Russian Braid Cinnamon Swirl Bread

by Michelle on May 9, 2011

OH my gosh, I think spring is finally here. And if you missed my last post I had four new baby Bluebirds hatch last week which is a sure sign that spring is here. And the babies are almost completely bald and they have not opened their eyes yet but they are so cute!

In between thunder showers we are having gorgeous, sunny days but the nights are cool to down right cold! And the cold makes me crave cinnamon. I have been meaning to make a Russian Braid for several years now and since a Cinnamon Swirl Bread makes a gorgeous Russian Braid why not just combine the two?

Making the Russian Braid was fun and super easy. I did bake my loaves in regular sized bread pans, 9″by4″by3″, and they baked to a great, very even golden brown. I’ve not used my Emile Henry bread pans in such a long time, I forgot how nicely they bake bread!

Sweet Brioche Dough

2 TBL water, tepid
1/2 tsp honey
1 pkg yeast or 1/2 oz fresh yeast
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
2/3 cup of Sugar
1 1/2 eggs, room temperature and slightly whipped (save the leftover 1/2 egg for the egg wash and refrigerate until needed)
1/2 tsp Vanilla (I usually skip the vanilla)
1/4 tsp Salt
4-5 cups flour enough to knead into a non-sticky soft ball

2 tsp oil to oil the proofing bowl (I use EVOO, Extra Virgin Olive Oil)

1. Stir the yeast in a 1/3 cup of tepid water w. 1/2 tsp of honey, for proofing.
2. In a large mixing bowl, or in the bowl of a KA mixer, place the buttermilk and add the sugar, vanilla, salt and eggs.
3. Mix until the sugar is dissolved and add the yeast and mix well.
4. Add 3 1/2 cups of flour and mix with either the KA mixer with dough hook or by hand.
5. Add additional flour until you can make a soft ball of dough but it should not be stiff. The dough should not stick to your hands and be very easy to handle. If you’re using a KA mixer, when the dough wraps around the hook and there is nothing sticking to the bottom of the bowl, you have added enough flour. **See Note
6. Sprinkle some flour on a counter or pastry cloth and knead until smooth.
7. Put 1-2 tsp of Oil in the bottom of your largest mixing bowl. Take a paper towel and dip it in the oil and thoroughly oil the sides of the bowl. Put dough ball into bowl and then flip the ball over to make sure that the entire dough ball is covered with oil. Let rise until at least doubled in size.
8. Instead of putting a towel to cover, I put the entire bowl in a large plastic bag. Make sure that the bag is not too tight on the bowl and you give the dough ample room to rise.

**Note: It’s hard to judge exactly how much flour is needed because different brands of flour absorb liquids at different rates. So it’s best to judge by the correct texture of the dough, not the amount of flour.

Russian Braid Cinnamon Swirl Bread

1 recipe of Sweet Brioche Dough, recipe above
1 c. sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Topping:
Lefover 1/2 egg from Sweet Broiche Dough recipe
1 tsp water
1/4-1/2 cup chopped pecans

Makes 2 loaves of bread baked in 9″ bread pans

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix the sugar and cinnamon and set aside.
3. Grease 2 bread pans.
4. Once the dough has doubled in size during the first rise, remove the dough and cut it into 2 equal portions.
5. On a floured pastry cloth, roll out one portion of dough into a rectangle at least 1/4″ thick and 4″ wider then your 9″ bread pan.

6. Sprinkle the dough with the cinnamon sugar.
7. Starting at the long end roll up the dough.

8. Cut 1/2″ off each end to tidy them up a bit.
9. Taking a sharp knife, slice the roll of dough into 2 separate pieces.

10. Pinch the end together.

11. Keeping the cut side facing up, twist the bread, right over left.

12. Twist again right over left and continue twisting until you run out of the dough.

13. Pinch the ends together and tuck in under neatly.

14. Pick up the loaf and place it in one of the prepared bread pans.
15. Cover and let the loaves rise for at least 40-45 minutes.
16. Mix the egg with the water.
17. Brush tops of the loaves with egg wash.
18. Sprinkle with chopped pecans.
19. Then brush again with egg wash to help adhere the nuts to the bread.
20. Place the bread pans in the oven and bake at 350 degrees for about 40-45 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 206 degrees.
21. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack.
22. While the bread is still warm, run a butter knife around the edge to loosen the loaf, remove loaves and completely cool before slicing.

AllRightsReserved@BigBlackDog

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Comments

  • Barbara Bakes May 9, 2011 at 9:08 am

    Such a gorgeous, fun bread. I want to give it a try.

  • Feast on the Cheap May 9, 2011 at 9:52 am

    Oh my goodness, I wish I had a loaf of this in the oven right now. Wow.

  • natalie (the sweets life) May 9, 2011 at 11:57 am

    this is such an impressive looking bread!!

  • Marnie May 9, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    These are beautiful! I can’t think of anything that smells better than the combo of cinnamon and bread baking in the oven. Perfect for Utah’s cool spring days! And, I love the look of the finished loaf. Thank you for this great tutorial.

  • Connie May 9, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    Yum! It looks so fabulous!

  • Robyn | Add a Pinch May 9, 2011 at 9:05 pm

    How fun! I bet this one would be fun to do with my son, too! Love it!

  • Cathy (breadexperience) May 10, 2011 at 7:30 am

    Beautiful loaf! Looks delicious!

  • Guff May 10, 2011 at 7:33 am

    I want some RIGHT NOW! I may try it using the HB in 5 Brioche.

  • kat May 10, 2011 at 9:49 am

    That would make the best French toast ever!

  • judy May 10, 2011 at 11:04 am

    I wanna have some, NOW! Oh, YUMMMMMMM!!!

  • ShelleyBakes May 10, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    This looks incredible!

  • Mary J May 10, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    You made it look easy. And I’m sure you savored every bite.

  • Lana @ Never Enough Thyme May 10, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    Never heard of a russian braid before, but now I simply have to try one! You make it look so easy. And delicious!

  • cooking rookie May 10, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    Look at that bread! Soooo beautiful :-)

  • Margaret May 11, 2011 at 8:35 am

    What a neat way to make a braided bread. Will have to try this one. Looks delicious.

  • clarice May 12, 2011 at 9:38 am

    So pretty–I’ve never hear of a Russian braid before. Thanks for the step-by-step photos.

  • Pinoy Neophyte July 2, 2011 at 8:14 am

    cinnamon also helps regulate blood pressure… so yummy and healthy food!

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