Sometimes a fresh-baked loaf of sweet bread just really hits the spot. I definitely have a soft spot for bakeries and their wide variety of breads and pastries, but I have a hard time buying things that I know I could and should make myself. So, I decided to make my first cinnamon swirl bread. It turned out great, so great that I was too impatient to wait for it to cool. As a result, my bread separated from the cinnamon swirl just a little bit since it was still too hot. Oh well, it tasted great!
Cinnamon Swirl Loaf
7 to 7 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 packages active dry yeast (about 4 1/2 teaspoons)
2 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup shortening
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
In a large mixing bowl, combine 3 1/2 cups of the flour and the yeast. In a saucepan, heat milk, 1/2 cup sugar, shortening, and salt just till warm (115-120 degrees), stirring constantly to melt shortening. Add to dry mixture in mixing bowl; add eggs. Beat at low speed with a mixer for 1/2 minute. Beat 3 minutes at high speed. By hand, stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately soft dough. Turn out on lightly floured surface and knead till smooth and elastic. Shape into a ball. Place in lightly greased bowl, turning once to grease surface.
Cover; let rise in warm place till double (about 1 hour). Punch dough down; turn out on lightly floured surface. Divide in half. Cover; let rest 10 minutes. Roll each half into a 15x7-inch rectangle. Brush entire surface with water.
Combine the 1/2 cup sugar and ground cinnamon. Spread each rectangle with half of the sugar-cinnamon mixture. Roll dough up as for jelly roll, beginning with narrow side. Seal long edge and ends. Place, sealed edge down, in 2 greased 9x5x3-inch loaf pans. Cover and let rise until almost double (35-45 minutes). Bake at 375 till done, 35-40 minutes. Remove from pans and cool on racks. Drizzle with Confectioners' Icing.