Cinnamon-Sugar “Flower” Bread and Nutella Twist Bread


Beauty surrounded the Daring Bakers this month as our host, Sawsan, of chef in disguise, challenged us to make beautiful, filled breads. Who knew breads could look as great as they taste?

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This was a very exciting baker’s challenge for me because I love making sweet breads and this taught me a couple of new techniques for shaping them! Previously, my favorite “shaped” loaf was the Braided Apple Sweet Bread with Cider GlazeI love the method of braiding the top of the loaf for a very beautiful finished product. In this challenge, we had to chose to make either a “flower” shaped loaf (that’s what I’ll call it) with some sort of sweet or savory filling or a twist loaf with a sweet or savory filling. Me being me, I had to do both. I thought I might do one sweet and one savory but I was inclined towards the sweeter things in life the day I made these so one is filled with layers of Nutella and the other with layers of cinnamon, sugar and butter. I made a sweet dough from a recipe provided in the challenge which has sweetened condensed milk in it. I was going to stick to my aunt’s babka dough which I know and love but was far too intrigued by the sweetened condensed milk to resist. I will say that it was a good dough and exceptionally easy to make and work with, but at the end of the day I prefer the taste and texture of my aunt’s babka dough so I would recommend that to you. I will include the sweetened condensed milk dough recipe here as well though.

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Both loaves involve cutting half of a dough recipe into four equal pieces and rolling each piece into circles of about 10-12 inches in diameter. These circles are then layered with filling spread or sprinkled between each. Afterwards, the dough is cut strategically with the goal of twisting, weaving or manipulating it in some way to achieve a beautiful form when baked. The “flower loaf” involves cutting the stacked dough into 8 wedges with slits in the center of each wedge and then pulling the tip of the wedge through the slit. The wedges are placed back into a circle and when baked, puff up into a beautiful bloom. The twisted loaf involves cutting 16 wedges, although not all of the way to the edge of the stacked circle of dough, and then twisting the points (the parts facing the center) to create a spiral and then laying the back down. Awesome. For the flower loaf, I layered melted butter, cinnamon and sugar between layers. For the twisted loaf, I spread Nutella (hazelnut-chocolate spread) between the layers. I drizzled both with a thin, simple glaze made of milk, confectioner’s sugar and vanilla. I made sure the glaze was quite thin so that it wouldn’t take away from the beauty of the bread itself.

I feel the creative juices flowing after this challenge. I wonder what other beautiful breads I can come up with! You could make the cinnamon sugar bread almost like cinnamon buns if you use the same filling and a cream cheese frosting- the wedges pretty much pull apart after baking. Mine was a bit more delicate and I added a bit of cocoa powder to my cinnamon-sugar filling to cut the harshness of the cinnamon. You don’t really taste the cocoa, it just adds an interesting taste to the bread. It’s very “sophisticated” I think and an interesting twist (HAHAHA… yea I’m a dork) on your regular cinnamon-sugar filling.

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As I said above, I recommend using my aunt’s Babka dough recipe because I love the flavor and texture of it so I have included a link to it below. I have also included the recipe I actually used to make these loaves because it is so darn easy to make and work with. So if that floats your boat, go for it. Note that if you use the babka dough recipe, the included version is scaled to make enough for two loaves but makes slightly less dough than the sweetened condensed milk version. It will still work just fine, just note that your circles may be more like 8 inches in diameter instead of 10-12 and you might have a touch more filling ingredients than you need. No big deal. If you want to make a bread with a savory filling I would go with the babka of the two as the sweetened condensed milk dough surely lends itself to things like cinnamon, sugar and Nutella!

***PRINTABLE RECIPE (BABKA PDF)***

***PRINTABLE RECIPE (SWEET BREAD WITH SWEETENED CONDENSED MILK PDF)***

Sweet Bread with Sweetened Condensed Milk

(Adapted from “Nutella Twists” by Sawson of Chef in Disguise)

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup melted, unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (240 ml) warm water
  • 3 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 7 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, approximately
  • Pinch of fine kosher or sea salt

Directions:

  • Mix together all ingredients except the flour in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment
  • Gradually add in the flour, one cup at a time
  • Switch to the dough hook attachment after about cup 5 or when the dough starts to come together
  • Add flour until the dough is tacky, not dry and not sticky
  • Knead the dough in the bowl of the machine, or by hand, until you get a soft supple dough

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  • Lightly oil the bowl the dough is in, or another large bowl and turn the dough to coat in oil, lightly cover with a tea towel or plastic wrap and place in a warm place to rise until doubled in size, 1-1 ½ hours (if short on time turn oven on to 350 degrees F when beginning to make dough and turn off once it comes to temperature- place covered dough in the warm oven to rise)
  • Punch dough down and divide into two. Use as recipe requires.

