Cinnamon Girl

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I don’t know about Neil Young, but I could be happy the rest of my life with this cinnamon girl. A sweet, cinnamon sugar swirl inside a tender, buttery dough make this bread both eye-catching and delicious. Maybe the best breakfast bread ever. The recipe follows:

Makes 1  9 x 5 loaf

Dough

1/2 Cup milk, warm

1/2 Cup water, warm

2 Large eggs

4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

3  1/2 Cups all-purpose flour

1/3 Cup sugar

2 Teaspoons rapid-rise or instant yeast

1  1/2 Teaspoons salt

Filling and Glaze

1/4 Cup sugar

5 Teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 Tablespoons milk

1 Large egg, beaten with a splash of milk

For the Dough:

Whisk milk, water, eggs, and melted butter together in a small bowl. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. Add wet mixture to flour mixture and stir until dough is loose and shaggy. Continue to mix by hand until no dry bits of flour remain. Knead dough in bowl for 2 to 3 minutes. Leave dough in bowl and cover. Allow dough to rise until doubled in size, about 2 to 2 1/2 hours, folding the dough every 30 minutes. If you are not familiar with this technique, it’s easy. To do a fold, grab one side of the dough, with a wet hand, and gently pull dough up and over itself. Turn dough 90 degrees and repeat. Do this two more times, turning the dough 90 degrees each time. That’s a fold.

Filling and Glaze:

Grease a 9 x 5 loaf pan. Mix sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface and gently press into an 18 x 8 rectangle, with short side facing you. Brush dough liberally with the 2 tablespoons of milk, then sprinkle evenly with cinnamon-sugar mix, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edges. Roll dough into a firm cylinder, keeping dough taught by tucking it under itself as you roll. Turn dough seam side up and pinch close. Place dough in loaf pan, seam side down and cover with a towel. Let dough proof for about 90 minutes, or until dough is 1-inch above top of loaf pan.

30 minutes before dough is done proofing, heat oven to 375 degrees, and place oven rack in middle position. Brush the egg and milk mixture onto top of loaf and place in oven. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, turning bread halfway through baking. Crust will be dark brown and lightly blistered. Transfer pan to a cooling rack and let sit 5 minutes. Remove loaf from pan (you may need to run a paring knife around the edges if any filling oozed out and stuck) and let cool on rack until it reaches room temperature, about 2 hours.

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