This weekend has been an emotional one as my sweet Grandma passed away. I have so many wonderful memories of my amazing Grandma, many of which can live on through her German baking. This cinnamon swirl bread and her German Kipfels are two I will always cherish. I like to keep kipfles and this bread in the freezer just like Grandma, so I can continue to remember her sweet heart and to share her love with my family and friends.
Place all the dough ingredients (flour, sugar, salt, yeast, water, butter, eggs and vanilla) on a counter or mixing bowl. Knead by hand or in a stand mixer. Grandma always did this by hand, adding all the ingredients in the middle of a heap of flour and then kneading by hand, adding flour as needed.
I’m a fan of modern technology and use my Kitchenaid with the dough hook. First place dry ingredients (flour, sugar, salt, yeast) in mixing bowl. Add in wet ingredients (tepid water, melted butter, eggs, and vanilla). Knead with dough hook, adjusting the flour as needed to get the dough to form into a nice, kneadable ball. The original recipe of 5 cups of flour was never enough for me (I usually need closer to 7 cups). Grandma always seemed to know how much extra flour to add to make a perfect dough. I’m still working on it 🙂
Once you have a nice dough ball, cover with damp cloth or saran wrap and let rise for 1.5-2 hours.
Roll out dough
Once the dough has doubled in size, split the dough into three balls. I usually weigh the entire quantity and then split into 3 equal parts by weight (that’s the scientist in me that likes precision). Grandma always just eyeballed it 🙂
With a rolling pin, roll out each ball to 10″ wide x 12″ long rectangle. It took me a little trial-and-error to figure out what dimensions yielded a nice loaf shape. The trick is to make sure you don’t roll it too thin or that the width doesn’t extend outside the loaf pan after rolling under the ends. Loaf pans are generally 9″ x 5″. The extra 1″ inch in the width allows leeway for rolling under the ends (1-2″) and ensures it fits inside the pan. If you roll the dough too thin, the dough won’t rise enough and you’ll have gaps in the bread.
Mix together the cinnamon-sugar filling. Sprinkle evenly over dough.
From the long edge, roll the dough down to the bottom edge.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown. Allow to cool in pans for ~10 minutes and then transfer to wire racks to finish cooling.
Slice a warm loaf and serve with butter to family and friends 🙂