Cinnamon Roll French ToastMarch 12, 2014
So French toast has been a new delight in America. We have it in England, but with America doing brunch so incredibly well i've had the delightful experience of discovering it all over again.
I've decided that my ideal French toast is thick cut bread, crisp on the outside with a sticky, fluffy center. America has also developed my love of cinnamon, particularly sweet cinnamon in a soft, chewy roll with a morning coffee. I figure that mixing these two together would be nothing short of miraculous flavourwise, and though I say so myself, I was incredibly right.
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 packet of fast action yeast
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter
1 tsp salt
Dash of vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 tblsp ground cinnamon
Dash of vanilla extract
Shake of sugar
To make the dough tear or chop the sticks of vey cold butter into the flour and rub through with your fingers to make a wet sand mixture. Add in the sugar, yeast, salt and mix through.
Crack an egg into a bowl and whisk with the milk and vanilla extract.
Make a well in the flour and pour in the milk mixture, using your fingers or a fork, stir the milk and gradually work in the flour from the sides of the well until it's too thick to stir. Work the dough with your hands until it is one lump then move to a floured surface to knead it well.
To save your flour bags from picking up a sticky residue of your cinnamon bun project use this tip to keep your surface well floured.
Knead the dough until it's very smooth, for about 10 minutes. The enriched nature of this dough makes it's incredibly smooth with a rich, lustered appearance- it's lovely to knead so do it well to ensure a good rise!
Tuck the dough into a ball and plop back into the bowl, put it somewhere warm to rise. If, like me you don't have a hot cupboard then use your oven as I did here.
Make up the filling whilst the dough rises. Warm the butter for a couple of seconds in the microwave until it can be whipped. Add in the sugar and cinnamon and mix well, set aside for later.
When the dough has doubled in size remove it from the bowl and squash out the air, knead it for a minute or two until it relaxes and becomes more workable. Roll out the dough into a long rectangle, about a 1/4 inch in thickness.
Spread half of the cinnamon mix on to the top half of the rectangle of dough, fold the uncoated dough over the top so you have a square. Spread the remaining filling onto the folded dough and roll from the side into a fat sausage. Plop the roll into a loaf tin, tucking the edges under if the roll is too long to fit.
Cover with cling film and leave to rise again for another 30-40 minutes.
Bake the loaf in a preheated oven at 350F for about 30 minutes.
Once baked and cooled a little, cut into thick slices at least 1/2 inch thick- more if you are hungover.
Soak the slices for a couple of minutes on each side in a mix of egg, vanilla extract. If you are using the loaf straight out of the oven the loaf will require a little less of a soak as it will already be pretty soft and buttery. Shake a little sugar over each side of the bread- this will help with the all important crunch.
Fry in a medium hot pan in bubbling butter until golden brown on each side. Serve with a drizzle of icing made up from icing sugar, whole milk and vanilla- the quantities will depend on how much you want to make and how thick you like it. Start with the icing sugar in the cup and add a very small amount of milk until it's right.
I love to throw a couple of fresh strawberries or blueberries over to lighten it up.