Is there anything more wonderful than bread smeared with butter straight out of the oven? No. Not really. This nutty and fruity cinnamon swirl bread is my favorite bread to make around the holidays. It combines everything delicious into one loaf; cinnamon, sugar, nuts and dried berries swirled into a soft, squishy and ever so slightly chewy white bread. Don’t be scared of baking bread! I know it can be daunting, so I’ve broken it down with photos to help make it fool-proof.
Fruit, Nut and Cinnamon Swirl Bread
Makes 2 loaves
- 5 1/2-6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon high gluten flour (optional)
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened
- 2 packages quick active dry yeast
- 2 1/4 cups very warm water (120-130 degrees)
- 1 cup roughly chopped nuts and dried fruit
- melted butter for brushing loaves
- canola oil or butter for greasing pans and bowl
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
Mix 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, high gluten flour, sugar, kosher salt, butter and yeast on low-speed for about 30 seconds. Add warm water and mix on low for 1 minute, scraping down the sides. Mix 1 minute longer on medium speed until combined. Add 1 cup of flour, nuts and fruit. Mix until incorporated and then add more flour, 1/2 cup at a time until the dough comes together but is still soft and slightly sticky (I only needed 5 1/2 cups total for mine). Knead in the mixer on medium low for 5 minutes. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand for 5 additional minutes or until dough forms a soft, elastic ball that is no longer sticky. Place in a greased bowl and turn so the top of the dough is also greased. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm spot for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until doubled.
Grease bottoms and sides of two loaf pans with oil, butter or shortening. Mix 1/4 cup sugar with cinnamon in a small bowl. Punch down dough and divide in half. Roll or shape one half into a rectangle on a lightly floured surface, about 9 x 18 inches in size. Brush the rectangle lightly with water and then sprinkle evenly with half of the cinnamon sugar mixture. Roll the rectangle up tightly into a log, starting at a short end. Pinch the dough to seal it up and turn it over, seam side down. Tuck the ends under as you place the dough into a loaf pan. Repeat the process with the other half of the dough. Brush both loaves with melted butter, cover and let rise again for 35-50 minutes or until doubled.
Move an oven rack low enough that the tops of the loaves will be in the center of the oven. I had mine on the second level up from the bottom. Preheat oven to 425. Bake loaves 25-35 minutes or until they are a deep golden brown and sound hollow when tapped. Remove from pans to a wire rack. Brush again with butter and let cool.