It all started with a simple breakfast consisting of a green monster
, toast, and tea. Sounds unassuming enough, right? Until I realized cinnamon had permeated everything. I had added cinnamon to my green monster, sprinkled cinnamon and sugar on my toast, and chosen cinnamon infused black tea. Cinnamon was clearly in the cards for my day.
And then I looked outside and the day looked like a page from Jane Eyre:
Bake. I must bake today. With cinnamon.
I found a recipe for Cinnamon Swirl Bread
, but I decided I wanted to try to make it vegan. I liked the challenge of making a recipe heavy in butter and eggs vegan. Plus, I didn't have any butter or eggs at home. :)
So, I swapped the butter for coconut oil. Coconut oil rocks because it has zero cholesterol (um, butter has no comment...) and while it does have a lot of saturated fat, it makes up for that by having a ton of omega-3 fatty acids (score!) and lauric acid. Lauric acid stores in your body as energy instead of fat while also supporting the thyroid function, thus stimulating the metabolism. It's pretty much awesome.
I used "flax eggs" for the eggs. Flax is quite amazing. When mixed with a liquid, flax acts like a thickener and creates a gel-like liquid, which can then be used as an egg. Chia seeds work the same way but are more expensive than flax.
The first thing to do is to make the flax eggs by mixing water with some ground flax and letting it sit for a while. The longer you let it sit, the more egg-like it becomes, so I like to mix up my flax eggs right away to allow for a longer gelling time.
Next, proof your yeast. This is a fancy term for mixing yeast with lukewarm water to make sure it isn't dead. I had some seriously expired yeast in my refrigerator that I tried to use....
Not surprisingly, my expired yeast was dead, as you can see from the measuring cup on the left. The one on the right is all bubbly after sitting for 10 minutes. It's alive!
My favorite part of making bread is kneading it. I know that a dough hook on my Kitchen Aid blender can do the job quicker, but I love the way that bread feels. It is soothing and relaxing to me to knead bread, so I prefer to do it all by hand. This bread took me about 10 minutes to knead it, and I added about another cup of flour before it was ready. I knew it was ready because it was smooth, elastic, and no longer sticking to the counter without flour. It was now time to let it rise for about 2 hours.
I made just one large loaf, but next time I'll probably make two smaller loafs. One word of advice, do make sure that the rectangle isn't wider than your loaf pan. I made this mistake, and my loaf became a little misshapen... or creatively formed ... :)
Rolling up the bread can be a little tricky since it doesn't like to stick to the cinnamon parts, so do take your time when doing this step.
Here's my squished loaf after it had risen for another hour, right before it went into the oven. Instead of an egg wash as the original recipe had recommended, I brushed it with a sugar syrup. It created this awesome sweet crust that went perfectly with the inside of the loaf. So good.
I like to toast the bread and slather it with some Earth Balance. It went perfectly with my morning green monster!
I'm so glad I decided to also reduce the amount of sugar the recipe used. It tastes like bread with cinnamon and a touch of sweetness instead of the sugar being overpowering. I can't wait for you to try it!
Cinnamon Swirl Bread
You can choose to either make one large loaf or two small loafs with this recipe. I like the option of freezing half of my bread to prevent it from getting stale quicker, so I like the two small loaf option. That being said, I initially made one large loaf and that turned out delicious, albeit in a unique shape.
1 large loaf or 2 small loafs, 5 hours
2 tablespoons ground flax
6 tablespoons water
1 cup almond milk, unsweetened
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus more for kneading
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
The Cinnamon Filling
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
5 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons coconut oil, melted
2 teaspoons water
Turbinado sugar, garnish (optional)
- In a small bowl, mix the flax with water and set aside for at least 10 minutes. This will gel into an egg white consistency.
- Proof the yeast: Warm the milk and oil to lukewarm (about 110 degrees Fahrenheit). Stir in the yeast until it dissolves. Let sit for 10 minutes. It will be frothy if it is ready.
- In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour and salt.
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flax mixture and the sugar until combined. Stir in the yeast mixture.
- Add half the flour mixture to the liquids and beat well for a couple of minutes. Stir in the remaining flour. Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. The dough is ready when it no longer sticks to the surface as you are kneading. The time kneading and amount of flour needed will vary; I kneaded for 10 minutes and added another cup of flour.
- Lightly oil a mixing bowl. Place the dough into the bowl and turn so the dough is completely covered in oil. Cover with a towel and let rise until double - about 2 hours.
- Punch down the dough. If you are making two loafs, divide it in half and do the following steps twice. Roll out into a rectangle the same width as the loaf pan. Brush oil over the top. Mix the cinnamon and sugar together and sprinkle evenly.
- Gently roll up each rectangle so it is no wider than the loaf pan. Pinch to seal the edges well. Place the loaf(s) in a greased loaf pan and let rise until double - about 1-2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Mix the sugar, oil, and water together. Heat gently (I microwaved it for about a minute) and stir to dissolve the sugar. Brush the mixture on the top of each loaf and sprinkle turbinado sugar on the top, if desired. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the top is a golden brown.
- Let cool on a wire rack before serving, if you can wait that long!