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Our ABC April project came just in time to alleviate a bout of winter blues. While my mother in Hamburg told me about blooming forsythias and crocuses, we hunkered down for yet another blizzard.

Usually not the greatest fan of sweet breads, I even might have skipped Hanaâ’s pick, 100% Whole Wheat Cinnamon Swirl Bread, but there is something warm and soothing about cinnamon, and, looking at the snow outside, it was:


Looking out into our snowy garden

King Arthur’s original recipe uses a few tricks to temper the somewhat harsh taste of 100% whole wheat: a small preferment, and orange juice.

I know that whole wheat mellows considerably by long fermentation, but with only a quarter of the flour in the starter, most of the wheat didn’t have time to undergo this softening.

And would half a cup of orange juice (though it would add a nice flavor,) really be able to fix the problem?

Using milder white whole wheat was an option, but I had plenty of regular whole wheat in my pantry, so that was my obvious choice.

I decided to give the whole procedure a makeover, working with my preferred stretch and fold (plus overnight rest in the fridge,) to allow for a longer fermentation and mellowing of the wheat.

With this method I could also safely reduce the amount of yeast. What I didn’t cut down on was the sugar – 100% whole wheat needs the full dose.

One more finishing touch: I thought the sweet, cinnamon infused bread could benefit from having a little nutty bite, so I added some walnuts.

And the result? The bread was wonderful! Wheaten goodness without a hint of harsh or “too healthy” taste, pleasantly sweet and cinnamon-y. Just what the doctor prescribes for late winter blues.

  BreadStorm-Users (including the free version) can download the formula here 

Wheaten goodness, mellow and cinnamon-y

100% WHOLE WHEAT CINNAMON SWIRL BREAD  (adapted from King Arthur Flour)

28 g/1 oz/1/4 cup nonfat dry milk
46 g/1 5/8 oz/1/4 cup potato flour (or 1/2 cup instant mashed potato flakes)
425 g/15 oz/3 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
6 g/0.2 oz instant yeast
113 g/4 oz/1/2 cup lukewarm water
113 g/4 oz/1/2 cup lukewarm milk
113 g/4 oz/1/2 cup orange juice
71 g/2 1/2 oz/5 tbsp. melted butter
9 g/0.3 oz/1 1/2 tsp. salt
35 g/1 1/4 oz/3 tbsp. sugar
85 g/3 oz walnuts, coarsely chopped

1 egg, beaten (for brushing the filling and shaped loaf)
67 g/2.4 oz/1/3 cup sugar
7 g/0.2 oz/2 tsp. cinnamon
11 g/0.4 oz/1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
sugar in the raw (for sprinkling)


Stir all dough ingredients on low speed for 1 – 2 minutes (or with a wooden spoon) until all flour is hydrated and a shaggy mass forms. Dough will be sticky. Let it rest for 5 minutes.
Knead on medium-low speed for 6 minutes (or by hand). Dough should still be somewhat sticky.
Transfer dough to a lightly oiled work surface. With wet or oiled hands, stretch and fold (S&F) 4 times at 10 minute intervals (see here how this is done), stretching only as far as the dough allows, don’t tear at it.
After the last fold, place dough in an oiled container with lid, and refrigerate overnight.
Dough waiting for the next S&F

Remove dough from refrigerator at least 2 hours before using. It should have grown about 1 1/2 times its original size.

Cinnamon filling

For the cinnamon filling: whisk together sugar, cinnamon and flour in a small bowl.

My dough was quite elastic and easy to roll out

Transfer dough to a lightly oiled work surface (or use a lightly floured silicone mat). Roll into a long, thin rectangle, about 16″ x 9″ (40 x 23 cm).

Brush dough with egg and sprinkle with cinnamon filling

Brush dough first with egg, then sprinkle evenly with filling.

Beginning with a short side, gently roll the dough into a log. Pinch seam and ends closed. Gently shape it into a smooth 9″ (23 cm) cylinder, and place it in lightly greased 9″ x 5″(23 x 13 cm) loaf pan.

Brush the loaf with some of the leftover egg and sprinkle with raw sugar

Brush loaf with leftover egg, and sprinkle with raw sugar. Cover, and let it rise until it has grown over the rim of pan by about 3/4″/2 cm, about 90 minutes, and stays dimpled when gently poked with a finger. (Don’t forget to preheat your oven).

The loaf has grown about 1 1/2 times its original size

Preheat the oven to 350°F/175ºC.

Bake bread for 10 minutes. Lightly tent it with aluminum foil, and bake for an additional 45 – 50 minutes (check the browning – I removed the foil during the last 10 minutes.) It should be dark golden brown and register 190°F/88ºC on a instant thermometer.

Turn loaf out onto a wire rack to cool.

Stored in a paper bag, the bread keeps 3 days fresh. It also freezes well.

Not a hint of spring  – even Ruffi the Ruffian feels the blues

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Submitted to Yeast Spotting
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