Before I met my husband Tad, I’d never been to the Hamptons on the east end of Long Island, and now we go, like his family has for decades, every August. But I went on vacations there for 5 years before anyone in his family told me about the cinnamon swirl bread from Breadzilla, a bakery that’s tucked away in their tiny hamlet of Wainscott. And it might take 20 years to forgive them for not telling me sooner!
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Breadzilla’s piece de resistance is a pan loaf that’s poufy on top with a sugary, cinnamon crust, and is loaded up inside with a curl of cinnamon butter. When we’re there in the summer, I eat it every morning for breakfast, thickly sliced, toasted and spread with butter and a scattering of sea salt.
This is my effort to replicate the bread (though it should be noted that Breadzilla’s bread dough is more of a classic white Pullman, not a butter-and-egg dough).
I was sure this had to be Breadzilla’s only specialty, but then last summer my friend Stephen insisted I taste their bagels, the best I've ever had. Now I’m never forgiving Tad’s family.
Cinnamon Swirl Bread
Inspired by Breadzilla, bread dough adapted from The American Home, December 1965
Makes 1 loaf
For the bread dough:
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup room temperature water
1 package active dry yeast
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
5 to 5 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons melted butter
For the cinnamon filling:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1. Scald the milk by warming it in a pan over medium heat until bubbles form around the edge; remove from the heat and let cool.
2. Pour the water into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook (or a large bowl fitted with your hands). Sprinkle the yeast in the water and let proof until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the cooled milk, sugar, salt, and eggs. Beat in 2 cups flour.
3. Add the butter, and beat until the butter is broken up into small curds. Beat in 1 more cup flour. Add enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. Let rest for 5 minutes.
4. Knead (in the mixer or by hand), only adding flour as needed, until the dough is soft and velvety and little blisters appear just under the surface. Put into a large well-greased bowl; turn the dough over to bring the greased side up. Cover with a clean damp towel or plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours.
5. Punch dough down; let rise again for 30 minutes or until almost doubled.
6. Heat the oven to 350 degrees and butter a 9- x 5- x 3-inch loaf pan. In a small bowl, blend the 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1 tablespoon sugar. In another bowl, prepare the filling: mash together the butter, cinnamon and sugars with a fork until a smooth paste forms.
7. Flatten the dough, seam-side-up, into a rectangle, 8 inches by 12 inches. Spread the cinnamon filling on top, pushing it close to the edges. Roll the dough into a log, tightly sealing the bottom seam, and place seam-side-down in the prepared pan. Loosely cover the dough with plastic wrap and let rest until puffy and nearly doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
8. Brush the top of the dough with the melted butter. Sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar. Bake until the bread is a chestnut brown and sounds hollow inside when tapped, 45 to 60 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 1 hour then remove the bread from the pan and continue cooling on a wire rack.
A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).