I love this bread. It reminds me of home for some reason even though my mom never made cinnamon braid. It is just comforting I guess. Warm, chewy, cinnamon-y. Yum! This recipe is from Tastes of Lizzy.
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tbsp cinnamon
2 tbsp vegetable shortening
2 tbsp light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1 stick butter, softened
4 1/2 cups bread flour, sifted
4 tbsp cold butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1. Warm 1 cup milk in microwave until 105-110 degrees.
2. Stir 1/2 cup white sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, and 2 1/4 tsp yeast to the milk. Leave aside until frothy (5 minutes).
3. Add 1 stick softened butter and 2 eggs.
4. Sift 4 cups flour into large bowl: Reserve last 1/2 cup of flour to add in with your hands.
5. Create a well in the flour and add the milk mixture: Mix with a spatula at first and then combine with your hands. Once flour is combined add the last 1/2 of flour and turn out onto a floured service. Knead dough for approximately 10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. Add more flour if you need to but I add less than 1/4 a cup. If you add too much it will be dry.
6. Grease a bowl with vegetable oil and cover it. Allow to rise until doubled or about 1 hours.
7. While dough is proofing, make cinnamon chips.
8. Preheat over to 300 degrees F. Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet and spray with cooking spray.
9. In a medium sized bowl, combine 2/3 cup granulated sugar, 3 tbsp cinnamon, 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening, 2 tbsp light corn syrup, and 1/4 tsp vanilla: Mix with a fork until uniform and crumbly.
10. Spread into a square on parchment lined baking sheet. Flatten to about 1/4 inch thick.
11. Bake until mixture is melted and bubbly, about 35 minutes. If mixture is not bubbly or spread out, then increase the temperature of the oven.
12. Cool completely and cut into small pieces.
13. Split dough into two balls. Knead 1/2 cup of homemade cinnamon chips into each ball: They wont want to stick right away but just keep going.
14. Braid each ball of dough: I prefer a 6-strand braid so here is how you do that. Split one ball of dough into 6 equal sized pieces. Roll them out until 12″ long. Spread out pieces of dough so they meet at a point at the top (like an octopus) and pinch them together at the point. Follow this pattern beginning with the left most piece. Over 2, over 3, under 4, over 5, over 6. Repeat with the left most piece again. When you reach the bottom you will see a bump of dough going straight through the middle. Pinch the pieces together at the bottom and transfer to parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat with other ball of dough.
15. Beat the remaining egg and brush tops of loaves with it.
16. Combine streusel ingredients using a pastry blender, knife, or fork: DO NOT USE YOUR HANDS! It will melt the butter.
17. Spread streusel equally over the loaves and leave to proof for another 1/2 hour. Preheat over to 350 degrees F at this point.
18. Bake for 25 minutes in a 350 degree oven.