(Braided cinnamon bread)
With burnt orange and golden leaves littering the pavements, and dark evenings drawing in, this is the time of year we all start craving the warmth of autumnal spices. Coffee shops tempt us with promise of festively spiced lattes, but somehow these always leave me feeling just a little disappointed. I’d much rather a dusting of nutmeg over wilted spinach, or even better, the heat of ginger cutting through a dark chocolate cookie. This year in particular, I have been obsessing over cinnamon. And one evening at the beginning of October I just could not get the thought of cinnamon bread out of my head. It wasn’t long before I had discovered the Estonian Kringle – a braided bread made of enriched dough laced with cinnamon and butter.
There aren’t a multitude of recipes online (unless you speak Estonian) so I did take some liberties when making this – I wanted to eat my freshly baked Kringle warm for breakfast, although none of the recipes left their Kringles to prove for more than an hour after shaping them. Even I wasn’t prepared to sacrifice my Sunday lie-in in the name of baking, so I let the Kringle prove slowly in the fridge overnight. It worked a treat.
This really is a very easy recipe, that uses ingredients most bakers have in their cupboards, and gives impressive results. The minimal effort required in the morning means this recipe is ideal for a breakfast party, and is even possible after a heavy night (err playing scrabble?). And in case you’re wondering, you could do a lot worse than this warm, sweet buttery bread if you’re feeling a little, shall we say, delicate.
- 160ml warm milk
- 1tbsp sugar
- 1 7g packet dried yeast
- 160g plain flour
- 160g strong white bread flour
- 30g butter (melted)
- 1 egg yolk
- 50g softened butter
- 4tbsp sugar
- 3 tsp cinnamon
- 3 tbsp. ground almonds
Combine the yeast with the warm milk and sugar leave until it starts to become foamy. In the bowl of a free standing mixer with a dough hook attachment, add the flours and the salt. Start the mixer on a slow speed, and gradually add the milk mixture, then the egg yolk and melted butter.
(if you don’t have a freestanding mixer, gradually mix in the wet ingredients with a wooden spoon, the dip the mixture out and knead by hand on a floured work surface)
When you have a nice, smooth dough (after around 10 minutes), put it in a clean, oiled bowl to rise until doubled in size (about an hour).
Lightly flour a work surface and roll out the dough into a rectangle. (around 40 x 25 cm, but the exact dimensions don’t matter too much). Spread the softened butter all over this leaving about a 1cm border – I found this was easiest with a small pallet knife. Next, sprinkle an even layer of cinnamon sugar over the butter, until it is all used up. Sprinkle the almonds over this
Starting on one of the long edges of the rectangle, roll up the bread into a tight roll. (it should look like a very long swiss roll at this stage). Using a floured sharp knife, cut the roll length ways (at right angles to how you would normally cut a swiss roll), leaving about a couple of centimetres at the top attached (I forgot to do this!) You should expose vertical cinnamon-bread stripes. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
Start braiding the two strands of dough, trying to keep the stripes exposed, as this will create the visual effect. Twist the braid round into a wreath.
The original recipe baked their kringle straight away at this point, but if you want yours for breakfast like me, put the tray in a clean plastic bag and the in the fridge over night, before baking at 180 for 20 minutes.