Earlier this year in April, I returned to Perth and whilst alone, found myself missing a friend with whom I had parted ways a couple of months back. It was a difficult time, and I'd like to think we parted ways amicably, but we know that's not true. People drift apart, I have certainly had my fair share of friends coming and going over the years - I just never entertained the thought of it happening with me and her. Some friendships run so deep that you never even entertain the thought of it ending, but c'est la vie.
That aside, I was just not in a good place, and turned to scouring cookbooks, finding a recipe for cinnamon bread, 'braided' into a wreath, sparking my nostalgia for warm bread and cinnamon sugar. Her mother always loved cinnamon, and I baked it to remember the times I spent time with her and her parents, buying cinnamon buns for her mother when I visited.
With some research (googling), I made my first cinnamon wreath, satisfied with it and feeling better about the whole situation.
Since then, I never made it again. Not because it wasn't good or delicious, but only because I either had no time or I did not want to bring out a quiet sadness when the scent of cinnamon bread fills my little apartment. I'd like to say I'm over the failure of keeping another friend (and by extension their family) in my life, but I can be honest with both you and myself that that will never happen for me. I will always remember her for all our good times together, in the way people remember past chapters of their life. It's like looking at a chipped teacup, there is a sad beauty in the situation.
Today I decided to go back to this recipe, and I am happy to share it with you, fair reader.
To make dough:
2 cups flour
1/2 cup milk, warmed
1 sachet (7g) yeast
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp melted butter
To make cinnamon mixture:
1/4 cup butter, melted
4 tbsp cinnamon
5 tbsp sugar
In a dry, clean bowl, combine warmed milk, sugar, yeast and let it sit until yeast foams
Add flour, egg yolk, butter when yeast mixture foams and combine until dough forms into a ball
Return dough to bowl and allow it to sit until it is at least double in size (half an hour to an hour)
Preheat oven to 200C
When dough is ready, roll out on a clean surface and into thickness of 1 - 2cm
Spread melted butter followed by cinnamon-sugar mixture, leaving a small amount for final step
Roll up the dough, with mixture layer facing inward
Slice the dough lengthwise
Twist two half pieces together to form single 'rope' with the mixture layer facing outwards
Pinch/twist two ends together to form a wreath
Reduce oven heat to 180C
Spread more melted butter on top of wreath and more cinnamon sugar if necessary
Bake for 30 -35 minutes, reducing heat further to 120C after 10 minutes
When the top turns golden brown, or sounds 'hollow' when tapped on surface, or when inserted skewer removes clean, take out of oven and allow to cool before serving.
If you ever try out this recipe, I hope you get a delicious result. Have it with your friends, have it alone, sprinkle more cinnamon sugar if you want, have it with tea, have it with milk, have it as it is. Tie a ribbon on it to present it as a lovely gift, see the smiles of whoever receives it, and then see how happy that makes you.
You could take this as just another narcissistic entry of personal baking adventures, or you could read this for reference or boredom - it doesn't matter to me. What matters to me is that you, my reader at this moment, no matter how you stumbled into this entry, know that things will be alright. If you are, for any reason, unhappy or upset, I just would like to tell you, and maybe reassure you in some sense, everything will be just fine.
Chin up, buttercup, and have some cinnamon bread.