Cinnamon Swirl Bread and Human Training Wheels

I can think of few things for which I am more grateful than my mother coming to live here during my first two weeks of intern year, human training wheels. She has been busy sprucing up the dwelling, cooking meals, kissing my bulldog and mowing my stubborn grass patch with an impossible push mower—basically a butter knife on wheels. I hereby nominate her for sainthood. It is like giving up a sacred cow to not bake my own bread, but the next best thing is to have the loving touch of Mother Dearest. I’m so glad she taught me how to balance–so that when she’s gone I know I won’t crash. I’ll just hear her clapping and whooping from a distance.

off to work izzy and mom cinnamon swirld bread

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Adapted from Baking Illustrated


For dough

1/2 cup half and half or heavy cream

4 TBS (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 cup sourdough starter

1/2 cup warm water (105-112ºF)

1/3 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1 3/4 – 2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose, plus extra for dusting work surface

1 heaping cup of raisins, soaked in hot water, drained, and patted dry

For filling

1/4 cup granulated sugar

5 tsp ground cinnamon

milk for brushing dough

For egg glaze

1 large egg

2 tsp milk


  1. For dough: Heat the milk and butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat (or in the microwave) until the butter melts. Cool until it reaches 110ºF, and add the sourdough starter and let sit for 20 minutes.
  2. Beat in the sugar and eggs at low speed to blend (or stir to combine). Add the salt, warm milk mixture, and whole wheat flour plus 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour (to equal 2 cups of flour total).
  3. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled large bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 2 to 2 1/2 hours. After the rise, punch down the center of the dough once. (At this point, the dough can be refrigerated, covered, up to 18 hours.) Without folding the dough, turn it out onto an unfloured work surface, and let it rest about 10 minutes.
  4. For filling: Grease the bottom and sides of a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan. Mix the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.
  5. To shape dough: Press the dough into an evenly shaped 8 by 6-inch rectangle.

cinnamon swirl dough

With a short side of the dough facing you, roll the dough with a rolling pin into an evenly shaped 18 by 8-inch rectangle. Brush the dough liberally with the milk. Sprinkle the filling evenly over the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border on the far side. Starting at the side closest to you, roll up the dough tightly. Push the ends in occasionally to keep it from stretching wider than 9 inches. When you finish rolling, pinch the seam tightly. Push in the center of both ends, and firmly pinch the dough

Place the loaf, seam side down, into the greased pan. Press lightly to flatten. Cover the top loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until the dough is 1 inch above the top of the pan, about 1 1/2 hours (1 hour longer if the dough was refrigerated). As the dough nears the top of the pan, preheat the oven to 350ºF with a rack in the center.

Admire the paint job? Thanks Mom.

cinnamon dough rising

For glaze: Whisk together the egg and milk. Brush the top of the loaf with the glaze

Bake until the loaf is golden brown and an instant-read thermometer reads 185-190ºF, 30-35 minutes. Remove the bread from the pan and cool on its side on a wire rack until room temperature, at least 45 minutes. Don’t slice before it cools.

cinnamon bread off to work mom pic from the porch

Haiku #193 July 12th

Into the dry ground

we planted succulent sage

and bright lantana.

Haiku #194 July 13th

A new job is a


of the ischemic self.

Haiku #195 July 14th

Got a mosquito

Bite first day at clinic for

Infectious disease.

Haiku #196 July 15th

An island of care

Is not for the land folk but

For those still at sea.

Haiku #197 July 16th

Adolfo’s ocean

sauce—crawfish and shrimp melted

into spice and cream.

Haiku #198 July 17th

Now I compensate

with knowledge what I used to

with alkalosis.

Haiku #199 July 18th

No woman no cry

serenaded me on the

way to my first call.

Haiku #200 July 19th

Twelve hours went by

the only food I had to

eat, my liver made.

Haiku #201 July 20th

The hospital is

the one place where I’d rather

not write about it.

3 thoughts on “Cinnamon Swirl Bread and Human Training Wheels

  1. You two, your relationship, and this bread are all so delightful and sweet! Also, I had to look up what a lantana is, and they are so pretty! I can’t wait to hopefully soon see your New Orleans abode 🙂 I hope you wonderful women had some great times together these past few weeks! XOXO

  2. Speaking as a mom, I’m sure if made her happy to help. Plus this will make amazing French toast!! Glad you’re getting settled. Tell KP hi from ZED buddies. : )

    1. I will when he gets home tmrw!!! He’s been in Michigan doing some BVI intensive training for six weeks. Hence, my mother’s angelic presence… Hope you are well!

Leave a Reply