I live five minutes away from Zingerman’s Bakehouse. If you’ve ever been to Zingerman’s, you know how amazing and dangerous that is, what with their fresh farm breads, rich coffee cakes, decadent brownies, etc, etc, etc all a skip hop and jump away. And if you haven’t been to Zingerman’s, then just know that you should envy me.
When I found out that they were releasing a cookbook full of their original recipes, I couldn’t believe it. Everyone can make their Jewish rye bread and magic brownies and sour cream coffee cake at home! Any time! Cue a happy dance. And today, I get to share a recipe from this beautiful book with you.
Once my copy of Zingerman’s Bakehouse arrived, my only problem was trying to decide which recipe to make first. You can order your own copy and see for yourself here. There are so many good ones, each with a story of its inspiration and history. And their mission of making traditional, perfectly delicious recipes, and of being part of a vibrant community, resonates in all kinds of ways with what I’m trying to do here on this blog. Plus the cookbook has lots of stories of the Bakehouse’s origins and daily workflows that kept me reading, until I was stopped in my tracks by the pictures of this somodi kalács, or Transylvanian cinnamon swirl bread.
It might be because I’ve been making a lot of traditional Slovak recipes from my grandmother’s cookbooks, or it might be because I love a filled and swirled yeasted bread any time, any place. But once I saw this beauty, I knew I had to have a loaf fresh from my oven as soon as possible. And it was a good thing I made more than one loaf, because once my daughter and friends came over after school, one loaf was gobbled up in no time flat.
The dough starts with water, egg yolks, corn oil, honey, yeast, and half of the flour. I didn’t have corn oil on hand so I used vegetable oil. As long as you use instant, or rapid rise, yeast, you don’t have to let the yeast sit and bubble before mixing the dough together. Once it’s all mixed, add the rest of the flour, then turn it out onto a clean counter to knead.
Using one hand, press the heel of your palm into the center of the ball of dough. Lift up your hand, and fold the dough that’s sprung up at the top of the circle back onto it to reform it into a ball. Turn the dough 90 degrees, repeat, and repeat again and again for six to eight minutes. You’ll know that the dough is ready once it is smooth and elastic.
Let the dough rise in an oiled bowl for an hour, and it’s time for the cinnamon sugar filling. Roll the dough out into a 13 by 15 rectangle, brush it generously with melted butter, and sprinkle half of the cinnamon sugar mixture onto it. Spread out the cinnamon sugar as evenly as you can with your fingers.
Fold one of the long sides of the dough up to the center, then fold the upper long side down to the center. Generously butter the newly exposed dough, and sprinkle with half the remaining cinnamon sugar.
Take the left side of the dough and fold it two-thirds of the way over to the right (like the first part of a letter fold). Brush this exposed dough with butter and sprinkle with half the remaining cinnamon sugar, then fold the right side down over it and turn it 90 degrees counter-clockwise before buttering and sprinkling one more time. With clean hands, roll the dough into a tight cylinder.
Butter a metal loaf pan and place the dough in it, seam side down. Brush it generously with an egg wash and let it rise for 90 minutes to 2 hours. You’ll know it’s ready to bake when, if you push it with a finger, the indentation slowly rises back. Bake it for 15 minutes at 335°F, then lower the temperature to 320°F and bake it for 25 minutes more. Take it out of the oven and let it cool for at least 20 minutes in the pan, then place it on parchment paper or aluminum foil to slice and serve.
- ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon water, room temperature
- 4 egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons corn oil
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 ¾ teaspoon instant yeast
- 2 ⅓ cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon sea salt
- ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- Melted butter for brushing dough, about 3 tablespoons
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon water
- In a large bowl, combine the water, egg yolks, corn oil, honey, yeast, and 1 cup of the flour. Mix with a wooden spoon until the mixture becomes a thick batter. Add the remaining flour and sea salt and mix until the dough becomes a shaggy mass. Scrape the dough out of the mixing bowl onto a clean, unfloured work surface.
- Knead the dough for 6 to 8 minutes on a clean (not floured) surface. Using one hand, press your palm into the dough, grab the upper edge of the dough, and pull it back toward the center, forming a ball again. Turn the dough a quarter turn and repeat. Keep repeating this motion,until the dough becomes smooth and elastic. If you have dough that sticks to your counter, use a bench scraper to scrape it back into the dough.
- Put the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover it with plastic. Let it rest for 1 hour at room temperature. Meanwhile, combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.
- After an hour, butter the bottom and sides of a 4 by 8 inch metal loaf pan. Make the egg wash by whisking together the egg, egg yolk, and water.
- Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and use a rolling pin to roll it out to a 13 by 15 inch rectangle, making sure to square up the corners. Brush the entire surface of the dough with melted butter, then place half of the cinnamon sugar mixture on the dough and spread it across with your fingertips.
- Take one long edge of the dough and fold it up to the middle of the rectangle. Repeat with the other long edge. Brush what is now the surface of the dough with melted butter, and spread half of the remaining cinnamon-sugar across it.
- Take the left side (one of the short sides) of the dough and fold it two-thirds of the way over to the right. Brush butter onto the newly exposed surface and rub half of the remaining cinnamon-sugar on it. Fold the right side of the dough over the left, then turn the dough 90 degrees counter-clockwise. Brush the surface with melted butter and spread the remaining cinnamon-sugar on it.
- Beginning at the side closest to you, roll the dough into a cylinder. Roll slowly so that you roll it evenly. Place it seam-side down in the prepared loaf pan and brush it generously with the egg wash. Allow the dough to rise for 1.5 to 2 hours, until it has risen significantly in the loaf pan. The dough is ready when you poke it and the indentation rises slowly back. Preheat the oven to 335°F.
- Brush the loaf with the egg wash a second time and lightly score the surface with a paring knife in three spots along the top of the loaf. Bake the loaf for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 320°F and bake for another 25 minutes. The loaf is done when a meat thermometer inserted into the center reads between 195°F and 200°F.
- Let the loaf cool in the pan for at least 20 minutes before removing. Place the loaf onto parchment paper or aluminum foil, slice, and serve.