A confluence of events led to this bread. One, the first snow of the year made me itch to have the oven going. Two, when I tried to snuggle up to my taller half Sunday morning, he smelled like baked goods (how?!) and it made me super hungry for bread products. I started brainstorming baked goods that would still be good without sugar or sugar substitute, and I kept thinking about cinnamon bread. A google search brings up the Pioneer Woman as the first hit.
I’ve heard raves from a number of my friends about her, but I’ve never tried a Pioneer Woman recipe. The woman puts sugar on brussels sprouts. I thought making one of her recipes EVA friendly would be just too many substitutions. But I looked at a bunch of other cinnamon bread recipes and kept coming back to that one. I thought, if I put coconut milk and coconut oil in place of the milk and butter that will add some sweetness and richness, sub out the sugar in the dough with applesauce, and use unsweetened apple butter in place of butter, we’ve got ourselves a rich, sweet bread with no sugar.
I did NOT sub out the eggs for soy milk and flaxseed, because. . .I eat eggs, and I had them in the fridge, and I wasn’t necessarily trying to add protein (I’ll put pb on the bread!). I also didn’t use GF flour, because again, I eat gluten and I had regular flour, and I wanted a nice high rise. Basically, this could be a really healthy breakfast bread, and it would only take a couple more substitutions, but I used plain white flour and eggs because I wasn’t racing to make the most hippy version possible of this recipe, just one that I could eat for breakfast toasted with peanut butter.
Here is a thing I learned about yeast: if you proof it in coconut milk, it goes NUTS. Happy yeast, my friends. I over-yeasted in fear of a poor rise without the sugar, and it ended up almost over-rising on me, I had to put it in early. So, there you go, don’t go changing the yeast amounts the first time you bake a bread unless you’re going to keep a firm eye on it. ; )
So, this is the Pioneer Woman’s recipe with slight changes:
- 1 cup Coconut Milk
- 6 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
- 2-1/2 teaspoons Active Dry Yeast
- 2 whole Eggs
- Scant 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 3-1/2 cups All-purpose Flour
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 3 tbsps unsweetened apple butter
- 1 heaping Tablespoon Cinnamon
- Egg And Milk, Mixed Together, For Brushing
- Non-stick spray
Melt coconut oil with coconut milk. Heat until very warm, but don’t boil. Allow to cool until still warm to the touch, but not hot. Sprinkle yeast over the top, stir gently, and allow to sit for 10 minutes.
Combine flour and salt. (I skipped this, because it would have gotten an extra dish dirty, and I was in the middle of doing a sink full)
In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix applesauce and eggs with the paddle attachment until combined. Pour in coconut milk/oil/yeast mixture and stir to combine. Add half the flour and beat on medium speed until combined. Add the other half and beat until combined.
Switch to the dough hook attachment and beat/knead dough on medium speed for ten minutes. If dough is overly sticky, add 1/4 cup flour and beat again for 5 minutes.
Heat a metal or glass mixing bowl so it’s warm (THIS IS A GREAT TIP! She says to fill the bowl with hot water first so it’s warm. SO SMART.-C). Drizzle in a little canola oil, then toss the dough in the oil to coat. Cover bowl in plastic wrap and set it in a warm, hospitable place for at least 2 hours.
Turn dough out onto the work surface. Roll into a neat rectangle no wider than the loaf pan you’re going to use, and about 18 to 24 inches long. Smear with 3 tablespoons apple butter. Sprinkle cinnamon evenly over dough. Starting at the far end, roll dough toward you, keeping it tight and contained. Pinch seam to seal.
Spray loaf pan with non-stick spray. Place dough, seam down, in the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 2 hours (or less if you’re me and put in too much yeast).
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix a little egg with milk, and smear over the top. Bake for 40 minutes on a middle/lower rack in the oven.
Remove from the pan and allow bread to cool. Slice and serve, or make cinnamon toast or French toast with it.
While I was waiting for the dough to rise, I watched some Pioneer Woman on TV! It sadly was not the episode where they go to Woolaroc. Woolaroc is the most amazing, cheerfully, unapologetically racist place I have been, maybe ever. If you’re in OK, stop there if you want to see shrunken heads, artifacts that need repatriated, and to marvel at a place still celebrating the Noble Savage in 2012.
So, the verdict on this is that it was too sweet for me to eat, with the apple butter, and I will have to either force m y husband to eat the whole thing or give it away to friends. Seriously. Apparently apple juice concentrate and I have parted ways. I’ll have to try filling the bread with something less sweet for myself. BUT! The texture is delightful with the coconut milk/oil, lovely crust, gorgeous rise, etc. It’s a great base recipe, not surprisingly, given the source. So, if you’re just going sugar free and looking for still-sweet holiday treats without Splenda, or you’re dairy-free and want to have a lightly sweet breakfast bread (or add the sugar back in), this is a great recipe. Also, someone in the PW comments suggested using it for grilled cheese with a sharp cheddar which I think would be KILLER.
Be careful out there, y’all