Orange Cinnamon Bread from Heaven

I took a little liberty with the title of this post, but man, oh, man this Orange Cinnamon Bread really is heavenly!

I’m lucky to have a knack at making yeast breads – they always turn out unless my yeast is way out of date.  I end up with flour from head to toe, but homemade bread – especially this one – is really worth the time.   Your family will love that orangey-cinnamony yeast bread aroma coming from the oven.

This bread is light and airy with a swirl of cinnamon-sugar through it along with bits of orange zest sprinkled here and there.  While taking photos, I had to (had to) eat the end piece so no one would have to eat that.  It’s not nice to give people the end piece of bread.  Then I needed to test the texture of a regular piece, so I warmed it up for a few seconds with butter slathered on it.  Oh, my, my, my, as Mr. Kenda would say.  It’s fantastic!

Do take the time and make this bread.  It makes two loaves, so you can give the second one to someone you love.  They’ll definitely appreciate it.  Now, what did I do with that bread knife?

Orange Cinnamon Bread
**** Outstanding homemade bread.  Original recipe from Taste of Home’s Complete Guide to Baking.   Best when sliced, dotted with butter and toasted under a toaster oven or broiler for 2-3 minutes. Makes 2 loaves.

2 pkgs. (1/4 oz. each) active dry yeast
1/4 C. warm water (110 to 115 degrees)
1 C milk
3/4 C. orange juice
1 C. sugar, divided
1 tbsp. grated orange peel.
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 egg
6 1/2 to 7 C. all-purpose flour
Additional water
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 C. confectioner’s sugar
2 tbsp. orange juice
1/8 tsp. vanilla

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. In a saucepan, heat milk and orange juice until warm (110 degrees); add to yeast mixture. Stir in 1/2 C. sugar, orange peel, salt, egg and 3 C. flour; beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough (I used a total of 6 1/2 cups.)

Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic (about 6-8 minutes). Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly flour surface; divide in half. With a rolling pin, roll each portion into a 15″x 7″ rectangle. Brush lightly with water. Combine cinnamon and remaining half-cup of sugar and sprinkle over the dough up to 1″ from edges.

Tightly roll up jelly-roll style, starting at the short end and pinch bottom and side seams to seal. Place bottom seam down in two greased 9″ x 5″ loaf pans. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool (run butter knife around edges if slightly stuck). Combine glaze ingredients and drizzle over completely cooled bread.

Tips and Stuff
I used my Kitchen Aide to mix the ingredients together, changed to the dough hook on low for 3-4 minutes, then turned out the dough on the floured counter and kneaded for 3-4 more minutes until smooth and elastic (hold up a little piece and stretch – should be see-through).
My bread was perfectly browned and done in 30 minutes. Ovens may vary – just keep a watch. You don’t want the top too brown.
Store the bread loosely in a sack, bread box, or I used a plastic grocery bag tied loosely at the end (with aluminum foil wrapped on the cut end to keep it from drying out).

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