Wednesday, August 24, 2011

How (not) to make Cinnamon swirl bread

Just made cinnamon (and sugar) swirl bread.

So, this bread looks amazing. And it tastes good. And a few people have asked me if they can have some and how did I make it?

No, you can't have any, it was a flop. I made it following the recipe and now in doing some research, I find there is an ACTUAL MISTAKE in the recipe. So glad to find out it's not my fault. I'm not a super confident baker and I was sort of beating myself up over making the mistake that is actually the writer's fault. You can find the recipe online here.

I found this by way of the photo in Rose Levy Beranbaum's - The Bread Bible. That was my first mistake. I don't like to cook from cookbooks with photos because my cooking will never equal that photo and I am doomed to failure by comparison. I cook from plain text black and white cookbooks and am happier for it.
Wouldn't you choose this recipe too?

Forgot my lesson and chose this recipe anyway. I started to read the book and my head swirled. I decided to wait for the trained cook in our house to come home and help me. Then I decided I could at least start "the sponge".

Once "the sponge" was created, well... the rest of the recipe didn't look that hard. So I just forged ahead. I followed the recipe and combined the next group of ingredients. This is where the miscalculation happened and where the salt got added too early and subsequently caused the second part of the yeast to fail. Did you know that salt causes yeast to fail? I didn't know that.

If you have the Bread Bible you should note that there is a mistake in this recipe (pg. 261) under the heading Flour Mixture and Dough. The ingredients listed are flour, dry milk, instant yeast, unsalted butter and salt. In Step 2 the recipe states: “Combine the ingredients for the flour mixture and add the sponge.” The recipe fails to tell you to reserve the salt until after the flour, which you cover the sponge with, has bubbled through and the butter has been mixed into the dough.

Later in the recipe (pg. 262, step 3) states, after adding the butter and mixing it into the dough , then add the salt. So, make a note in your copy of Bread Bible on page 261 to hold the salt out of the flour mixture until step 3 (page 262): Mix the dough.

But I was invested. I hoped for the best. But the clock was ticking and even though I stared this at 3 in the afternoon, it was 9:30 pm when the dough finally was to be folded over in an envelope style (seriously? Who are these books written for?), and I found out I could refrigerate my dough overnight. Which I gladly did.

The next day I got the dough out, divided it into halves, and rolled it out to create my spirals. Also I DOUBLED the cinnamon and sugar mixture (and omitted the raisins). Then I placed my loaves in their pans and put them in the oven on the special setting "Bread Raising." Here they would double in size and then be baked to perfection.

Except for that whole yeast killing thing. So they "raised" for about 5 hours and maybe grew about an inch taller. That's when I gave up and just cooked them.

They look gorgeous and are as heavy as a clay brick. One very thin slice sits in your stomach an entire day. Go ahead, get the recipe from that other site, but please, PLEASE, take note of the correction and don't kill your yeast like I did.


Anonymous said...

And now you know why I am amazed and in awe at all the different kinds of homemade breads my mom makes on a regular basis and choose to let that be her thing since I too am a very nervous baker... but I am quite good at cheesecakes.

Will said...

Cookbook photography is just food pornography.

Anonymous said...

That bread looks real tasty! I wouldn't even know where to start.

And I think it would taste better next to a side of bacon! :)

Rachel V. Olivier said...

I didn't know salt killed yeast, either. That's probably why my last batch of bread looked like bricks. I put the salt ahead of the flour instead of after it.