show me it’s okay to let go. It’s about the process and enjoying watching my kids’ creativity shine.

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After the paintings dried we put a thin coat of oil on the back to give the painting a beautiful translucent quality.  I didn’t really want an oily mess on my windows so I decided to freehand cut hearts and then strung them up on some red yarn. The hearts are hanging in the front window with the glorious winter light illuminating them.  Just the pick me up I needed to start the week.

Check out Frontier Dreams Keep Calm Craft On to see what others are crafting up this week.

Weekend

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The weather in the Bay Area has been truly stellar the past week. I cannot believe it’s mid January with temperatures in the 60s and 70s. To take advantage of the warmth and no kids this weekend, I pulled the chairs onto a sunny patch in the grass and enjoyed my book and cup of tea with the chickens. While my book, Song of the Spirits, is good, I found myself very distracted by the antics of the three girls…they are endlessly entertaining, as I’m sure anyone with chickens will tell you.

This reminds me that while cleaning up my son’s room yesterday, I found one of Cutie’s eggs tucked in among his art supplies. (I also found an egg on my gray chair with his stuffed snake coiled around to keep it warm earlier in the week.) I texted his dad to see how long it’s been in his room. His response was, “probably for a week or two…” That poor kid wants to hatch an egg so badly even though I’ve explained to him many times that we need a rooster in order for that to happen and even then the egg needs to be kept warm by the hen. But it got me to thinking that maybe this spring attempting to hatch some eggs might be a exciting experiment. Definitely need to look into that a bit more. I have a feeling I’ll need to order 10+ eggs and then what? Not sure the neighbors want to hear 15 chickens clucking around.