yields ~ 10 servings
The Bits and Bobs:
1 c warm water (100-110°F)
1 1/2 tsp dry active yeast (roughly half of one packet)
3 tbs sugar
1 c whole wheat flour
1 ¼ c all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
For the swirl:
6 tbs unsalted butter, room temp
3/4 c sugar
3 tsp ground cinnamon
Mix together the warm water and sugar in a bix mixing bowl. Sprinkle the dry active yeast over the top of the water and allow to bloom for about 3 minutes. You want the yeast to have foamed and become fragrant.
Stir the salt and both flours together so salt is evenly distributed. Add to the yeast mixture and mix together with floured hands until the dough is “stringy.” Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until a smooth, but tacky ball forms. If you are using a stand mixer, fit with the hook attachment and mix on low for 1 minute, then increase to medium for another 3-5 minutes until the dough forms a ball and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
Using wither vegetable or canola oil, grease down a big bowl. Put the ball of dough into the bowl and turn once so its coated with the oil. Cover the bowl with some plastic wrap and move to a warm spot in the kitchen, and allow to rise for one hour.
After one hour, mix together the "swirl" ingredients until well combined. Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface and roll or stretch out with your hands into a large, thin rectangle. Spread the cinnamon-sugar butter all over the middle of the dough. Starting with the edge closest to you, roll into a large log. Cut down the center of the log with a sharp knife and place each half with the cinnamon-sugar facing upward. Working your way down, cross the two halves over each other until you reach the end (basically twisting each rope over the other). Cut the rope in half again and repeat the twisting with these two halves. Pinch the ends and fold the seams under.
Put the loaf in a greased bread pan. Cover with a kitchen towel and allow to rise for about another hour. The loaf should fill the pan.
After the final rise, bake at 375°F for twenty minutes. The top should be a nice golden brown and will have dried out a touch to form a nice crust. If you prefer a softer crust to your bread, brush with some melted butter before baking.
Allow to cool in the pan for five minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack to finish cooling. Best served warm/toasted!