Danes have a special love affair with cinnamon. If you cycle around Copenhagen in the early hours of the morning and pass by a bakery, you will most likely be enveloped by a sweet, perfumed cinnamon smell inviting you to buy a warm cinnamon bun or a cinnamon bread fresh out of the oven. It is a real Danish classic and we eat so much cinnamon that it caused major uproar when the European Union tried to limit the amount of cinnamon allowed in baked goods a few years ago. Luckily for us it did not succeed and we can now enjoy our cinnamon breads were saved.
I, of course, have my favourite bakery where I go to get my cinnamon fix, but I prefer baking cinnamon bread myself. It is dead easy, will make your entire home smell amazing, and it means that you don’t have to get up on a Sunday morning and go to the bakery. A distinct advantage on a rainy and windy weekend.
Enough for a two liter loaf tin
½ package of fresh yeast
2 deciliter of milk
75g butter + ekstra for the tin
50g cane sugar
A pinch of salt
½ a vanilla pod
500-550g wheat flour
125g softened butter
175g cane sugar
100g icing sugar
Cut the butter into cubes. Heat the milk and butter until the butter has melted and the mixture is lukewarm.
Add the yeast and stir until it dissolves and then add salt and sugar. Transfer to a stand mixer, add 2/3 of the four, eggs and the seeds of the vanilla pod. Mix and add more flour as required. Knead the dough for at least ten minutes until it is very smooth and soft. You get the best results by kneading it on a stand mixer, but you can do it by hand as well.
Let the dough rise until it has doubled in size. This takes around 1-1½ hours.
Meanwhile make the filling by mixing butter, sugar and cinnamon until soft. Grease a two liter loaf tin well with butter.
When the dough has risen transfer it to a surface covered with flour and shape into a rectangle about 30×40 cm. Spread the filling evenly over the dough.
Roll the dough firmly, turn the edges in underneath and place the cinnamon bread in the greased tin.
With a pair of scissors cut deep into the bread from the top in a zigzag pattern and let the bread rise for 30 minutes.
Turn on the oven at 180 degrees Celsius and bake the cinnamon bread for 30-40 minutes. If it starts getting too dark, cover it for the last 10-15 minutes of the baking time. Let the bread cool down in the tin for a bit and then transfer it to a wire rack to cool down completely.
Make the icing by mixing icing sugar with water and then spread the icing over the bread.
Serve the cinnamon bread in thick slices. It will keep for a day or two if covered up well, but it tastes best freshly baked.