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Friday, August 12, 2011

Orange Cinnamon Bread

While I may be the queen of trains, they don't always like to obey my commands.  This is unfortunate, because I have to rely on two different train systems to get to and from work.  Back in March, boyfriend moved to a great little apartment in New Jersey.  He had transferred to the New York office of his company and thereby moved closer to me (while I was still in Connecticut).  In May, I received the offer for my dream job on Long Island and, as you know, I jumped at it.

So, now I travel from New Jersey to Long Island everyday.  I am subject to the trials and tribulations of both the New Jersey transit and the Long Island Railroad and the two systems do not like to cooperate with each other.  Inevitably one train will be late, and the other will be right on time.  This is a problem and I'm the girl you see, running through Penn station, mowing down little old ladies with big suitcases.  I had to hurdle over a toddler once.

Okay, I'm not really jumping over children and knocking down grannies.  But I am that blur you see out of the corner of your eye.  Why do my trains always come in on the furthest apart platforms?  LIRR - platform 21, NJT - platform 1, blurg!

In the past three weeks there have been three different problems.  1. "Police situation" held up my LIRR train for an hour, then it rained on me.  2. Lightning struck some important train equipment, keeping all LIRR trains from entering New York city.  3. A derailed train in Penn station caused all NJT trains hours of delays and rerouted trains.  And I've only been commuting via train for a month, I can't wait to see what the future of train travel brings me! 

I will tell you this, I know all the ins and outs of Penn station, like which bathrooms are generally the cleanest.

Orange Cinnamon Bread
Adapted from The Bread Bible

I loved this bread and of course I used it to make French toast!  It also works really well, just browned in the toaster and slathered with some butter.  It's the perfect after dinner snack!  WARNING - this recipe makes two loaves of bread.  It is super easy to divide everything by two if you only want one.  I had fun playing with this huge mass of dough.
1/4 cup warm water (105-115 F)
1 tbsp active dry yeast
pinch of sugar

1 cup warm water
1 cup room temperature orange juice
1/2 cup sugar
4 tbsp butter, melted
2 large eggs, room temperature
Zest of 2 oranges
2 tsp salt
6 1/2 - 7 1/2 cups all purpose flour (or bread flour)

2/3 cup sugar & 1 1/2 tbsp cinnamon, mixed
2 tbsp butter, melted

1 egg, beaten plus 1 tbsp water

In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup warm water, yeast and pinch of sugar.  Stir to mix and let sit for 10 minutes.  The yeast should foam up.

Combine water, orange juice, sugar, butter, eggs, zest and 2 cups of flour.  Mix for 1 minute.  Add yeast and another cup of flour.  Mix for 1 minute.  Add remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough clears the sides of the bowls.  Knead by hand for 5 minutes or by dough hook for 3 minutes.  The dough will be very soft, although it should be tacky, not sticky.

Coat a deep bowl with spray oil and add dough, turn dough to coat in oil.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size. 

Punch down the dough and divide in half.  Pat each half into a 8x12-inch rectangle.  Brush each rectangle with melted butter and coat with cinnamon-sugar.  Roll dough up into a 8-inch long tube, pinch the seam shut.  Lightly coat 2 9x5-inch loaf pans with cooking spray and place dough rolls in, seam side down.  Loosely cover in plastic wrap and allow to rise until the dough reaches the top of the pans.

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Brush the tops of the loaves with egg wash.  Bake for 20 minutes, rotate 180 degrees and bake for another 20 minutes. 

Remove from the oven once the bread is golden brown and remove from the pans.  Allow to cool on wire racks completely before slicing.
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