When I was growing up, there were only 2 types of toast I would eat on a regular basis.
1. Cheese toast.
2. Cinnamon-sugar toast.
I had a certain way of making each one, too. Maybe I’m a little OCD about certain things, but it worked for me. And variety wasn’t something I was looking for: I wanted things I knew were good, and that was it.
The cheese toast was simple: 1 slice of bread, 1 slice of cheese. First, I would toast it on low in the toaster oven to get it warm and start melting the cheese. Then I would toast it again on medium/high to get it bubbling and the edges of the cheese brown. A little bit (or a lot of bit) of burn on the edges? That was my favorite part!
I had a routine with my cinnamon toast, too. I’d slather a piece of bread with butter, sprinkle on some cinnamon + sugar and pop it in the toaster on low until the bread was warm and the sugar was starting to melt into the butter. And then it would get one more sprinkle of cinnamon + sugar after coming out of the toaster.
But sometimes it’s nice to have your cinnamon and sugar IN the bread already. It’s a little less work on busy mornings, and it means I can top my “cinnamon sugar” toast with extra butter or jam or almond butter without making a sugary mess.
I have a love / hate relationship with baking bread.
For every recipe I try, I have at least one trial that completely flops before the one that works. It’s frustrating, but it makes me want fresh out of the oven bread even more.
My first trial of this recipe last week? Failure in every sense. Not a good balance of flours, it didn’t rise as much as I wanted…I didn’t even bake it. That’s how bad it looked – I knew it wouldn’t work.
So, back to the cutting board I went! I remembered how well my second attempt at orange rolls worked and decided to work from that recipe. Turns out orange rolls and cinnamon bread aren’t far apart in terms of what you want from the dough: soft and fluffy, rich and flavorful.
When it comes to breads, I’ve had to learn to just roll with whatever happens. And for me, that usually means failing a few times before having a successful loaf.
But the best thing about homemade bread? It never matters what it looks like, because it always tastes delicious.
Cinnamon Vanilla Swirl Bread
- 3 tsp yeast
- 3/4 cup milk, warmed
- 1/2 cup water, warmed
- 1/4 cup orange juice, warmed
- 2 Tbsp butter, melted
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 cup all purpose flour
Vanilla Cinnamon Sugar Filling:
- 1 Tbsp neutral oil (canola, safflower, or coconut will work well)
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla
- pinch salt
Combine the flour, yeast, and sugar in a stand mixer or large bowl.
Add in salt, milk, water, orange juice, melted butter and mix with dough hook or mixer (or your hands) until combined.
Let mix 5-10 minutes (or hand knead) until dough is smooth, elastic, and a little sticky. If it’s too wet and sticky, add in more flour, a little at a time, until the dough stays together when you pick it up.
Put dough in an oiled bowl and let it rise, covered, in a warm place until doubled (about an hour).
Once the dough has doubled, punch down and roll out into a rectangle on a floured surface.
Mix the vanilla cinnamon filling mixture together and spread out on the dough.
Roll up the dough (starting with a short side so it will fit in your loaf pan).
Seal the edges of the loaf and place in a greased loaf pan.
Place in a warm place and let rise until doubled, about 40 minutes – 1 hour.
Turn oven on to 350 degrees.
Bake 35-45 minutes or until golden on top and it sounds hollow when you tap on the loaf.