“This is a basic, no-frills cinnamon bread that’s great for breakfast or brunch. A day or two later, it’s also perfect for French toast. Personally, my favorite way to eat it is toasted with just a small smear of butter. The graham crackers are optional, but they add a nice texture to the filling and make it a little more substantial without being overly sweet.” — Donna Currie, Make Ahead Bread: 100 Recipes for Melt-In-Your Mouth Fresh Bread Every Day, The Taunton Press 2014
- 4 1/2 Cups bread flour, plus more as needed
- 1 1/2 Cup lukewarm water
- 2 Teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1/2 Cup plus 4 tablespoons sugar, divided
- 8 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 Teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 egg
- 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 Teaspoon almond extract
- 2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 2 graham crackers, crushed into crumbs (optional)
- Nonstick baking spray
Combine the bread flour, water, yeast, 4 tablespoons sugar, butter, salt, egg, vanilla, and almond extract. Knead by hand (mix it first in a large bowl, then turn it out and knead by hand) or in a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, until the dough is elastic.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until it has doubled in size, about 1 hour in a warm room.
Meanwhile, combine the remaining ½ cup sugar with the cinnamon and graham cracker crumbs in a small bowl. Spray two 8-by- 4-inch loaf pans with baking spray.
Divide the dough in half. Working with one half at a time on a floured surface, pat the dough into a rough square, then use a rolling pin to roll the dough to a rectangle about 8 by 16 inches.
Sprinkle half the cinnamon sugar filling onto the dough rectangle, leaving about one inch uncovered on one of the short sides. Use the rolling pin to lightly press the mixture into the dough. Starting at the short side opposite the uncovered end, roll the dough, jellyroll style. When you reach the opposite side, pinch the dough to seal the seam, and then pinch the ends of the roll closed as well. Place the finished dough in one of the prepared baking pans, seam side down. Cover the pan with plastic wrap or place the whole pan in a large plastic bag and tie the open end closed.
Prepare the second half of the dough in the same way.
Cover the pans with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight or up to 24 hours.
Remove the pans from the refrigerator and heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Remove the plastic from the pans and bake the loaves until they are nicely browned and the internal temperature reads 190 degrees on an instant-read thermometer; make sure you test the dough and not the filling. Turn out the bread from the pans and let cool on a rack before slicing.