I’ve been calling it “famous” for years, but no one has called me out on it until recently….NO, it’s not really famous beyond my family and a few friends, but it should be! So here it is, the recipe for my “famous” cinnamon nut bread. Make some this weekend and you’ll understand why it’s the greatest thing since, well, you know.
Delia’s Famous Cinnamon Nut Bread
- 3 cups all-purpose flour (bleached or unbleached)
- 1/2 cup high gluten flour (Red Mill has a great one in a small clear plastic bag)
- 3-4 cups bread flour (bleached or unbleached)
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 tablespoons shortening
- 2 packages regular or quick active dry yeast
- 2 1/4 cups very warm water (120-130 degrees)
- 1 cup mixed cashews, almonds, and dried cranberries, roughly chopped
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 3 tablespoons melted butter
- I use a mixer fitted with a dough hook for this bread, but you can mix and knead by hand if you have the muscles!
- The high gluten flour is really important – don’t skip it if you want the soft, chewy texture similar to brioche or challah.
- Never pack down flour when you are measuring it. My measurements are based on loosely packed flour that I often spoon into the measuring cup and then level off with a butter knife. More flour means a dry, heavy bread!
Mix the all-purpose flour, 3 tbsp. sugar, salt, shortening and yeast in a mixer bowl. Add warm water and beat for 1 minute, scraping down the sides of the bowl often. Beat on medium speed for 1 minute, scraping down the sides of the bowl so all the flour is incorporated into the liquid. Add the chopped nuts and cranberries and the high gluten flour. Mix until incorporated on low-speed. Slowly add the bread flour, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well between each addition. You might not need all of it!! Add little bits of flour until the dough starts to form a ball around the hook but with a little stickiness remaining. It might still be grabbing onto the bowl a bit, but that’s okay because it will tighten up later in the process. Leave at low-speed for 9 minutes to knead OR turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes by hand.
Grease a large bowl with vegetable oil or Pam. Plop the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with the grease. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise 40-60 minutes in a warm place or until doubled.
In the meantime, mix the 3/4 cup of sugar with the cinnamon and set aside. Grease the bottom and sides of 2 loaf pans well and set aside. Sprinkle some flour on your board or counter and spread to cover. Sprinkle some flour on your rolling-pin and set aside.
When the dough is ready, punch it down and cut it in half. On your floured surface, roll one half out into a rectangle about 18 x 9 inches or work it with your hands or both! Sometimes I’ll start with the pin and then use by hands to pat and squish and pull it into shape. Sprinkle with a little water and rub it in. Sprinkle some of the cinnamon sugar over the surface until there is a light coating all over it. Sprinkle with a little more water or mist with a squirt bottle. Starting at a short end of the rectangle, tightly roll the bread up into loaf. Pinch the ends tightly and fold them under the loaf a bit as you place it into one of the pans. Repeat with the other half of the dough. Cover both loosely with plastic and let rise 35-50 minutes or until doubled.
Preheat oven to 425 and place an oven rack at a level so the TOPS of the risen loaves will be at the center of the oven. Brush the doubled loaves with a little butter and bake 25-30 minutes or until a deep golden brown. Remove the loaves from the pans and place on a wire rack. Brush tops with more melted butter and let cool. Cut with a serrated knife and serve as is or with pumpkin butter!