Cinnamon Swirl Bread

This recipe makes 3 delectable loaves of bread, or, as I typically make, 2 loaves of bread and a pan of cinnamon rolls.  It's got a great texture and is very light.  It's definitely a favorite!

Adapted from a recipe from Bountiful Kitchen

2 packages instant yeast (4 1/2 t.)
2 c. warm water, 100 - 110 degrees Fahrenheit
4 T granulated sugar, divided
2 c. milk
5 T. shortening or unsalted butter, softened
4 t. salt
8 - 10 c. bread flour

3/4 c. granulated sugar
1/3 c. light brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 T. cinnamon

In a large mixing bowl, sprinkle the yeast and 1 Tablespoon of the granulated sugar over the warm water.  Let sit for 10 minutes.

Warm milk in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.  Stir in the butter, remaining 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar and salt.  Stir until the butter is melted.  If the mixture is warmer than 110 degrees Fahrenheit, let cool to between 100 and 110 degrees.  Add to the yeast mixture along with 5 c. bread flour.  Mix with a stand mixer or by hand.  Add 2 cups more of the flour and continue to mix.  Add remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough is no longer sticky.  Knead 5 - 8 minutes, until smooth and satiny.

Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, covered with a clean towel or plastic wrap, in a warm place for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size,

Meanwhile, mix together the filling ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Once the dough has doubled, punch down and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled again, 30-45 minutes.  Grease 3 standard bread pans {or 2 bread pans and a 9" cake pan for cinnamon rolls}.  Remove the dough from the bowl and divide into 3 pieces.  Roll each piece into a 8x10" rectangle.  Spread each rectangle with an even amount of filling.  Roll each piece up, starting at the short end for bread or the long end for cinnamon rolls, pinch the seam and place in the pan seam side down.  {For cinnamon rolls, cut the length of dough into about 2 inch pieces and place in the prepared pan}.

Cover loosely with clean towel or plastic wrap and let rise, in a warm place, 30-45 minutes, or until doubled again.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Bake 20 minutes for cinnamon rolls and 45 minutes for loaves of bread.

Remove the loaves from the pans immediately and let cool on wire racks.   If you've made cinnamon rolls, make a cream cheese glaze while they're baking and spread on hot rolls once they're out of the oven.  {Cream Cheese Glaze = 3 T. cream cheese, softened; 1 1/2c. confectioners sugar; 3 T. milk; 1/2 t. vanilla extract.  Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl until smooth.  Set aside.}

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