***PRINTABLE RECIPE (TWIST BREAD PDF)***

Twist Bread

(Adapted from “Nutella Twists” by Sawson of Chef in Disguise)

Ingredients:

  • ½ recipe of either Babka or Sweet Dough with Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 7 oz. of Nutella spread, or similar
  • 2 tbsp. melted unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp. milk powder
  • 1 tsp. granulated sugar
  • ¼ tsp. espresso powder, or instant coffee
  • Glaze of choice, such as powdered sugar mixed with vanilla extract and milk to reach a thing consistency

Directions:

  • Divide the dough into 4 equal parts

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  • Roll each dough-ball on a lightly floured surface (only use flour if necessary) into a circle with a diameter of 8-12 inches. Make all circles approximately equal in diameter- use a dinner plate as a template if necessary

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  • Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and heat oven to 460 degrees F with rack in the center position
  • Place one dough circle on your rolling surface (you will move it to the pan later- you don’t want to use a knife on your parchment or silicone mat because it could cut it)
  • Brush with 1/3 of the nutella, evenly to within about ¼ inch of the edge of the dough

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  • Place another dough circle on top, brush with another 1/3 of the nutella, place another dough circle on top and brush with the remaining nutella
  • Place the last dough circle on top and brush the top of it with melted butter using a pastry brush
  • Using a sharp chef’s knife or a pizza cutter, cut the dough into 8 equal wedges, starting at the center and working towards the edge. Do not cut all the way to the edge, only to within about ½ inch of the edge. Use a ruler to mark your wedges if desired

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  • Cut each wedge in half to make a total of 16 wedges, again leaving a ½ inch border at the edges

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  • Gently lift the wedges one at time, twisting them, and then placing back down

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  • When all the wedges are twisted, carefully transfer the loaf to prepared half sheet pan using a bench scraper to lift one side if needed
  • In a medium bowl, mix together the milk powder, espresso powder, sugar and warm water. Wisk to dissolve the espresso and sugar

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  • Brush mixture lightly over the loaf
  • Allow loaf to rest for about 15 minutes or until slightly puffy
  • Bake at 460 degrees F for 5 minutes and then turn oven heat down to 390 degrees F and bake for another 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned on top and cooked in the center (200 degrees F on an instant read thermometer)
  • Remove from oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a cooling rack

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  • Drizzle or brush with glaze, if using
  • Cut into wedges and serve warm or at room temperature

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  • Store, once cooled, in airtight container or bag

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***PRINTABLE RECIPE (FLOWER BREAD PDF)***

Flower Bread

(Adapted from “Cinnamon Sweet Bread” by Sawson of Chef in Disguise)

Ingredients:

  • ½ recipe of either Babka or Sweet Dough with Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 4 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. cocoa powder, sifter
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Glaze of choice, such as powdered sugar mixed with vanilla extract and milk to reach a thing consistency

Directions:

  • Cut a small, 1 oz. piece of dough off the dough ball then divide the remaining dough into 4 equal parts
  • Roll each dough-ball on a lightly floured surface (only use flour if necessary) into a circle with a diameter of 8-12 inches. Make all circles approximately equal in diameter- use a dinner plate as a template if necessary
  • Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and heat oven to 460 degrees F with rack in the center position
  • In a small bowl, mix together the cinnamon, ½ cup granulated sugar and cocoa powder

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  • Place one dough circle on your rolling surface (you will move it to the pan later- you don’t want to use a knife on your parchment or silicone mat because it could cut it)
  • Brush with butter and sprinkle with 1/3 of the cinnamon/sugar/cocoa mixture

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  • Top with second dough circle and repeat. Repeat with third dough circle.
  • After placing the fourth dough circle, brush with butter only
  • Using a knife make cuts that divide the dough circles into 8 triangles
  • Make cuts that go 2/3 of the way in the middle of each triangle. The cuts should not reach the base of the triangle nor the tip

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  • Take the tip of each triangle and insert it into the cut you made and pull it from the underside

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  • Arrange the triangles on your baking sheet

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  • Pinch the two angles at the base of the triangle together
  • Take the 1 oz. piece of dough you cut off at the beginning and dip it in the melted butter and sprinkle with a bit of the cinnamon mixture and roll it into a long, thin piece (much like rolling dough for a pretzel)

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  • Place that piece of dough in a coil shape in the center of your loaf, over the tops of the inner tips of the dough wedges

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  • In a medium bowl, mix together the milk and 1 tbsp. sugar
  • Brush mixture lightly over the loaf
  • Allow loaf to rest for about 15 minutes or until slightly puffy
  • Bake at 460 degrees F for 5 minutes and then turn oven heat down to 390 degrees F and bake for another 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned on top and cooked in the center (200 degrees F on an instant read thermometer)
  • Remove from oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a cooling rack

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  • Drizzle or brush with glaze, if using
  • Cut or pull apart wedges and serve warm or at room temperature

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  • Store, once cooled, in airtight container or bag
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17 responses to “Cinnamon-Sugar “Flower” Bread and Nutella Twist Bread

  1. Saved the recipe Jess, because I have a love affair going with nutella right now, but still can’t roll the dough out, and if I printed it out I would be too tempted to try using the left arm. Right now I want to pull them all out of the screen and start munching (nicer than saying pigging out)

  2. You won’t believe this but I found a link to your site on an embroidery website. This looks so good. It makes me want to make bread again. Thank you for giving us such detailed steps.

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