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The following recipe incorporates a couple of tips for successful cinnamon swirl bread that we've discovered over the years. First, for a deep-dark, moist, cinnamon swirl inside the bread, blend together sugar, cinnamon, raisins or currants, and flour until smooth. The addition of raisins or currants adds moistness, as well as subtle flavor. And second, rather than brush the dough with butter before sprinkling on the filling, brush it with beaten egg. Butter acts as a barrier between the pieces of rolled-up dough, preventing them from cohering, and giving you bread that "unravels" when you cut it. On the other hand, the protein in egg acts like glue, cementing the bread and filling together, and allowing much less (though still a bit) unraveling.
3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/4 cup potato flour
1/4 cup Baker's Special Dry Milk
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
4 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 cup raisins or currants
2 teaspoons King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the dough ingredients, mixing till the dough begins to come away from the sides of the bowl. Knead the dough with an electric mixer for 2 minutes; allow it to rest for 15 minutes, then continue kneading it for an additional 5 to 7 minutes, or until it's smooth. If you're kneading by hand, transfer the dough to a lightly oiled work surface; knead it for 3 minutes; allow it to rest for 15 minutes, then continue kneading till smooth, an additional 8 to 10 minutes. You can also simply knead the dough using the dough cycle of your bread machine.
Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl (if you're not using your bread machine's dough cycle), cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and set it aside to rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours; it'll be puffy, if not doubled in bulk.
Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled work surface, and shape it into a long, thin rectangle, about 16" x 8". To make the filling, combine the sugar, cinnamon, raisins or currants, and flour in a food processor (mini preferred) or blender, processing until the fruit is chopped.
Brush the dough with some of the egg/water, and pat the filling onto the dough. Beginning with a short edge, roll the dough into a log. Pinch the side seam and ends closed (to keep the filling from bubbling out), and place the log in a lightly greased 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pan. Cover the pan with lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the bread to rise for about 1 hour at room temperature, or until it's crowned about 1" over the rim of the pan.
In a small bowl or mini processor, combine the streusel ingredients, cutting in the butter until the mixture is crumbly. If you're using a mini processor, watch carefully; streusel will go from crumbly to a cohesive mass in just a second or so. Brush the loaf with some (or all) of the remaining beaten egg, and add the streusel, using your fingers to gently apply it to the dough, being careful not to deflate the loaf.
Bake the bread in a preheated 350°F oven for about 45 minutes, tenting the loaf lightly with aluminum foil for the final 15 minutes or so if it appears to be browning too quickly. Remove the loaf from the oven, and after about 5 minutes, gently remove it from the pan. Some of the streusel will fall off, but you cal alleviate this by first loosening all around the edges of the loaf with a knife, then turning the pan on its side and gently pulling it away from the loaf. Streusel will continue to fall off as you maneuver the bread — we've never figured out how they make that stuff adhere so nicely on the store-bought loaves! — but you'll still be left with some nice, sweet topping. Yield: 1 loaf.