Another Easter and Christmas tradition in my family was making my great-grandmother’s cinnamon bread while listening to The Messiah. Making the bread is a five-hour marathon, but oh, so worth it for the yeasty smells of baking and the wonderful cinnamon taste on Easter morning. My sister called me from the grocery store in Boston this morning, having gotten insanely ambitious, wanting to know the ingredients list. So here’s the recipe (with apologies for the vague instructions — that’s how it came down to me):
Great Grandmother’s Cinnamon Bread
Makes two loaves, more or less. Bake in 350 oven.
1 cup of milk
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 envelope dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
4-5 cups of white flour
Lots of cinnamon and sugar, mixed together until it’s fairly dark with cinnamon
Scald the milk in a saucepan, then add the butter, sugar, and salt while the milk cools. When milk is warm, but no longer hot, beat in the eggs. Dissolve the yeast in the water and add to the milk mixture. When milk mixture starts to bubble, add flour. Keep adding until the batter thickens and starts to crawl up the beater, like this:
It should still be a sticky batter, not a thick dough.Cover the mixing bowl with a damp towel and let rise until the dough has doubled in size, like this:
Punch down the dough. It should look like this:
Let the dough rise again until doubled, then punch down again.
Put the cinnamon and sugar mixture into a pie pan or bowl. Scoop up a handful of batter and use your fingertips to flatten the batter into a little pancake in the cinnamon mixture, getting it well coated with cinnamon sugar on both sides:
Twist the dough into a rope:
then put into a well buttered or no-stick bread pan.
Here’s what the loaves look like when they’re ready for their final rise:
Cover with a damp cloth and let rise one more time, then bake in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. The tops should be browned and the bottom of the pan should give a slightly hollow sound when tapped.
Remove loaves from bread pan immediately and cool before wrapping in aluminum foil. But don’t forget to eat some while it’s hot!
I’ve made myself hungry writing down this recipe, so it’s off to the kitchen to bake some cinnamon bread.