It was a quiet weekend. First, with Frank out of town and the apartment to myself, and then with a terrible cold that knocked me right out of commission and kept me curled up at home, watching movies and drinking juice for the better part of the weekend. St. Patrick’s Day was celebrated with little more “green” than green tea. Apart from the cold, it was a welcome break after a couple busy weeks. On Sunday I was still dragging a bit, but I was in the mood to bake.
Baking in my pajamas, to the the Avett Brothers.
Despite the heat outside, it is still so comforting to have something baking in the oven. Yeast and flour…and nutella. The original recipe for this bread was a tender white bread wrapped around a ribbon of nutmeg-laced nutella. And though I am not about to tell you that I ever pass up nutella (I adore the stuff), I paired the nutella sort with a version that was filled with raspberry jam. Cut in thick slices with a sweep of butter, it made an amazing breakfast.
I was due for a bit of baking, particularly with today being a Secret Recipe Club day. I found this recipe via Carrie’s Sweet Life, and its twists and turns of nutella and dough reminded me of last Christmas’ povitica. I’ve been looking for an excuse to make another variety of swirled bread. I find that the more thin I roll out the dough, the more I love the result. More surface area to spread the filling means more layers in the slices. I made four petite loaves (2 nutella and 2 raspberry), and each was unique.
This would be a great thing to serve at a bunch or to give to friends. It will travel better than more complex baked breakfast treats, but is just as delicious.
A bread like this on a weekend morning is so comforting that it might even cure the common cold. (Here’s hoping.)
- 1 pack active dry yeast (2-1/4 teaspoons)
- ¼ cup sugar, plus a pinch
- 1-1/4 cups whole milk, warm to the touch
- ½ stick (4 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3-3/4 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup Nutella
- 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
- Make the dough. Combine the yeast with the pinch of sugar and ¼ cup of the warm milk in a small bowl. Set aside and let rest for 3 minutes. In a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the butter, the remaining 1 cup milk and the remaining ¼ cup sugar on low speed for 3 minutes. Add the salt, egg and vanilla, and mix on low for another minute. Add the yeast mixture and mix again on low for 1 minute more. With the mixer running on low, slowly add 2 and ¾ cups of the flour. Mix just until you work the flour into the liquids. Add another 1 cup flour, increase the mixer speed to medium, and beat the dough for 2-3 minutes. If the dough does not come together and clean the sides of the bowl, gradually add up to ¼ cup more flour and continue beating on medium until the dough forms a smooth ball, about 3 minutes. Turn the dough out into a lightly oiled bowl and allow to rise in a warm place until it is doubled in size, about 1.5 hours.
- Roll and fill the dough. Butter a 9-x-5 inch loaf pan. Put the dough on a large work surface lightly dusted with flour, lightly dust the top of the dough and roll the dough into a rectangle of about 24 x 24 inches. (Note: This is much larger than the original recipe calls for, but I prefer the many layers that it creates in the final product. You can opt to roll it out to half this size for thicker, but fewer, swirls of filling.) In a small bowl, microwave the nutella for 10 seconds to soften it. Gently spread the nutella over the entire surface of the dough. Starting from the side of the dough that is closes to you, roll the dough up jelly-roll fashion. Place one end of the roll in the buttered pan, and wind it around to fill the pan. Tuck the end of the roll under so that the surface of the dough is smooth. Cover the pan loosely with a dish towel and allow to rise in a warm place for 45 minutes.
- Bake. When the dough has almost fully risen, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Bake the bread for 20 minutes. Cover loosely with a foil tent and bake for another 20-25 minutes, until the bread is golden and sounds hollow when the bottom of the pan is tapped. Transfer the pan to a rack and immediately brush the top with melted butter. Allow to cool for a few minutes more, and invert the bread to cool to room temperature on a cooling rack.