Spiraling Sweets – [Cinnamon Sugar Croissant Loaf]

Week 2 in quarantine!  With all this spare time on my hands, my creative juices for baking and cooking are at an all time high.  For this week, I decided to continue the trend of baking something with active dry yeast and found this recipe for a Swirled Cinnamon Sugar Croissant Loaf  by Half Baked Harvest.  The loaves in the recipe looked so beautiful and the recipe didn’t look too complicated to make.  I didn’t have any instant yeast or milk in my fridge, so I modified the recipe to include active dry yeast and almond milk.  I also decreased the amount of cold sliced butter by 1/4 cup and made sure to leave some remaining sugar/cinnamon mixture to sprinkle on the top of the loaves after brushing them with the beaten egg.  I usually only buy unsalted butter, so I just increased the salt slightly in the recipe. These loaves really taste as good as they look!  I can’t wait to try making them again with a savory spin to them versus the sweet cinnamon sugar mixture.

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RECIPE (2 loaves)

1 3/4 cups warm almond milk
2 1/4 teaspoons of active dry yeast
2 tablespoons honey
4 1/2 – 5 cups of all purpose flour
3 teaspoons salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cups of COLD unsalted butter, sliced into thin pieces
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 egg (beaten) for brushing

SPRINKLE: yeast into a bowl with honey and pour in warm almond milk – stir and let it sit for 5 minutes.

BLEND: in salt and only 4 1/2 cups of all purpose flour and knead until dough is incorporated for 4-5 minutes as dough thickens (I used a Kitchen-Aid mixer with the dough hook). Add in only 4 tablespoons of the 6 tablespoons of room temperature butter and mix for about 2 – 3 minutes more, adding the remaining 1/2 cup of flour as needed

COVER: with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour or until dough has doubled in bulk.

PUNCH: down the risen dough and turn out onto floured board.  Start rolling out the dough, creating a large rectangle that’s about 12×18″.  Take the cold butter out of the fridge and start slicing thin slices.  Layer them down the middle of the dough, pressing gently to adhere and layering the slices together to create a rectangle of butter. Gently push the butter together with your hands. There’s a great video explanation on the Half Baked Harvest website!

FOLD: 1/3 of the dough over the butter, then fold the other 1/3 over top of the first layer so you have 3 dough layers.  ROLL: the dough out again into a large rectangle, fold into thirds. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and transfer to the freezer for 20 minutes.

ROLL: the dough into a 12×18″ rectangle again.  FOLD: into envelope again. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and transfer to the freezer for 20 minutes.

BUTTER: two 9×5″ bread pans.

ROLL: the dough again into a 12×18″ rectangle. Spread the dough with the remaining 2 tablespoons of softened butter and sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the butter – make sure to leave about 3 tablespoons of the cinnamon sugar mixture for sprinkling on the top of the loaf. Starting with the edge of dough closest to you, roll the dough into a log, keeping it tight as you go. When you reach the edge, pinch along the edges to seal.

CUT: the dough log in half. Cut each half into diagonal pieces of 10-11 rolls. Arrange each roll into the prepared bread pans. Cover and let rise 15 minutes.

PREHEAT: oven to 350F

BEAT: the 1 egg and brush a generous amount over each loaf. Sprinkle the remaining cinnamon sugar mixture over the loaves.  Place bread pans onto a baking sheet.

BAKE: at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.  Let cool in the pans for 5 minutes, then flip out the loaves onto a cooling rack.

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