This bread is simply amazing. It’s also shockingly simple to make. Let me explain….the dough for this bread is another variation on my original baguette dough. If you missed that recipe you can find it here. When I developed that original recipe I was looking for a versatile dough that would not just yield passable results in all of the variations but would yield excellent results period. I worked on that recipe for 4 months to get it right. This cinnamon caramel swirl bread with butter crumb crust is definitely a treat. The butter mixes with the brown sugar to form a cinnamon scented caramel with hints of vanilla. The butter crumb streusel send this bread right one the top. All without being overly sweet because the dough is not sweetend.
Another feature of the bread that makes it special is the way it is formed. This bread is not just rolled up and baked. This bread is given the “babka” treatment which causes the swirls to be irregular with the crisp streusel trapped in the outer bands of the caramel. The scent of this bread baking is really the best form of aroma therapy one can ask for.
Now, to get started please click on the link above and make the baguette dough all the way up to the first rise for one hour (or until fully doubled). I’ll just wait here…….in my head right now is that music from the jeopardy show……anyway…
Let’s bake some bread!
Cinnamon Caramel Swirl Bread with Butter Crumb Crust
for the streusel:
1 stick of cold butter
2/3 cup all purpose flour
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon (please use fresh ground cinnamon, if its old it has little to no flavor)
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (I make my own vanilla, but the store bought stuff works just fine as long as its real vanilla extract)
For the bread and filling
2/3 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons soft butter separated into 2 tablespoons and 1 tablespoon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoon fresh ground cinnamon
Here we go…….
First make the streusel. Add all of the dry ingredients to a bowl. Then add the butter and vanilla. With a fork or your fingers work the mixture together to form nice streusel crumbs.
Set the streusel aside, we will be back for it shortly.
For the bread…
Once your dough has risen for an hour and has doubled in size you are ready to form the loaf. No worries, this is easy….
Start with your ball of dough, you will lightly flour your board. Next you will roll the dough out into a relative rectangle…
Next you will smear the 2 tablespoons of butter all over the dough except for the top inch or so. This will allow you to seal the dough when its rolled.
Once the butter is smeared sprinkle the brown sugar all over the butter as evenly as possible. Once you have sprinkled the sugar you then evenly sprinkle the ground cinnamon.
Next, cut the last tablespoon of butter into tiny pieces and scatter them over the sugar cinnamon layer. Lastly, drizzle the teaspoon of vanilla over the butter/sugar/cinnamon layer.
Now very gently roll your rolling pin over the butter/sugar layer. the butter will probably stick to the pin, if it does re-scatter the butter over the now flattened sugar layer. This process helps the whole thing hold together much better, making it easier to roll.
Next, roll up the dough and pinch the edge closed completely.
Roll the rolled up dough on the board just to tighten up your shape. Next turn the “log” toward you so the skinny end is facing your tummy. Then with a sharp knife split the roll down the center almost to the other end but not quite. Leave about 2 inches attached.
Now twist the two sides together to form a nice twisted swirl form. Turn the dough around and split the part that you left attached and twist it too.
This bread is baked in a loaf pan. The butter and sugar create a caramel that is quite sticky. If you line the pan with parchment it makes removing the bread easier. If you don’t line the pan you can spray it with pan release but you will need an offset spatula to help ease the bread out of the pan. That caramel is sticky stuff. Place your bread in the prepared pan. Sprinkle the streusel all over the top of the dough. Cover loosely with plastic. Let the bread rest until it has risen about 2 inches above the edge of the pan. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Bake the bread for about 35-40 minutes (convection). Remove the bread as soon as it comes out of the oven to avoid being to hard to remove. The caramel will be bubbly and hot. Due be careful. Run a thin blade or offset spatula around the edges to help release the loaf.
Once the bread has cooled you can lightly dust the top with a bit of powdered sugar.
The nice thing about this bread is that the dough is not sweet so the contrast between the swirls of sugar/cinnamon and the tender dough is very nice without being overly sweet. Using a sweetened dough to make a bread like this can make the whole thing too sweet. This bread has nice balance. Its great warm with butter and makes amazing toast.