Cinnamon Roll Bread


  Cinnamon rolls, they're our family thing.  My very spunky great-great-grandmother, "GG" as they called her, loved to bake.  While she could cook anything, cinnamon rolls were her specialty.  This isn't a recipe for cinnamon rolls, though, it's for cinnamon roll bread.  That swirly cinnamon goodness that turns any average french toast into quite possibly the most glorious french toast you will ever eat.  It makes breakfast-time more splendid and ham sandwiches significantly better.  
  The recipe is quite simple, actually, it just takes quite a bit of time.  GG used a basic bread recipe (this is the one I used today) and then added butter, cinnamon sugar, brown sugar and then more butter.  Easy as pie... or maybe toast?  Easy as toast.
  
Overall time (including rising time): about 3 hours, 40 minutes
Baking time: 30-40 minutes

Ingredients
1 package (1/4 oz) active dry yeast           cinnamon
2 1/4 cups warm water                              sugar
3 tablespoons of sugar                               brown sugar
1 tablespoon of salt                                   lots and lots of butter (softened)
2 tablespoons canola oil                            1 egg
6 1/4 cups of flour                                     a splash of milk

Steps
1.  Dissolve the yeast in the warm water, you can let it sit for a few minutes (as suggested on the package).  Add the sugar, salt, oil and only 3 cups of flour.  Use the paddle attachment of a stand mixer to beat until smooth.  Add the rest of the flour - you want the dough to be sticky to the touch, but not so much so that you touch it and you end up with more dough on your hand than in the bowl.  If at first it's too sticky, you can add 1/4 cup more of flour and then go from there.
2.  Knead (which is basically the best word ever, yay for silent "k").  If you have a dough hook attachment for a stand mixer, this is a great time to use it.  Turn on the mixer for about 10 minutes.  If you don't have a dough hook attachment, then place the dough on a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes.
3.  Put the dough in a greased bowl (just a little bit of oil) and turn the dough around to coat all of the sides.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise** in a warm and dry place for two hours, until it doubles in size.
4. Uncover the dough and punch it down (this is a really great way to relieve stress!).  Turn the dough onto a floured surface and roll it out until it's about a quarter of an inch thick.  This will take some time, just a warning. 
5.  Spread softened butter over the entire surface of the dough, however much you would like.  GG always believed the more butter the better.  Mix together half cinnamon and half sugar, and sprinkle over the dough - be generous!  Sprinkle brown sugar over the butter and cinnamon sugar.  Here's where we become a little more butter happy, friends.  GG put little pieces of butter all over the already-buttered-and-sugared dough, as she rolled it up.  I highly recommend adding a little more butter, because well... butter.  
6.  Tightly roll the dough until you come to the end, and then pinch the seam closed.  You'll end up with one fairly long roll of dough, which means you will also need more than one bread pan (you may also have a few extra pieces, you can bake them like cinnamon rolls in a pan, just for fun!).  Measure and cut the dough to fit into the greased bread pans (greased with butter, dear).  Place in a warm and dry place and let rise for one hour.  I know, this rising time is torturous. 
7. Once the bread has risen, brush with an egg wash.  That's just one egg and a splash of milk whisked together with a fork.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.  
8.  Eat this delicious cinnamon roll bread and be happy (and then go clean up the mess you've made).

**A note on letting the dough rise.  This is a toughie, mostly because it requires patience (a virtue I have yet to fully acquire).  It's best to set the dough in a warm spot, covered with saran wrap and then a towel.  My mother's suggestion was to turn the oven on for a few minutes, and then turn it off - it wasn't too hot, just warm.  Then, I placed the dough inside the oven and left it there for the allotted rising time.  This is what worked most effectively for me, especially because we keep the house rather chilly and it wouldn't have worked to leave the dough at the 65 degree room temperature.  The real key with rising, unfortunately, is letting it sit for as long as you can.

I know.  Life is tough.

I hope you enjoy this very yummy cinnamon roll bread, let me know what you think!

Mary Grace