iscribblings

Charting life's circuitous path

Cinnamon Swirl Streusel Bread

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“How do you plan to be happy if you stop doing the things that make you happy?”

My brain can be a scary place.  Lately I haven’t been feeling wholly at one with it, and it’s like holding onto a dandelion in the wind.  I’m always scared that any gust of wind might just send it scattering across the vast expanse of consciousness.  I don’t think it really will do that, but I’ve started to watch it warily out of the corner of my eye.

When you’re feeling the long tendrils of depression pulling you in, you aren’t really all that worried about things like, well, fun.  You start to roll into yourself like a poked hedgehog trying to keep all of the “me” bits from escaping.  This self-preservation can be a good thing since it’s comforting to just focus on your own, immediate, needs while tuning out the chaotic world.  On the other hand, you start to lose the very things that were keeping you together in the first place.

Over the last couple of years, I’ve let things go.  I used to enjoy reading magazines on a daily basis and soaked up articles on family finances and organizational tips from the thick pages of Real Simple.  I moved on to the more lofty and meaty material found in  Whole Living and Cooking Light before the former went under and the latter got snooty.  Soon, nothing was happily waiting for me at my doorstep every month and I just stopped looking.

Magazines, of course, won’t make a life in themselves.  But the small details were being smudged into oblivion.

My recipes were becoming mediocre.  Sure, I still cooked and baked, but it just wasn’t all that challenging.  I meant to take on a big baking challenge this year where I went through a year of cakes and blogged about my experiences from recipes from around the world, but  I just couldn’t get it together.  Every recipe looked either daunting or just dull.  The idea still sits on my desktop but my mouse skitters past it like a badly laid trap.

I lacked enthusiasm and I lacked it with broad strokes of gray.

So it came as a bit of shock to me when my psychologist asked me what would make me happy.  I listed what I used to do and when she asked me why I stopped, I just sat there.  I guess I figured why bother.  Why spend all of that energy on something I wasn’t all that geared up to do?  Why not just wait until I felt more like it?

“But when will that be?”

Hm.  Good point.  At my current rate, not any time soon.

So, recently I spent an entire evening at my local bookstore flicking through stacks of magazines trying to find “the one”.   I ended up with a subscription to Saveur for a year and a promise to myself to see how it goes.  I’m hoping that it’ll be worth the $12 (cheap, right?) and that it’ll give the current slim pickings in periodicals a time to refresh with more interesting choices.

I’m also dipping my toe into more experimental cooking.  I’m trying to catch my whims and make things that inspire my imagination.  I want to try baking without my recipe books to see what I can do and to test my skills.  Perhaps with the edible pride on my plate as evidence of my efforts, I’ll gain back a bit more of my happiness and stability.

With that, I present to you a very simple, very tasty and completely me recipe!  This recipe captures my love of baking and my love of yeast and cinnamon.  And I added my own little twists to it to reflect my currently swirled mental state. 🙂

cinnamonswirl

Cinnamon Swirl Streusel Bread

Bread Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 pkg yeast
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Cinnamon Sugar Mixture

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • dash of nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp flour

Cinnamon Streusel

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • dash of nutmeg
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp butter/margarine

Bread Directions

  1. In a large bowl, mix 1 cup flour and the rest of the dry ingredients.
  2. In a measuring cup, add warm water (120 F deg), vanilla and butter.  Stir butter until it melts.
  3. Pour liquids into the dry and mix with handheld mixer on low for 3 minutes.
  4. Add 1 cup of flour and stir with spoon until it comes together.  If too wet, add a bit more flour.
  5. Knead dough on lightly floured surface, working in more flour until it comes together.  It should feel soft and light but dry (not overly sticky).
  6. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place for 45 – 60 minutes.
  7. Deflate dough, roll out into a 12 in x 8 in rectangle and top with cinnamon sugar mixture.
  8. Roll and pinch sides.  Slit dough log down the length with two long strokes.  Twist dough gently (like you’re ringing out a towel) until completely twisted.  Twirl dough into a swirl and place in a lined 8 in pie pan.
  9. Top with streusel and let rise again for 30 minutes.
  10. Preheat oven to 350 F and bake for about 25-30 minutes. Keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t burn.
  11. Remove from oven, let cool 5 minutes, remove from pan and let cool in a rack until ready to eat or store in an airtight container.  Top with glaze before serving.

cinnamonswirl2

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Author: iscribbler

A girl scribbling her way through health, love, food and life.

2 thoughts on “Cinnamon Swirl Streusel Bread

  1. I’m sorry to hear you’ve been feeling so out of it. But it IS worth it to do the things you love…and no better time to start than the present!! Your loaf is beautiful!!

  2. Great post!
    I am running a dessert contest over on rantingchef.com and if you have an interest in participating, please let me know. The details can be found here:
    http://rantingchef.com/2014/02/26/attention-all-dessert-makers/

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