“What’s in the oven?” they asked. I told them they would have to wait. But, when this bread came out of the oven, there was no waiting. Have you ever cut fresh from the oven bread? It is hot, like burn your fingers hot. But, you will never have such good bread. Trust me on this one. Hot Cinnamon Walnut Sweet Bread. Heaven.
Enjoy this one, but watch those fingers.
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Cinnamon Walnut Sweet Bread
makes 3 loaves of bread
5-5 ½ cups unbleached bread flour
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
¼ cup unsalted butter, room temperature (plus more for greasing bowl and pans)
1 cup milk, at room temperature
juice of half lemon
1 cup water, warm
2 cups walnuts, chopped
Add lemon juice to a cup and pour milk over top. Set aside. This will create homemade buttermilk.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a kneading hook attachment; add flour, sugar, salt, yeast and cinnamon. Mix until combined. Add the eggs, butter, buttermilk, and water. Mix on low speed until the ingredients come together and form a ball. If mixture is too sticky add flour 2 tablespoons at a time until a nice ball forms. If it is to dry and stiff add water until a nice soft (but not sticky) ball forms. Knead on medium speed for 6-8 minutes until the dough is soft and pliable, tacky but not sticky. Add flour as you knead, if necessary, to achieve this texture.
Sprinkle in the walnuts during the final 2 minutes of kneading to distribute them evenly. Sprinkle flour on your work space, transfer the dough to the floured space, and begin kneading by hand to evenly distribute the walnuts.
Add 1 tablespoon butter to a large microwave safe bowl and heat for 30 seconds to warm bowl and melt butter. Transfer dough to the bowl, rolling it to coat it with butter. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Drape a towel over top. Set bowl in a warm place. Allow to rise for approximately 2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size.
Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces (about 1 pound 5 ounces each) and form them into loaves. Place each loaf in a lightly buttered 8½ by 4½-inch pan, gently brush the tops with butter, and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Drape a towel over top and set in a warm place.
Allow bread to rise for about 60-90 minute, or until bread is nearly doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 350° F with the oven rack on the middle shelf.
Bake the loaves for 40 – 50 minutes, depending on the oven. The finished breads should be golden brown on top and lightly golden on the sides and bottom. They should make a hollow sound when thumped on the bottom.
Immediately remove the breads from their pans. Brush the tops of the loaves with melted butter as soon as they come out of the bread pans. You can roll them in a cinnamon sugar mixture if you like. Cool loaves on a rack for at least 1 hour, before slicing or serving.
(Recipe inspired by The Bread Baker’s Apprentice by Peter Reinhart)