Baking our way through the apocalypse — Amish cinnamon bread

Buttermilk makes the even crumb so soft it dissolves on your tongue.

I know I’m not alone in this. The second day of our being in the house I started. Baking, that is. With and without yeast. Sweet and savory. My movie-star glamorous cousin Amy says the “Quaranfifteen” will prove as universal as the “Freshman Fifteen.”

This sweet bread recipe was posted by Kitchen Goddess Eleanor. When I told her how much we liked it, she immediately sent another for a spicy-figgy-orange bread. I can’t imagine it will be as good as this cloud-pillow of a loaf, but I’m willing to try.

This Amish cinnamon loaf (is it really?) comes from a foodblogger named Trish Payne. I shall always be grateful if she’s the one who found this soft, sweet bread threaded through with crunchy strands of cinnamon sugar. The recipe has no yeast — the chemical action between buttermilk and baking soda lifts it across the finish line.

Food chemistry whiz Harold McGee explains in his classic On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen” (Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1984) that the buttermilk in this recipe makes the batter acidic enough to “react with it (baking soda) and evolve carbon dioxide.” And just like that, your quick bread is as floofy as the finest yeast bread.

Here’s the recipe. My only addition was salt because, Samin Nosrat.

Amish cinnamon bread

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

2 cups granulated sugar

2 beaten eggs

2 cups buttermilk (I used whole-fat buttermilk)

4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

Cinnamon/sugar mixture: 2/3 cup sugar 

2 teaspoons cinnamon

Heat oven to 350°. Cream together butter, 2 cups sugar and room-temperature eggs. Stir baking soda into milk and let it sit for a few minutes. Add milk mixture and flour in 3 batches, beginning and ending with liquid. In separate container mix sugar and cinnamon.

Grease two 9×4-inch bread pans. Put 1/4 batter mixture into each pan. Sprinkle batter in each pan with (total of) 3/4 of cinnamon mixture. Add remaining batter evenly to pans; sprinkle with last of cinnamon topping. Swirl topping throughout batter with knife. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until tester comes clean. Makes 2 loaves.

The cinnamon sugar makes a light, crisp crust just sweet enougyh.

 

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