Bread Baking

Something I love doing any time of the year is baking bread. I guess it has many special meanings to me. First off it was something I did with my Nonna often, so that food memory plays a strong role in my love of making bread.

Kneading dough to me is very sensual and relaxing all at the same time. Bringing the ingredients together to form a special gently dough that needs to be massaged and brought together to form something uniquely special full of flavour and texture.

Baking the bread-that aroma! Yes many people can identify with the wafting aroma of fresh bread. You can place yourself as a 6 year old quickly waiting for mom to spread a heavy drizzle of exquisite olive oil, peanut butter or even Nutella all over that bread. Perhaps you become that child again or you are an adult that has all of a sudden walked into a bakery for it's early morning offerings. It happens to many of us and it's this pleasure that I get each and every time I decide to make bread.

Last week I got up from my computer and decided I needed to make bread. Not just make but almost play around and have some fun too! I took a dough that I have made before and decided it was a large enough batch to divide and try out a couple of ways. So I did!

The results were everyone in the house had what they liked. A spicy, buttery hit of cinnamon and sugar or the nutty chocolate bite of Nutella. The shapes were different and I'm glad I tried them out but you can make the dough as the original recipe as well. Always love the benefits of versatility!

Happy Baking!

Nutella Double Bread Ring

If you love chocolate this is the bread for you. Whether you enjoy it in the morning on your way out the door or after dinner it will hit the spot. The double swirl of the bread shows off the large amount of chocolate spread you get to enjoy and with just a hint of cinnamon in the dough the match is made.

3 tbsp (45 mL) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (125 mL) warm water
1 tbsp (15 mL) traditional active dry or quick rise yeast
2/3 cup (150 mL) warm milk
3 tbsp (45 mL) butter, melted
2 eggs
1/2 tsp (2 mL) cinnamon 
4 cups (1 L mL) all-purpose flour (approx)
Pinch salt
1 jar (400 g) Nutella or other chocolate hazelnut spread
2/3 cup (150 mL) toasted chopped hazelnuts (optional)
2 tsp (10 mL) icing sugar

In a bowl, dissolve a pinch of sugar in water and sprinkle with yeast and let stand until frothy, about 10 minutes. Add milk, butter and remaining sugar and whisk until sugar is dissolved. Whisk in eggs, one at a time and cinnamon. Add 3 1/2 cups (875 mL) of the flour and salt; stir until sticky dough forms. Turn out onto floured surface and knead adding more flour as necessary until smooth dough forms. Place in oiled bowl; cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

Punch down dough and turn out onto floured surface and divide in half. Roll each piece into about 15 x 10 inch (37.5 x 25 cm) rectangles. Spread one dough with half each of the hazelnut chocolate spread and hazelnuts if using, right to edges. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Starting at long side, roll up jelly roll style, pinching seam to seal. Place one roll seam side up into well-greased tube or angel food cake pan, pinching end seam together. Place remaining roll on top of roll, seam side down, pinching end seam together. Cover and let rise until fills the width of the pan and doubled, about 1 hour.

Bake in 375 F (190 C) oven until golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped, about 30 minutes. Let stand in pan on rack for 5 minutes before taking out pan. Let cool completely. Sprinkle with icing sugar.

Makes 12 to 16 servings

Optional Bread Shapes: I made two different bread shapes with this dough. I rolled one half up with Nutella as in the recipe and made slits in about 1 to 2 inch (1 to 2.5 cm) intervals not cutting all the way through and formed a circle with the dough on a baking sheet. It baked for about 20 minutes. 

I filled the other half with softened butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Made the slits then alternately moved them out as in the photo, it also baked for about 20 minutes. This one would be perfect drizzled with some cream cheese icing! 



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