Bread is probably, no, definitely one of my upmost favorite things to bake. There is just something so gratifying about the whole process of mixing ingredients, kneading, watching it rise, shaping, then baking. It calms me and make me a better person. Seriously.
And this might sound sad, but this week when my Dad told me that my grandmother died, well I went home and made bread because that is what felt right to do. It gave my mind and hands a good something to do far a little while. Plus I ended up with a loaf of bread to feed people with. I also like to feed people when I am feeling sad.
I chose to use cinnamon and cardamom because of the smells. They are just delightful and happy smells. And swirls are happy so a happy swirl of happy smells in a loaf of bread that I was making to share that was (and did) make people happy. (See, bread baking is making me so nice because I am sharing it) It was just the right thing to do.
So if you are in need of a little happy pick me up, may I suggest making some bread? It might make you feel a little better, or at least get your mind off of things for a bit. And you will have bread so there is that too. It’s a win win.
Now to the bread, which you can also make when you are happy. Or bored, or hungry, although it takes some time so if you are starting off hungry, you will be starving by the time it is done. Maybe eat a snack will you are making it…..
The stuff. White and whole wheat flour, salt, sweet potato puree, soy milk, yeast, brown sugar, oil, cinnamon, cardamom, some flax seeds, and an orange.
In a big bow, mix together the yeast, warm milk, sweet potato puree, a little sugar, and oil. Let it sit for a minute to active yeast.
Flours and salt get a good mix to be mixed.
Then dry gets dumped into the yeast mixture along with the zest of the orange.
Mix it until a dough forms then dump it out onto a lightly floured surface.
Knead dough for about 6-8 minutes or until supple, uniform, and smooth.
Place dough into a well oiled bowl and cover. Let rise for about and hour or so or until it doubles in size (could take a little longer then a hour)
Place risen dough back out onto a lightly floured surface.
Roll it out about 2 feet long and as wide as a bread pan.
Don’t forget mix up your brown sugar with the cinnamon and cardamom.
Brush rolled out dough with the flax mixture. This will help the cinnamon cardamon sugar stick.
And evenly distribute the mixture all over the dough.
Roll it up nice and tight and once it’s all rolled, pinch then end to the rest of the dough.
Gently place the rolled dough, pinched side down, into a well greased bread pan. Cover in a plastic bag for about another hour or until the dough has risen a good amount and is doming over the rim of the pan. Now preheat the oven.
Once the bread is sufficiently risen, place into hot oven and bake for 40-45 minutes.
Now the hard part. Get it out of the bread pan and get it cooling off. You cannot cut into it until it cools or you will smoosh the swirl and make it gummy. Just wait, at least a half hour. For real. Wait. You can do it!
And when the bread cools and the wait it over, slice and be amazed. A thing of beauty that smells of greatness.
Bread is so great. Great great great! Especially a swirl bread. I mean. Look at that.
Happy day to you.
Cinnamon Cardamom Swirl- Orange and Sweet Potato Bread
Makes 1 loaf
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1/3 cup sweet potato puree
1 cup soy milk
2 teaspoons (or one packet) yeast
3 tablespoons neutral oil like canola
2 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
Zest of 1 orange
For the cinnamon cardamom filling
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoon cinnamon (I used Vietnamese Cinnamon which is a little spicier and sweeter)
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 teaspoons ground flax mixed with 4 teaspoons warm water
Start by grabbing a big bowl. Mix together the yeast, the 2 tablespoons brown sugar, warm milk, sweet potato puree, and oil. Let sit for a minute to active yeast. In a separate bowl mix together the flours and salt. Dump the dry mixture into the wet. Zest the zest of an orange into bowl and mix it all together until it forms a dough. Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5-8 minutes or until the dough gets supple and shinny and uniform. Place dough into a well oiled bowl and cover for about an hour or until doubled in size.
Once dough has doubled, dump out onto a well floured surface and roll out to as wide as a bread pan and roughly 24 inched long. After you have rolled it out brush the flax and water mixture all over surface . Combine the brown sugar with the cinnamon and cardamom and evenly distribute the mixture all over flaxed dough. And for the fun part. Careful roll the dough into a log. Roll it tightly so the bread doesn'tt end up with big gaps after it bakes. Once rolled, pinch the rolled end and place the log rolled side down into a well greased bread pan. Place dough into a a plastic bag with plenty of space for dough to rise. Let sit for about another hour or until the dough has risen a little bit above the rim of baking pan.
Preheat oven to 375
When dough has risen, place on middle rack in hot oven and bake for 40-45ish minutes or until bread is a deep golden brown and when you give it a tap, it sounds slightly hollow. Also check it with a intsant read thermometer. Get it to 190.
When it done baking, pull from oven and remove from pan. Place on a wire rack and let completely cool. Seriously, you got to let it cool for at least 1/2 and hour, but longer is better!
When it’s cooled, cut into slices. Eat as you wish.
Uneaten bread stores well for a day or two in a airtight plastic bag but if you don’t eat it that fast, cut into slices and freeze. That way you can just pop a piece out and stick it into toaster. Smart.