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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Apple Cinnamon Swirl Bread ~ On Being Prepared


"they used to call me Anal Girl..." ~500 Days of Summer

i've said this before, i'm a creature of habit, i like things as so, i plans things out. i used to have an actual planner in my purse to reference when making plans with people. now i maintain a calendar online, sharing it with buu and kim to keep me in check; the only setback is i don't carry my online calendar with me and i've yet to figure out how to synchronize it to my Lan-berry, which sometimes leads to double bookings, and that is so annoying! i am so exact about my planning that sometimes spontaneity just doesn't fit and when it does occur, oh hello anxiety! or some major cluster happens. gone are the days where i can just drop what i'm doing, skip 3 days worth of classes, hop a plane for a long weekend in boston (i don't think bostonboy ever recovered from that debacle, bless his heart). now, i think about what i'm wearing to work the night before (an ingrained childhood habit) and i like to plan my baking and cooking experiments.

don't judge me. that's what weekends are for, that's my thinking anyway.

i went apple picking with some friends sunday and prior to that day, i searched for a proper bread to highlight this autumn fruit. the following recipe is from Rose Levy Beranbaum, who is a flipping genius, never mind i cursed her existence last year when nuria bought the cookbook. i've come to the conclusion that anything worth making takes time, and this particular bread takes time. read thru the recipe a few times (i did) and go back to it often, between steps if necessary, because it is worth it. i like it slathered with fat-free ricotta cheese and a side of sliced pears (or apples) with my AM coffee.

you're welcome.


Apple Cinnamon Swirl Bread makes two loaves
adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum's Cinnamon Raisin Loaf from The Bread Bible
***note: i am listing the recipe pretty much word for word because the woman knows bread & in order for this bread to be successful, it needs to be followed word for word. any changes/alterations are for flavoring purposes and in italics.

Dough Starter (Sponge)

12oz/341grams/2 1/4 cups + 2 1/2 TBL AP Flour (i used Whole Wheat Flour)
14.3oz/405grams/scant 1 3/4 liquid cups water, room temp
1.5oz/45grams/2 TBL + 1 tsp honey
2/4 tsp yeast

in the mixer bowl, combine flour, water, honey and instant yeast. whisk until very smooth to incorporate air, about 2 minutes. The sponge will be the consistency of a thick batter. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. (i set this aside overnite)

Flour Mixture & Dough

about 11oz/311grams/2 cups + 3 TBL AP Flour (i used Whole Wheat Flour)
1.5oz/40grams/1/4 cup dry milk, preferably nonfat (i used nonfat creamer, WHO KEEPS DRIED MILK IN THEIR PANTRY?)
3/4 tsp yeast
4.5oz/128grams/9 TBL unsalted butter, softened (i used coconut oil)
2 1/4 tsp salt

in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, dry milk and instant yeast. sprinkle on top of the sponge and cover tightly with plastic wrap. allow to ferment for 1-4 hours at room temp. during this time the sponge will bubble thru the flour blanket in places, that's fine.

using the kitchenaid mixer, add the butter (or coconut oil) to the bowl and mix on low speed with the dough hook (#2 speed) for 1 minute or until the flour is moistened enough to form a rough dough. scrape down any bits of dough. cover the top of the bowl with plastic and allow to rest for 20 minutes.

sprinkle on the salt and knead the dough on medium speed (#4 speed) for 7-10 minutes. it will not come away from the bowl until twd the last minute or so of kneading; it will be smooth and shiny and stick to your fingers. With an oiled spatula, scrape down any dough clinging to the sides of the bowl. If the dough is not stiff, knead in a little flour. if it not at all sticky, spray it with a little water and knead it in. it will weigh about 44.25oz/1258grams (i did not weigh the dough). cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to relax for 10 minutes.

meanwhile, dice up a medium apple, to equal a cup. *i squeezed a bit of lemon juice on it to keep it from browning.

add the diced apples and mix on low (#2 speed) for about 2 minutes to incorporate them evenly. (due to the extra liquid of the lemon juice, i added 2 TBL flour to the mix) using an oiled spatula, scrape the dough into a 4qt (or just a big ass bowl) lightly oiled. push down the dough and coat with oil. cover container with plastic wrap, allow to rise until doubled, 1 - 1.5 hours.

using an oiled spatula, scrape dough into a floured container and press down on it gently to form a rectangle (i just used a cookie sheet). it will be full of air and resilient. try to maintain as many of the air bubbles as possible. give the dough 1 business letter turn and set it back in the container. oil surface again, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour to firm the dough for rolling.

Cinnamon Sugar Spiral Filling (optional - and this is where i fudged on the measuring thing...)

1/4 cup + 2 TBL raw sugar (i sprinkled it, i don't know how much i used)
4 tsp cinnamon (i was more generous with this sprinkling)
1 lightly beaten egg

in a small bowl, mix together the dry ingredient

turn dough out onto a lightly floured counter and cut in half. keep one piece of dough covered while you work with the other piece. to make without the spiral, shape each piece into a loaf and place the dough in the prepared loaf pans; it will be about 1/2" from the top of the pans. to make the spiral, refrigerate the half dough that you're not shaping.

on a lightly floured counter, roll out dough to a rectangle 7 1/2"wide by 14"long and about 1/4" thick. using fingertips, gently press (dimple) the dough all over to deflate air bubbles that result in gaps in the spiral. brush the dough with the lightly beaten egg, leaving a 3/4" margin all around.

sprinkle half the cinnamon sugar evenly over the dough, leaving a 3/4" margin on all sides. starting from the short end, roll the dough up tightly, as you would a jelly roll; brush the top of the dough with egg and squeeze the dough gently all along the length of the roll with each roll so that it will adhere well to the filling. if necessary, use your hands to push in the ends of the roll so that it does not get larger than 7 1/2" long. when you come to the end, make a seam by tightly pinching the edge of the dough to seal in the filling. push in any inner coils of dough on the sides that may have worked their way out and pinch the ends of the dough tightly together to seal. tuck them under so that the loaf will fit into the pan.

place the roll seam side down in a prepared pan; it will be about 1/2" from the top of the pan. repeat for the second loaf.

cover the pans loosely. again, allow to rise about 1-2 hours or until center is 1 1/2" above sides of the pan. when the dough is pressed lightly with the fingertip, the indentation will remain.

preheat oven 350F 45 minutes before baking. have an oven shelf at the lowest level and place a baking stone or baking sheet on it before preheating. (i didn't do this, i'm a rebel)

quickly but gently set the pans on the hot baking stone or hot baking sheet, and immediately shut the door. bake for 50 minutes (i did it for 40 minutes) or until the bread is medium golden brown and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. halfway thru baking, turn pans around for even baking (again, i didn't do this)

optional step: glaze loaves with melted butter. (again, i skipped)


  1. You are going to shame me into picking up my Bread Bible aren't you?

  2. Wendi,
    i won't pressure you ... it did take me over a year to pick the book up again but now i can't seem to put it down...

  3. Very nice=) Thanks for sharing the recipe. I would love to try this out.

    Greets replacement windows UK