Summer is finally and officially here! The 4th of July has come and gone which means summer is here to stay and I couldn’t be more excited about it. Last week I moved (again) into a house that is going to be really great after a year of less-than-ideal living situations.
The sun is finally out and it’s been hot. The kind of hot that’s almost but not quite uncomfortable. Until you get a sunburn, in which case the heat is painful the next day.
Sunburns and sweat and moving aside, I can’t wait for the rest of this summer. It’s going to be great. If you’re looking for a good way to kick off your summer, this bread is a good one. Yes, you’ll have to turn on your oven, but this bread is pretty much a giant cinnamon roll studded with fresh summer berries.
This bread starts off with a yeast dough. We’ll mix the yeast with some butter and a couple other things to activate it, and then form a dough and let it rise.
While the dough rises, we’ll get the berries ready and make the buttery, cinnamon-y spread that will go on the inside of the bread.
The dough will be nice and puffy after it rises.
We’ll roll it out, spread the filling over it, and sprinkle the berries on top.
This is where things get a little tricky. We’ll roll up the dough into a log, rolling tightly so the berries don’t all end up at the far edge of the dough.
Then the log gets sliced in half and each half get turned up towards you to face you.
Then, the two halves will get twisted together.
Finally, the twisted dough will get shaped into a circle, and you’ll press the ends together so it doesn’t all fall apart.
Then, quickly but gently so the dough wreath doesn’t unravel, pick the wreath up and place it into a cast iron skillet, springform pan, or cake pan. Bake, and enjoy all the hark work you just did!
This bread is rich and dense without being too sweet. The butter-cinnamon filling adds a good amount of indulgence and the berries add little bursts of juice with every bite. This one does take a bit of work, but it’s more than well worth it.
Double Berry Cinnamon Bread
From Joy the Baker
Makes 1 loaf
For the dough:
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
3/4 cup whole milk, warmed to a warm lukewarm
1 large egg yolk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
For the filling:
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 cups fresh berries (sliced strawberries, blueberries, raspberries…feel free to use 3 or even more – I couldn’t find any raspberries)
1 large egg, beaten
Make the dough:
Combine the yeast and sugar in a medium bowl. Stir in the warmed milk, and then stir in the egg yolk and melted butter. Whisk the mixture until thoroughly combined. Let the yeast mixture sit for 5 minutes. It should foam and froth, which means the yeast is activated properly. If it doesn’t, start over with new yeast.
Whisk together the flour and salt in a large bowl. Pour the milk/yeast mixture over the flour and knead the dough until it pulls away from the sides of the bowl and starts to form a ball. Place the dough on a lightly floured, clean counter, and knead by hand for about 10 minutes. The dough should be smooth and a little damp, but not too sticky. Form the dough into a ball. Place it in a large bowl greased with olive oil, and cover. I like to cover it lightly with plastic wrap and then put a clean kitchen towel on top. Allow the dough to rest in a warm spot until it’s doubled in size, about an hour.
While the dough rises, mix the butter, sugar, and cinnamon together for the filling and set aside until later.
When the dough is almost done rising, preheat the oven to 375 F. Grease a 10-inch springform pan, cast iron skillet, or a normal 9-inch cake pan and set it aside, too.
When the dough has doubled in size, place it on a lightly floured counter and knead it twice. With a rolling pin, roll the dough into a 12×18-inch rectangle. It doesn’t have to be precise — get it as close as you can and make sure the two longs sides are the same length and the two short ones are the same length.
Put the filling on the dough in a few blobs, and spread it over the dough evenly, leaving about 1 inch of dough on all sides. Place the berries over the cinnamon spread, and press them into the dough a little bit.
Now, beginning from one of the long sides of the dough, roll it into a log. Be sure to tuck it under as best you can, and force the berries into the roll if you need to. The berries will make the log a little lumpy. Use a sharp knife or bench scraper to cut the log in half lengthwise, leaving about an inch of dough uncut at the top. If there is excess dough at the bottom with no filling in it, trim this dough (I didn’t do this but wish I had). To braid the dough, carefully lift the left strand over the right strand. Repeat this until you have used all the dough, straightening and adjusting the braid as necessary. Press the ends of the two strands together. Bring the two ends of the braid together, and press together.
Quickly and carefully transfer the dough ring to the prepared pan. Brush the beaten egg over the dough. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the bread is golden brown and the filling is bubbling. Let cool for 30 minutes before slicing.
Pizza crust is one of those mega-polarizing topics that really doesn’t seem important until you’re sharing a pizza at a restaurant with friends and there’s no chance of a consensus on whether to get thin crust or thick crust. I stand firmly on the thin crust side of the debate. Because not only does a little crispiness make just about anything a little better, but mostly because pizza is really about the toppings. Another one of those foods where the ratio is important.
(okay, maybe I did roll this out a little too thin, but it still held up beautifully)
Why drown the toppings in crust? Or sauce or cheese for that matter. When it comes to pizza, I think a little goes a long way for every ingredient. Nothing overpowers the whole thing, nothing gets completely brushed under the covers of too much crust. Thin crust gives everything (including itself) a chance to shine. You really get the best of all worlds when you go for the thin crust pizza. Seriously.
This crust is delicious. It’s nice and thin but doesn’t get soggy at all, which is key in thin crust land. For toppings, we did tomato sauce, mozzarella, Italian sausage, roasted red peppers, caramelized onion, artichoke hearts, basil, and a little goat cheese. Everything in moderation. It was perfect. But the great thing about pizza dough is that it’s essentially a food canvas. Do whatever you want!
Homemade Thin Crust Pizza Dough
From The Kitchn
Makes 2 10-inch pizzas
3/4 cup (6 ounces) lukewarm water
1 teaspoon active dry or instant yeast
2 cups (10 ounces) all purpose-flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Combine the water and yeast in a large mixing bowl. Stir until the yeast dissolves. Add the flour and salt to the yeast mixture. Mix with wooden spoon or your hand until a shaggy dough forms.
Turn the dough, along with any flour remaining in the bowl, out onto a clean work surface. Knead about 5 minutes, until the flour is fully incorporated and the dough is smooth and elastic. The dough will feel moist and slightly tacky. If it’s sticking to the counter and your hands like gum, knead in more flour one tablespoon at a time until the dough is smooth.
At this point, you can let the dough rise until you need it or until doubled in size, about 90 minutes. After rising, the dough will keep in the refrigerator for 3 days.
For the pizza, preheat the oven to 500 or as hot as it will go for at least half an hour before baking the pizza. If using a pizza stone, place it in the oven before turning the oven on.
When ready to make the pizza, get two 12-inch wide pieces of parchment paper. Cut the dough in half with a bench scraper or sharp knife. Working one piece of dough at a time, make a large disk with your hands and place it on the parchment.
Use the heels of your hand to press and stretch the dough gently until it’s 1/4 inch thick at most. If you want it extra thin like I did, use a rolling pin. If the dough starts shrinking back you can let it rest for 5 minutes and then start working it again.
Top your pizza dough with whatever you want. Using a pizza peel or the bottom of a cookie sheet, slide the pizza (with the parchment) onto the pizza stone. If you don’t have a pizza stone, just cook it on a baking sheet. That’s what I did. No one will know the difference.
Bake for 8-10 minutes, rotating and removing the parchment halfway through. When it’s done, the crust will be golden brown. Cook until your cheese is melted and a little toasty.
Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for about 5 minutes before slicing.