Yeast and I have a difficult relationship. Baking with yeast scares me. It is so temperamental. The liquid used can’t be too hot and can’t be too cold. The room temperature, humidity, and elevation can affect rise times and baking temperature. There is chemistry involved. I want to be in control when I bake. (Well, to be honest, I rather like control all the time. But that’s a separate issue.) With yeast I feel like I am at the mercy of the Baking Fairy’s good graces. I have attempted recipes that no matter how carefully I follow directions, the dough won’t rise. Even after waiting hours beyond the suggested rise times, I have produced roll sized bricks and bread loaf sized bricks. Obviously there is a steep learning curve, for me anyway, when it comes to baking with yeast. That is why I love this cinnamon bread. It uses instant yeast but is almost as easy and goof-proof as a baking powder quick bread. There isn’t even any kneading involved. And it fills the house with the most amazing cinnamon-y smell.
I have baked this recipe successfully numerous times, as one 8 ½” x 4 ½” loaf and as three 6” x 3” mini-loaves. I think the larger loaf stays moist longer (maybe because there is more inside surface area) but both sizes come out tasting wonderful. It is a cross between a coffee cake and a bread. The mini size is perfect for a care package. The large loaf is perfect if the care package recipient wants to share.
Don’t let the yeast scare you off. This recipe is easy.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup warm milk
- ¼ cup butter (½ stick), melted and cooled slightly
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup cinnamon chips
- Cinnamon-sugar, for topping (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter or spray pan (8 ½” x 4 ½” loaf, or three 6” x 3” mini loaves)
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, yeast, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder.
- In bowl of electric mixer combine milk, butter, and egg. Add the dry ingredients and beat until smooth. Stir in the cinnamon chips.
- Cover and let rest for 1 hour at room temperature. Dough will rise only slightly.
- Dump the batter into the prepared loaf pan or divide into the three mini-loaf pans. Sprinkle tops with cinnamon-sugar.
- Bake 35-40 minutes for large loaf and 20-25 minutes for the small loaves. Bread is done when an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool for 5 minutes in the pan before inverting onto a rack to cool completely. The bread cuts best when cool.
- Serve plain or toasted. Store at room temperature up to 1 week.