This is one of the first breads that I ever made. The basics of the recipe I got from my Mom, and she used to make it around Christmas and Thanksgiving every year when I was a kid. I came to associate cooler weather with it, and still do today.
This is an "egg bread", meaning that there are eggs among the ingredients. At it's most basic, bread is just flour, water, yeast (or some other leavening agent), and maybe a touch of salt. Although, you could argue that "bread" doesn't even need yeast. It would be unleavened bread.
Its important to note, though that flour + water is also the basic recipe for a type of glue. It's the combination of technique and additional ingredients that make bread stand apart from elementary school paste.
Here's the basic recipe:
6 to 7 cups flour
2 pkgs yeast
2 cups milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
2 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
Powdered Sugar Icing (optional)
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
milk to drizzle consistency
Combine 3 cups of the flour with the yeast in a large bowl and set aside. Heat milk, sugar, butter, & salt over low heat stirring until the butter melts and sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. As a rule of thumb, the milk mixture should be pleasantly warm, but not too hot to hold your finger in it before proceeding.
Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and mix together. Add eggs, and beat with an electric mixer until it looks like smooth pancake batter (about 3 minutes on high). Mix in enough remaining flour with a large spoon to form a dough. Remove dough to a floured surface and knead well.
I won't go into instructions on how to knead bread. If you've not made bread by hand before, check out the kneading instructions here.
Once you've kneaded the dough, rub cooking oil all over the inside of a large clean bowl and place the ball of dough inside. Turn the ball to coat the ball with a touch of oil. The ball in the picture below looks a bit smaller than yours will. The recipe above makes two normal sized loaves. I was making two half-sized loaves when I took these pictures, so I halved the recipe.
The stoneware bowl in the picture above, is one of two that my Grandmother gave me before she passed away.
Cover the bowl with a towel and place in a warm place to rise until doubled. I turn my oven on preheat just long enough to warm the oven a bit, then turn it off before putting the bowl inside. You want a warm enough environment for the yeast to make the bread rise, but not so hot that it kills the yeast.
That's how it looks when doubled. Punch it down and divide the dough in half. Perform the following to each half of dough.
Roll the dough out in a rectangle, using enough flour dusted around so that the dough doesn't stick to the surface or the roller. The shorter dimension of the rectangle should be just a bit longer than the length of your loaf pans. Roll the dough out to about 1/4 inch thick. Doesn't have to be exact. Brush the surface of the rectangle with a little water, and sprinkle half of the cinnamon/sugar mixture over it. You'll end up with something that looks like this:
Then start rolling the dough up like a jelly roll, starting from the short side. Keep the roll tight. When you get to the end, pinch the seam and the ends together to seal up the roll.
Place the rolled dough, seam side down, into a greased loaf pan. Repeat with the other half of dough, and place the pans back into the warm spot to rise again. When the dough is risen the way you want it, pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Make sure you take the loaves out of the oven first if you're using it as the rising place.
Bake the loaves 30-35 minutes. The loaves are done when nicely brown and sound sort of hollow if you pop them out of the pans and thump the bottom.
Here's mine after I removed them from the pans:
I used half sized pans that I picked up at a flea market a while back. They are pretty cool old pans, and date back to the late teens-early 1920's.
If you want to ice the loaves, sprinkle the cup of powdered sugar with the vanilla extract. Tip in a little milk and mix to drizzling consistency. Be careful, though. It's real easy to add too much milk.
Here the loaves are iced.
We like this sliced as-is, or toasted and buttered. MMMMmmmm.......