Cinnamon Bread

Eureka! We all know what that means and how I felt when I finally succeeded in baking perfect gluten-free cinnamon bread. Not to overestimate the importance of my success, but I knew just how the ancient Greek scholar Archimedes felt when he uttered those words. He is the first one to whom the exclamation is attributed upon discovering, when he stepped into his bath, that the amount of water that rose in the tub (it was displaced by his body) equaled the weight of the body displacing it.

Since his day we fellow humans say “Eureka!” when we make a discovery—well some of us do.

Before my Eureka moment, I wondered what would happen if I just made the bread dough thick and heavy enough to knead just like wheat flour dough. If you recall the trouble was handling and rolling the very sticky dough. Well, what happens is the bread dough is too heavy to rise and when baked resembles a brick.

brick bread

On the fifth round of mixing dough I reasoned that we wanted dough soft enough to rise, but thick enough to handle without becoming an impossible sticky mess. I reformulated the recipe removing the honey and substituting it with an equal amount of granulated sugar, used only melted solid shortening (butter or solid non dairy alternative) instead of oil. I added 1 teaspoon of dry unflavored gelatin to the dry mixture (for added protein), and I increased the instant yeast to 1 tablespoon.

The most important discovery was instead of the extra flour that most books recommend helping in rolling the dough, I substituted oiled or sprayed parchment paper. The parchment paper not only allows the cook to roll or pat out the dough, but it serves as an amazing tool with which to roll the finished loaf and transfer it to the baking pan.

bread-prep

 

rolled-bread

Needless to say, a stand mixer is essential when mixing this and many gluten-free doughs. An 8 by 4-inch loaf pan is the perfect size. Larger pans will result in a flatter loaf. It is important to have a warm, draft-free place to let the covered bread rise. King Arthur Flour sells a folding proofing box, which is excellent. Another solution: if you have an above-the-range microwave with a surface light, turn on the light and place the covered bread pans in the microwave.

There are two techniques, both equally effective, for shaping the dough into a finished 8 by 12 inch rectangle. You can either oil or moisten with water your hands and pat the dough out on the parchment paper or you can spray and use a second sheet of parchment paper sprayed side down to roll out the dough with a rolling pin.

rolling pin

If you use a rolling pin, the shape is very important. Select the kind that is tapered: thicker in the middle and thinner toward the end. These are readily available in a variety of shapes. Thicker in the middle makes it easier to roll out sticky dough from the center out.

cinnamon-raisin-bread

cinnamon-bread

As I said: Eureka!

Gluten-Free Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Yield: Makes 2 (about 1-pound) loaves

Ingredients

  • 3 cups 1,2,3 Gluten-Free Flour , or Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour , or Namaste Perfect Gluten-Free Flour Blend (or GF flour of choice with xanthan in the mix)
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast or bread machine yeast
  • 1 teaspoon dry unflavored gelatin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cups warm water ( 110°F)
  • ¼ cup melted butter or solid nondairy alternative such as Earth Balance Vegan Baking Sticks | http://earthbalancenatural.com/product/vegan-buttery-sticks/]
  • 2 large eggs
  • For the filling:
  • ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup raisins, optional

Instructions

  1. In the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, place flour, sugar, yeast, gelatin and salt. Mix on low.
  2. Add water, melted butter and eggs.
  3. Mix on low, turning machine on and off to prevent flour splatter, until dough is well moistened. Increase speed to medium and mix until dough is completely mixed and begins to clear the sides of the bowl.
  4. Turn off machine, leaving paddle attached, and cover with plastic wrap.
  5. Let rise for 2 hours.
  6. Remove plastic wrap, turn machine on low and mix until dough is deflated.
  7. Spray 2 sheets of parchment paper well with nonstick cooking spray.
  8. Transfer dough to one sheet; divide in half with a bench knife. Shape by hand into a ball.
  9. Place one dough ball on the second sprayed parchment paper. Either pat into an 8 by 12-inch rectangle using oiled or water-moistened hands, or else place another piece of well-sprayed parchment paper, sprayed side down, on top of dough and roll out with a rolling pin. Remove top parchment and discard.
  10. In a small bowl mix together brown sugar and cinnamon. Spread ½ of the mixture on the dough rectangle.
  11. Using the parchment paper, roll from one end, as tightly as possible, using fingers to help, and letting parchment paper drop. When you reach the end, roll the parchment from the opposite side to complete the roll.
  12. Using your hands, pinch and seal the ends of the dough roll and compress lengthwise into an 8-inch-long roll. Carefully turn seam side down on parchment.
  13. Using scissors, cut away the parchment from both sides of the roll. Pick up the roll by the ends of the parchment paper and transfer it into an 8 by 4-inch loaf pan that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.
  14. Repeat for the second dough, adding raisins if desired.
  15. Cover loosely with parchment paper cut from the leftover sprayed parchment and let rise until doubled in a warm (85°F) place, 45 minutes or more as needed.
  16. 15 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 375°F. Uncover loaves and bake until cooked though and golden and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center reads 205°F, 35 to 40 minutes.
  17. Remove pans from oven to a rack. Cool completely to room temperature. Remove loaves, discard parchment and slice.
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