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Cinnamon Star Bread

When the weather turns cold and the snow starts to fly, I use my oven to fill my home with the scents of the season—warm vanilla, spiced cinnamon, and intoxicating cocoa.

The kitchen is my sanctuary, a place of peace and shelter from the stress the holidays can create.

Baking is one of the ways I show and share my love towards friends and family.

During this time of year, there is a lot of love to go around.

As a holiday tradition, each year I look for a new recipe to serve on Christmas morning.

Since the days leading up to the holidays can be busy, the recipe needs to be simple, sweet, and easy to accomplish—there is no time to spend hours in the kitchen.

When I found this recipe for Cinnamon Star Bread from King Arthur Flour, I knew it was the perfect fit.

Though this twist on the classic cinnamon roll may not suggest simplicity, the reality is that this recipe does come together easily.

While the bread takes about three hours from start to finish, only about a half hour of that time is active.

While the dough rises, you are free to move about the house and do other things.

Perhaps, best of all, the pull-apart shape of the bread is already suited for sharing.

The sweet bread dough comes together quickly and easily.

All dough ingredients are tossed into a mixing bowl and mixed either by hand (I prefer using a dough scraper) or machine until the dough comes together.

Then, the dough is kneaded—again, either by hand or machine (using a dough hook with a stand mixer or bread machine)—for several minutes until it takes on a soft, smooth appearance.

The process is simple, and the dough itself is very forgiving.

I prefer using all-purpose flour in this recipe because it yields a more tender dough.

Traditional bread flour forms a more structured dough because bread flour has more protein than all-purpose flour, and forms more gluten when kneaded.

Therefore, using a flour with less gluten, like all-purpose flour, creates a softer dough.

In addition to the flour, nonfat dry milk and potato flour (or instant mashed potato flakes) are also added to create a tender bread. Don’t worry—the potato doesn’t add any flavor here; it just helps the bread retain moisture after baking.

Once kneaded, the dough is placed in a lightly greased bowl, covered with a clean kitchen towel, and left to rise at room temperature for one hour, or until it doubles in size.
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Source: Cinnamon Star Bread

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