Cinnamon Swirl Brioche

An easy-to-make rich, buttery brioche with a flaky crust and a tender, light and fluffy crumb. It’s braided to create beautiful, delicious, sweet cinnamon swirls. 

My Secret Recipe Club blog this month is the Cooking Rookie aka The Cook Book of Trial and Error. Elana’s a bread lover and has 26 bread recipes on her blog. Since I’m a bread lover too, baking a bread recipe from her delicious site was an easy choice.

The hard part was narrowing it down to just one recipe. I decided to use her rating system to decide, and she gave a five star rate to the brioche bread she made from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day.

The Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day cookbook is one I use often, but I have to admit we love the artisan bread so much that I haven’t tried many of the other recipes. So after reading Elana’s rave review, I decided it was high time to try the brioche recipe.

Cook’s Illustrated recently developed a Cinnamon Swirl Bread recipe that I’ve been wanting to try. So I decided to combine the easy brioche dough recipe and use the filling and braiding technique from Cook’s Illustrated.

The Cook’s recipe uses a dry filling made with powdered sugar that is spritzed with water after it’s sprinkled on the dough. This prevents the filling from leaking out and the huge gaps that you’ll often see in Cinnamon Bread. I was so impressed with the results. I loved the beautiful swirls and braided top.

Elana made French Toast with her brioche and I couldn’t resist making French Toast with mine. To the eggs and half and half I added a little brown sugar and cinnamon, and a splash of vanilla.  It was the best French Toast I have ever had.

Cinnamon Swirl Brioche

Ingredients:

Brioche dough

  • 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 tablespoons granulated yeast
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 8 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
  • 7 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (I only used 6 1/2 cups)
  • Refrigerate in a lidded (not airtight) container overnight and use over the next 5 days.

Filling

  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Mix the water, yeast, salt, eggs, honey and melted butter in a 5-quart bowl, or lidded (not airtight) food container.

Mix in the flour, using a spoon until all of the flour is incorporated.

Cover (not airtight), and allow to sit at room temperature for about two hours until the dough rises and collapses.

Refrigerate in a lidded (not airtight) container overnight and use over the next 5 days.

Assembling the Cinnamon Swirl Brioche

Grease three 9 x 4 inch loaf pans.* Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and divide dough in three equal pieces. On a well floured board, pat each piece into a 7 by 18 inch rectangle. (If necessary, use a bench scraper to loosen dough and add more flour underneath the dough so it doesn’t stick.)

Use a spray bottle, lightly spray the top of the dough with water. Sprinkle a third of the filling mixture over the dough leaving a 1/4 inch border on the sides and a 3/4 inch border on top and bottom. Spray filling lightly with water so the filling is speckled with water.

Starting on the short side, roll the dough up into a cylinder and seal seam. Let it rest for 10 minutes.

Use your bench scraper to cut the loaf in half lengthwise; turn halves so cut sides are facing up. Gently stretch each half into a 14 inch length. Pinch the two ends of the dough together and braid dough by laying the left piece over the right keeping the cut side up, until pieces of dough are tightly twisted. Pinch ends together.

Transfer loaf, cut side up, to prepared loaf pan.  Repeat with remaining dough.

Cover pans loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled in size. Top of the loaves should rise about 1 inch over the lip of the pan. (Mine took 3 hours, but the Cook’s recipe says 1 1/2 hours.)

Preheat oven to 350º. Bake approximately 25 minutes until the crust is golden brown. Reduce oven temperature to 325º, ten loaves with foil and continue baking until internal temperature registers 200º, 15 to 25 minutes longer. (I just got a new wireless thermometer – thanks Tiff! – and it took my bread exactly 15 minutes longer.)

Let cool for 5 minutes in the pan on a wire rack. Remove loaves from pans and cool completely on a wire rack before slicing, about 2 hours.

*You can bake all three loaves at once, leave the dough in the fridge for up to five days, or freeze the dough.

adapted from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day and Cook’s Illustrated

Visit the Secret Recipe Club for information on how to join in the fun.