Le Boulangerie (12) Cinnamon Swirl Bread

To accompany my novel in progress: Breaking Bread, welcome to Le Boulangerie.

I realized after I baked this bread and started preparing this post, that cinnamon bread is more of a mid winter, even holiday-esque kind of bread and here we are at the start of spring. Nevertheless, in my neck of the woods, we had our first real snowfall of any significance last week and the cold returned with a vengeance. Which put me in the mood for this comforting bit of goodness. And while this seems like a decadent loaf, the cinnamon has a positive effect on one’s blood sugar so don’t feel too bad in your indulgence!

Cinnamon Swirl Bread:

For the dough:

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup milk


  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon


  • In the stand mixer, combine all dough ingredients with the dough hook attachment.
  • After a smooth dough forms, allow to rise in the bowl, covered with a towel, for an hour and a half.
  • After rising is complete, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and roll (with a pin) into a rectangle 18×24″.
  • Mix together filling ingredients and spread onto the sheet of dough, leaving a one inch border all around.
  • Starting with the short end, roll the dough into a log. Pinch the ends closed and fit it, seam side down into a lightly greased 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ bread pan.
  • Cover pan and allow bread to rise for about 2 hours (or until the loaf crowns just above the rim of the pan).
  • Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes, tenting with aluminum foil about halfway through the bake time.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool on wire rack before slicing.


Le Boulangerie (1) Baguette

To accompany my novel in progress: Breaking Bread, welcome to Le Boulangerie!

There is no more appropriate bread to open this series with than the baguette. The most basic of breads, the simplest of ingredients and yet the most wonderful results. The composition of a traditional baguette is nothing more than flour, salt, yeast and water. You need no complicated tools, this can all be done by hand. Though it takes time to get from start to finish, most of that time is spent waiting for the rise. The actual working time is quite short. Here’s what you do:

We begin with a “starter” – a water/flour/yeast mixture that gives the yeast a head start in the consumption of the carbohydrates in the flour. The byproduct of ‘yeast eating sugar’ is CO2 and that is what makes bread rise.

1 cup  flour
1/2 tsp yeast
1 1/4 cup lukewarm water (comfortable enough to dip a finger in)

Combine in a large bowl, cover and let rise 2-3 hours, until it gets bubbly.

When the starter has done its thing…

Add in:
1 tsp yeast
2 additional cups of flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
Enough water to make a smooth dough (usually not more than another 1/4 cup)

Hand form dough into a smooth ball. (Or you can use a stand mixer with a dough hook) Place dough ball in a bowl dusted with flour, dust top with flour. Cover bowl with a kitchen towel. Let rise 40 minutes or until doubled in size. 

When doubled, cut dough in half, keeping as much air in the dough as possible. Fold and roll dough pieces into 2 baguettes. Place on floured baking sheet*, cover and let rise an hour. 

Heat oven to 425. Just before placing baguettes into the oven, slash the tops of the loaves diagonally several times. Spritz with water to make the loaves nice and crusty. Bake 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.

*I actually use a baguette pan. I have a similar one for Italian loaves. These aren’t necessary but they do help make more uniform loaves. I hope these turn out for you if you try them. They are the perfect accompaniment to a hearty soup or stew. Bon appetit!

Le Boulangerie de Marguerite

“How can a nation be called great if its bread tastes like kleenex?” Julia Child

Let’s forget about calories, carbohydrates and gluten* for just a moment shall we? Bread is the stuff of life. There is nothing like the aroma of warm loaves fresh from the oven. Cut a slice of that crisp crust and smear it with butter, let it drip down your fingers as it melts and savor … Accompanying hot soup on a cold day, with aged cheese and good olives for an hors d’oeuvre, good bread is one of life’s small pleasures.

Like my character Maya, in Breaking Bread, I love to bake. And even more than sweets, I love to bake bread. I fantasize about living in Paris in an apartment over un boulangerie, waking every morning to the smells of bread and strong coffee…. and in an effort to bring that fantasy as close as I can to reality (at least until I figure out a good plan to fake my own death, collect on the insurance and make my escape…) I have been baking my own bread for the last … well, a long time.

Some of my favorites: A simple baguette – water, salt, flour and yeast. A brioche – sweet and rich with eggs and sugar. Challah – braided and risen in a pretty pattern. And a simple maple buttermilk bread, perfect for toast in the morning. Oh, and home made deep dish pizza…


J’adore le bon pain. Avec un cafe, sil vous plait!

*unless of course you are intolerant to gluten or have celiac disease