Makes 2 loaves
Replicating my mother’s cinnamon swirl bread won me my baking badge at Brownies, and that’s a nice memory, but I always felt a little bit teased and disappointed by that loaf. It left me wanting more: more filling, more sweetness, more of a commitment. Sweet and gooey with apple butter, this bread is no fence-sitter and almost as sinful as a cinnamon bun! Buy apple butter or make it from a jar of unsweetened apple sauce.
1 1/2 tbsp (two 7-g pkg) active dry yeast
1/3 cup warm apple juice
1 tbsp honey
1 cup warm whole milk or kefir
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 free-range eggs 6 tbsp butter, softened + more for buttering pans and loaf tops
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
6 cups flour + more for dusting
1 cup Easy Apple Butter (see recipe)
Easy Apple Butter
2 cups unsweetened applesauce
3 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
To make Easy Apple Butter: In medium saucepan over very low heat, or in slow cooker, add applesauce, cinnamon and 1/2 cup of the brown sugar. Let simmer, uncovered, stirring every few minutes, until reduced by half and thickened to consistency of tomato paste, up to 2 hours on stove’s lowest setting. Makes 1 cup of apple butter. Note: If making apple butter from jar of store-bought applesauce, go ahead and make it up to a week in advance; store, covered, in fridge.
In large bowl or bowl of stand mixer fitted with dough hook, add juice, yeast and honey; let yeast become foamy and aromatic, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add milk, white sugar, eggs, butter, salt and 3 cups of the flour; beat on medium speed until smooth batter forms. Continue adding remaining flour, bit by bit, until soft dough forms.
Transfer dough to lightly floured surface; knead until dough is smooth, elastic ball, about 5 minutes.
Place dough in lightly buttered bowl; move dough around to cover in butter. Cover with plastic wrap or damp tea towel; let rise somewhere warm until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Grease or butter two 9- by 5-inch loaf tins; set aside.
In medium bowl, whisk together brown sugar (break up any lumps) and apple butter; set aside.
Punch dough down. Transfer to lightly floured surface; divide dough ball in half. Flour rolling pin and roll each dough piece into rectangle, about 8 by 18 inches.
Divide cinnamon mixture evenly between 2 rolled doughs; use offset spatula to evenly spread mixture up to within 1 /2 inch of dough edges.
Using both hands carefully roll each rectangle, lengthwise, like a jelly roll. Lay rolls, seam side down, into prepared tins; tuck ends under. Lightly butter tops. Cover with damp tea towel; let rise for second time in warm place until doubled in size, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Bake until golden, about 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer loaves to cooling racks; let cool to room temperature before slicing and serving, as filling holds its heat and may run out if cut while too hot.
TEXT, RECIPES, PHOTOGRAPHS AND FOOD STYLING BY SIGNE LANGFORD
From Hudson, Quebec, now living in Port Hope, Ontario, Signe is a restaurant chef-turned-writer who tells award-winning stories and creates delicious recipes for LCBO’s Food & Drink, Manna Pro Hearty Homestead, The Harvest Commission, and Today’s Parent; she published her first book – Happy Hens & Fresh Eggs; Keeping Chickens in the Kitchen Garden with 100 Recipes – in 2015.