You will have seen in my previous post for beetroot & barley bread that the lovely people at BuyWholeFoodsOnline.co.uk gifted me some ingredients. This time around I’m showing off Ceylon Cinnamon. Ceylon Cinnamon is the purest form of cinnamon. Earthy and a warming spiciness that can be used for savoury or sweet and is common in Indian, North African and Far Eastern cuisine. My preference is for sweet so I’ve made a couple of recipes to display how it can be used.
First up, baked oatmeal with apples, raisins, walnuts and, of course, cinnamon. I took some time to find a recipe that worked for me and stumbled upon a recipe from Once Upon A Chef for Amish-style baked oatmeal. This version is more like an oaty bread pudding in texture with lovely crunchy bits added by the walnuts.
It’s very simple to put together. You combine your dry ingredients, holding back half of the walnuts. Mix together the milk, eggs and vanilla and then add it to the dry ingredients along with melted butter. Chop up the apples and spread them on the bottom of your dish then put the oaty custard mixture over it and top with the remaining walnuts. Pop this into an oven at around 170 Celsius for 40-50 minutes.
The baked oats are excellent served warm or cold. I definitely preferred eating them warmed up for breakfast. I didn’t try it but I bet they would take amazing with custard or a little cream.
Cinnamon and Raisin Swirl Bread
The second recipe I wanted to make was back in my wheelhouse, bread. I thought I’d take a bit of a risk and do an enriched dough (I’ve had bad experiences) and I found a wonderful recipe on the Great British Bake Off website for Cinnamon Swirl bread.
Firstly you need to warm together water and milk along with butter and sugar. Once the butter is melted and the sugar is dissolved set it aside to cool to lukewarm. Once cooled beat a medium egg into it and make sure it’s thoroughly combined.
Mix together your flour and salt and then mix in the yeast. Make a well in the middle and add in the lukewarm wet ingredients. Mix this until all the dry ingredients are combined, adding a little extra water or flour as you see necessary until you have a soft but not sticky dough.
Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for a good 10 minutes (or use a mixer if you’re not feeling up to kneading) until your dough is firmer but still soft. It should bounce back well when you poke it. Pop the dough into a bowl and cover for an hour or so, or until the dough has doubled. The time it takes will depend on how warm your kitchen is.
Once the dough has doubled, you will need to knock the air out of it before on a lightly floured surface and then press it out into square around 18cm across. Give this a rest on the counter for 5-10 minutes. While the dough rests mix together a tablespoon each of flour and cinnamon with 60g caster sugar. This will coat your dough in a few minutes.
Roll out your rested dough into a rectangle about the size of a sheet of A3 paper. Brush the dough around the edge with milk. Spread your cinnamon/flour/sugar mixture across the dough but leave about 1cm at the end. I also added a good handful of raisins at this point because I love raisins and they add really nice pops of flavour.
Roll the dough up nice and tight from the other end and pinch the seam to seal it.
Move this to your greased and lined loaf tin, cover and leave to proof until it’s doubled in size.
When the dough has doubled, brush the top with milk and pop it into the oven at 180 Celsius for around 40 minutes. The loaf should be golden brown and hollow sounding once it’s cooked. If it’s not hollow sounding put it in the oven a little longer but not in the tin, put it straight on the oven rack. I wondered about this when I read it on the recipe but trust me it works.
Once it’s baked, brush a little melted butter over it or rub it with a leftover butter wrapper. It softens the crust a little and gives it a lovely shine.
I’m really happy with the way this loaf turned out. My most successful enriched dough bake yet! The bread was soft and light, lightly spiced with cinnamon, slightly sweet and the raisins really added a nice texture to the filling.
I didn’t add all the cinnamon mixture at the time because it really looked like a lot. Next time I will add all of it to increase the cinnamon flavour. I may even mix it with milk into a paste and spread it on although I’m not sure whether this would be a bad idea. That’s the fun of baking though; experimentation!