Back to the good stuff. Last November I took a bread class, and we learned how to make a sweet dough and then used it to make this bread, doughnuts, and fruit swirl rolls. This, by far, was my favorite as I am a cinnamon fiend. Not only is this very easy to make, it's a beautiful loaf of bread, outside and in. I'm really not sure why it's called a Russian braid, but let's just go with it. The bread is similar to a cinnamon roll, but you use cream instead of butter. Also, the cinnamon sugar is very potent--there's much more cinnamon in the mix than for regular cinnamon rolls. A great alternative to this is subbing out the cinnamon for cocoa powder, and then you have a chocolate braid. I haven't tried this because I can't seem to move beyond the cinnamon, but I'm sure it's excellent. The next time you want a sweet treat, you definitely should try this!
While it looks like it must take a lot of time and be hard to make, it's really not. The extra steps are rolling it out, spreading the toppings on it, rolling it up, cutting it, twisting it, and cramming it into pans to rise. I think it takes the same amount of time as cinnamon rolls, and it's definitely something unique looking. Your guests will be impressed. I guarantee it.
Makes 2 loaves
Print this recipe
For the bread:
1 cup warm milk
5 ounces sugar (1/2 cup)
1 1/2 tablespoon yeast
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon salt
21 ounces all purpose flour (4 1/4 cups)
For the filling:
1/4 cup cinnamon
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
To make the dough, in a large mixing bowl, mix together the yeast, sugar, and warm milk (about 100 degrees). Let sit for 5-10 minutes until foamy. Add butter, eggs, and salt and combine with the paddle attachment. Add in flour and mix until a soft dough forms. Switch to dough hook and knead until dough is soft and supple. This dough will be wet and sticky, but you'll want to avoid adding a lot more flour. Transfer to a greased bowl, cover, and let it rise until doubled (about 1 hour). If you have time, punch the dough down and place in the fridge for at least an hour. If you don't have the time, don't worry. Keep reading.
Combine the cinnamon and sugar together. Line two 9-inch bread pans with parchment paper.
Divide the dough into two pieces, and roll each piece into a 12x17 inch rectangle. Brush with the cream, and sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the cream. Roll each rectangle from the 12 inch side into a log. If you dough is chilled, cut each log in half lengthwise (see picture below). If your dough was not chilled, place the log in the freezer for 10-20 minutes until slightly firm (this will make it much easier to cut and work with), and then you can cut it in half lengthwise.
Take the two pieces and loosely twist together, leaving the cut side up. Place the twists in the parchment-lined bread pans, cut side up. You'll have to squish it in there a bit. Let the loaves proof until doubled, about 30-60 minutes. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes until browned. Let cool before serving.
Source: Cook Street
Here's some (hopefully) helpful pictures:
Cut the logs in half lengthwise.