Diana's Desserts - www.dianasdesserts.com

Braided Cinnamon Loaf

Servings: Makes 2 loaves
This wonderful cinnamon loaf is similar to Swedish Cardamom Bread. You may add raisins, nuts or dried fruits to the filling if desired. This makes a wonderful and festive holiday loaf and braiding the bread makes a beautiful presentation.

8 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups lukewarm milk
1 cup granulated sugar
2 (1/4 oz./7g packages) dry yeast
1 large egg
1/2 tsp. salt
4 tbsp. (1/2 stick/2 oz./56g) butter, melted and cooled slightly

Cinnamon-Sugar Filling:
3/4 - 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup granulated sugar (or brown sugar)
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 egg, beaten, or milk (for brushing tops of loaves)

Optional Filling Ingredients:
Nuts, coarsely chopped
Dried fruit, coarsely chopped

Topping: (optional)
Confectioners' Sugar Glaze (see recipe below)
Sliced almonds

Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup milk.

Mix remaining milk, sugar, egg, salt, the cooled melted 4 tbsp. butter and small amount of flour; beat until smooth. Add yeast and remaining flour; beat until smooth and firm.

Sprinkle dough with a small amount of flour, cover with a clean cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk (2 hours).

Turn dough onto a lightly floured board and knead until smooth.

Take 1/2 of dough, divide into three parts. Roll each part into a long rectangle (about 8-inch wide).

Spread melted butter over each rectangle to cover, then sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar* (See Tip).

Raisins, nuts or dried fruits can be included with the cinammon/sugar mixture at this point, if desired.

To Assemble:
Roll each rectangle of dough into a long rope (jelly roll style). Braid ropes together and seal ends. Place braid on a long cookie sheet, cover and let rise until doubled in bulk.

Repeat above procedure with other half of dough (for the second loaf).

To Bake:
Brush tops with egg wash or milk and bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees F (190 C) for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Topping (optional)
Loaves can be frosted with a confectioners' sugar glaze or frosting and sprinkled with sliced almonds when completely cool.

Confectioners' Sugar Glaze (optional)

1 1/4 cups confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons milk

Stir together confectioners' sugar and milk with a fork until smooth. Drizzle over completely cooled loaves.

If desired, candied fruits can be added to filling during the Christmas holiday.

Makes 2 braided loaves.

Source: DianasDesserts.com
Date: November 10, 2002