It’s still winter which means it’s still acceptable to bake Christmas-themed goods.
Ok so according to Paul Hollywood, this is some Swedish Christmas bread that means long cinnamon? I couldn’t google out the origin of the name though so I’ll take his word for it. And I guess if you rub your eyes hard, squint, and bring it really far away it kind of looks like a really lumpy cinnamon stick.
Ohhh maybe the name means that it’s a long loaf and contains cinnamon. Yeah. Probably not a reference to looking like a cinnamon stick.
I’m not even sure how Christmas-sy this is. But hey it was on the Christmas special of the Great British Bake Off (RIP).
Love that vaguely phallic knob at the end.
One side of my oven’s a lot hotter than the other which I realised too late so one end’s a little more burnt. But such is life.
Can’t go wrong with a warm syrupy cinnamon filling folded into an enriched dough, covered with a sweet, sticky coating (or if you’re eating after a day, a slightly crunchy coating as the sugar syrup hardens). It’s kinda like a less sickly-sweet version of a cinnamon roll I guess.
And it was quite easy to make too, despite the length of the recipe. Just read it a couple of times before starting.
And then night rapidly fell so I had to switch on the harsh artificial lights in my kitchen, turning the bread a sickly shade of yellow which I couldn’t quite Photoshop (TM) away. Ah, winter.
I got the recipe from here.
- 75g unsalted butter
- 250ml full-fat milk
- 450g strong white bread flour, extra for dusting
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon (see notes)
- 5g salt
- 7g packet instant yeast
- 40g caster sugar
- 1/2 medium egg, beaten (about 1.5 tbsp, or you could weigh your egg and add half the weight)
- 75g unsalted butter, softened
- 1 tsp vanilla paste
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 75g caster sugar
- 100g caster sugar
- 100ml water
- 1/2 medium egg, beaten (for egg wash)
- 100g icing sugar (for icing)
- Melt the butter over low-medium heat in a saucepan. Then take the saucepan off the heat and add the milk to gently warm it. The milk should be at body temperature.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix the flour and cinnamon. Then add salt to one side of the bowl and the yeast to the other.
- Add the butter and milk mixture and roughly mix. Then add the sugar and the egg. Mix and knead until dough is smooth and elastic.
- Put in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with cling film. Leave to rise for about 30-40 mins, until doubled in size.
- While the dough is rising, make the filling. Cream the butter and vanilla paste together until soft and spreadable.
- In a separate bowl, mix the sugar and cinnamon together.
- Line a baking sheet with baking paper.
- Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knock back. Roll into a 25 x 35cm.
- Turn the dough such that the long edge is facing you. Tack the edge furthest away from you to the work surface (this makes the rolling job easier).
- Spread the butter mixture over the dough. Sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar (see notes).
- Roll the dough tightly like a Swiss roll starting from the long edge nearest you, using the tacked edge to create tension.
- Place the roll on the prepared baking tray.
- Using a clean pair of sharp scissors, cut the roll into 15 slices about 2cm thick almost all the way through (I only managed 13, the shame). Pull each slice out to alternate sides and press down gently with your hands.
- Cover with floured cling film and leave to prove for 20-25 mins, or until the dough springs back if you prod it lightly with your finger. Do not overprove.
- To make the sugar syrup, add the water and sugar to a small saucepan and place over medium heat. Stir the syrup until all the sugar’s dissolved and then boil until reduced by half.
- After the second proof of the bread is done, brush the loaf the other half of the egg. Bake in a preheated 220°c for 20-25 mins until risen and golden-brown (see notes). Cover with aluminium foil after 10 mins if it’s browning too quickly (yeah you probably will have to use the aluminium foil).
- For the icing, mix the icing sugar with enough water (you will need very little water) to make the icing. Place in a small zip lock bag.
- When the bread is done baking let cool on a wire rack. Brush with sugar syrup. Then cut a small corner out of the zip lock bag and drizzle on the icing. Leave to cool completely.
- The original recipe called for ground cardamom for the dough. But I was too cheap to buy cardamom pods so I just substituted with ground cinnamon.
- It looked like the cinnamon-sugar was too much for the loaf (a sentiment the Bake Off contestants shared) so I only used half the sugar. I found that it wasn’t as sticky-satisfying as I expected it to taste though, so I would use all the sugar in future attempts. Some of my friends liked this level of sweetness though so I’d say adjust to your audience’s tastes.
- Try to eat the loaf the day of baking if aesthetics really matter to you because I found that my sugar syrup started crystallising out after a day, leading to a lattice of white sugar patches to form on the surface on the loaf. Still tasted fine though, and it gave the crust a nice crunch.
- I’ve always found it easier to judge if enriched bread has finished baking using a thermometer. Enriched bread’s done at an internal temperature of around 93°c.
- I also made torrone! To make up for my lack of Christmas baking during the actual Christmas period.