Thursday, December 14, 2017

cinnamon swirl bread

One of my favorite activities of the year is our youth group's annual baking party. We have a fantastic and supportive congregation who encourages and contributes so much to our group.  A few years ago, we decided to say "Thank you!" through a holiday baking marathon.

In theory it sounded like a breeze until a pretty good-sized group of teenagers showed up all at once, eager to roll up their sleeves and get cooking.  Only then did I realize I really should have had a plan.

We began measuring, pouring, cracking and whisking all kinds of craziness together to try to bake every family in our congregation a loaf of bread - about 150 total.  Several hours (and a bajillion trips up and down the stairs with trays of loaf pans going into the ovens on two different floors) later, we actually had loaves that resembled pumpkin cranberry bread.  Honestly, they were pretty good, but let's just say they all had their own "unique" style.

Over the years we have gotten a little better as we've kept up the tradition, but this year we decided to try a different bread.  I had baked Cinnamon Swirl Bread a handful of times and thought it might be a good one to do. The buttermilk makes it incredibly tender, the house smells unbelievable as it bakes, and a little cinnamon-sugar caramelization on top of anything is never a bad thing.

If you're wanting a good sweet bread to gift to someone this season, I encourage you to try this. The recipe will make one regular-sized loaf or three mini loaves.  Enjoy!

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

makes one 9x5 loaf or three mini loaves
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and spray and flour baking pan (or three mini pans, if using).  

2. Mix 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon together in small bowl.  Set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and remaining 1/2 cup sugar.  

3. In a separate bowl, mix together egg, buttermilk and vegetable oil.  

4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, mixing just until combined.

5. Put half of the batter in the pan. Batter is a bit thick, and I have found that an ice cream scoop works well here.  With the back of a spoon, spread batter to cover bottom evenly.

6. Sprinkle enough cinnamon-sugar mixture over the top of the batter to cover it well.

7. Spread the last of the batter over the cinnamon-sugar layer, smoothing to edges again.  Cover with more cinnamon-sugar mixture.  Save any cinnamon-sugar mixture left for another use.

8. Place knife in batter and swirl through the batter twisting and turning as you move through.  Again, it's thicker batter, so it will not be ultra-smooth.  Use the tip of your knife to "poke" the batter to an even thickness.

9. If cooking a large loaf, bake for 50-55 minutes.  If doing mini loaves, check at 35 minutes, and bake until top is set and toothpick comes out clean.

Recipe adapted from Taste of Home.