Maple Bread

We’ve all had breakfast for dinner, right?  Like, when you decide to have waffles and bacon for dinner because, well, they’re waffles and bacon and why wouldn’t you?

And I KNOW we’ve all had dessert for breakfast, and don’t even say you haven’t.  Ever had a bowl of super sugary cereal?  Dessert for breakfast.  Grabbed a Pop-Tart or a donut on your way out the door?  Dessert for breakfast.

Or, really, really good waffles?  Also kinda dessert.

Anyway, this recipe falls into the dessert for breakfast category.  But since you’re making it from scratch that means its “cooking”, and therefore is “better for you”.

Because, science.

Ingredients

·        ¼ cup warm water

·        1 package active dry yeast

·        1 cup warm milk

·        1/3 cup + 2 T butter, divided and softened to room temperature

·        ¼ cup sugar

·        2 eggs, brought to room temperature

·        2 t vanilla, divided

·        ½ t salt

·        5 cups flour (ish…you may not need all of it)

·        1 cup maple syrup

·        4 T melted butter (This is in addition to the butter above.  More butter, more goodness.)

·        1 cup dark brown sugar

·        1 t cinnamon


Directions

First off, you’ll want to coat a bowl with grease (butter or spray) and set that aside.

In a separate bowl, pour the warm water and yeast and whisk until the yeast dissolves.IMG_2077

Next, add the milk, 1/3 cup butter, sugar, eggs, 1 t vanilla, salt and about half of the flour.  Beat with your hand mixer for a few minutes.  Then, keep adding flour until the dough is firm and a bit sticky – you may have to start mixing with a wooden spoon or your hands, otherwise you might blow out the motor of your mixer.  Unfortunately, this isn’t super-precise – you’re going to have to kind of eyeball this one.

When the dough is mixed, transfer it to a floured surface and knead it for about 8 minutes.  Once the dough is nice and elastic, transfer it to your greased bowl, turning the dough over once so that there’s a little grease all around it.IMG_2078


IMG_2080Cover the bowl with a hand towel, set it in a warm area and let the dough rise for an hour, until it’s about twice the size it started.

IMG_2087After the hour, take out the dough and punch it down.  For those who haven’t punched down dough before, while you do use your fist, you’re not actually “punching” the dough – at least not as violently as the name suggests.  What you do is, make a fist, and push gently but firmly into the middle of the dough.  Then, take the edges of the dough and fold them back into the center, so you can form a ball.

What this does, briefly, is releases a lot of the air that had built up while the dough has been rising.  The more air you remove, the tighter the bread grains will be (think sandwich bread versus, say, a loaf of French bread).  Because we’d like these somewhat airy, just punch and fold it the one time.

Once that’s done, move the dough back to a floured surface and divide it into 17-20 equal-ish size balls of dough.IMG_2089

Next, in a small saucepan, mix the maple syrup and the 2 T butter.  Heat on medium and cook for 4-5 minutes, until the butter is completely melted and integrated with the syrup.

Now, we’re going to need two smaller bowls (yeah, this recipe is kind of a mess).  In one, put the 4 Tablespoons of melted butter.  In the other, pour the brown sugar and cinnamon.  Whisk the brown sugar and cinnamon until they’re well combined.

Now, you’re going to set up a kind of kitchen assembly line.  Here are the stations:

1.      Balls of dough

2.      Melted butter

3.      Sugar and cinnamon

4.      Bundt pan that’s been greased and floured

5.      Syrup mixture

IMG_2090What you’ll do is take the dough one ball at a time and dip in into the butter, then roll it around the sugar and cinnamon, then place it in the bundt pan.  It’ll take maybe a third of the rolls (5 to 7) to cover the bottom of the pan – maybe one or two more or less, depending on how many you made.  The goal is to just get a layer down.IMG_2091

Once you have this first layer down, take the syrup mixture and pour about a third of it over the dough.

Then, you’ll repeat the process with the rest of the dough balls – butter, sugar and cinnamon, bundt pan.  Once you’ve done this with all the balls, pour the rest of the syrup mixture on top of it.IMG_2093

Cover the bundt pan with a hand towel and let it rise again for another hour, until it’s about doubled in size.IMG_2096

Bake at 350 for about 35 minutes, or until the whole thing is a nice golden brown.IMG_2099IMG_2121IMG_2125IMG_2128

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