Bakingfilter: Any tricks to amplify the cinnamon taste in bread?
September 2, 2019 2:13 PM   Subscribe

I make a pretty good loaf of cinnamon raisin bread, if I do say so myself. But I’d like to kick up the cinnamon taste, and I’m at a loss.

The bread is good, but it tastes like raisin bread with a hint of cinnamon, and I want it to taste like CINNAMON raisin bread. I’m at the point where adding more and more cinnamon isn’t having the desired results. Here’s what I’ve tried:

I use top-quality, Vietnamese cinnamon. The sweet, strong stuff that tastes like candy.
I put several tablespoons of cinnamon in the dough, and several more in a cinnamon/brown sugar swirl. Adding more doesn’t seem to make an appreciable difference.
I’ve tried infusing cinnamon flavor into the raisins by soaking them in cinnamon water. Also tried soaking them in Fireball.

Any other suggestions of things I could try would be most welcome. Thanks!

Here’s my basic recipe:

Dry ingredients:
Three cups flour (usually a combination of whole wheat, spelt and/or barley)
Vital wheat gluten (if heavy on the whole wheat flour)
Cinnamon (lots).

Wet ingredients:
1.25-1.5 cups lukewarm water, depending on the flour mix
1/2 tbsp yeast
A little honey, molasses or brown sugar, to help feed the yeast.
Oil or butter (sometimes)

Swirl mix:
3 tbsp brown sugar
Cinnamon (lots)

Mix dry and wet ingredients together, let stand for about half an hour, then knead for 5-10 minutes. Put in a covered, oiled bowl and let rise until doubled in size. Roll out into a long, narrow strip. Sprinkle on one cup of raisins and the Swirl mix. Roll up into a loaf. Put in greased bread pan and let rise. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit until internal temp is 185 degrees. Usually around 30-40 minutes.
posted by mammoth to Food & Drink (16 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
How fresh is your cinnamon? I’d try using sticks and grinding for maximum freshness. You could also try dotting some butter where you roll the swirl in so the cinnamon gets infused, as fat draws out and concentrated flavor.
posted by stillmoving at 2:23 PM on September 2, 2019 [6 favorites]

Batter will usually “encapsulate” the flavor of any dry ingredient dissolved into it, so I wouldn’t expect upping the amount of cinnamon there to have much effect. What you want is more cinnamon somehow dispersed throughout the final product but not dissolved in the batter itself. You could try rolling out your dough 1.5 times longer/wider and using 1.5 times as much swirl. A cinnamon glaze coating the finished product would help as well.
posted by STFUDonnie at 2:27 PM on September 2, 2019 [2 favorites]

Cinnamon oil?
posted by Burhanistan at 2:33 PM on September 2, 2019 [6 favorites]

Use 2-3 different types of cinnamon all together.
posted by SaltySalticid at 2:36 PM on September 2, 2019 [5 favorites]

What you want is a concentrated flavor in the swirl. You are missing fat in there, but you don't want your bread to separate like a cinnamon roll when you slice it, especially if you're using it for toasting. There's an easy fix for that (not a 100% success rate though): use a thin layer of egg wash (+ a lil water) on the interior of the dough before sprinkling on it with the cinnamon sugar (which, you'll add a teaspoon or two of flour to), and ROLL YOUR DOUGH THIN, so you get a more distributed 'swirl'. I would not personally recommend using cinnamon oil, it is incredibly intense and is used in tiny amounts for candy making. Cinnamon extract is cinnamon oil + alcohol, and easier to control. You could add that to the egg wash if you still it lacks oomph.
posted by SkinsOfCoconut at 3:07 PM on September 2, 2019 [5 favorites]

More salt?
posted by seemoorglass at 3:23 PM on September 2, 2019 [2 favorites]

Use 2-3 different types of cinnamon all together.

This! Most common off the shelf cinnamon is cassia, which is hotter and spicier than true cinnamon; true cinnamon tends to be more floral and less harsh. Using a few different types of cassia along with true cinnamon will turn up the volume a bit on all the parts.

Pre-ground spices almost always lose some intensity from the grinding process. Toasting whole cinnamon bark and grinding them to a powder yourself will get you a more intense flavor as well. For cinnamon, smashing the larger pieces with a mortar and pestle, then using a spice grinder on them is the best way to go. You’ll also want to sieve out large pieces that won’t break down. You won’t get the finest powder without some serious work, but it tastes way better. It’s a pain in the ass, but the flavor gods demand their sacrifice.
posted by furnace.heart at 3:40 PM on September 2, 2019 [12 favorites]

Try adding a little cloves with the cinnamon. Start with 1/4 tsp, as cloves have a strong flavour of their own, but cinnamon and cloves go together really well.
Also, add butter to the swirl mix to give it more richness.
posted by Enid Lareg at 4:48 PM on September 2, 2019 [3 favorites]

Roll out into a long, narrow strip.

Then brush flattened dough with melted butter, cooled. How much? JUST KEEP BUTTERING. Cover liberally with swirl mix and raisins. Proceed as usual.
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:04 PM on September 2, 2019 [2 favorites]

You can infuse your butter with cinnamon by heating it (gently! but high enough to get the oils) with broken cinnamon sticks first.
Also, essential cinnamon oil is quite powerful.
posted by zinful at 5:09 PM on September 2, 2019 [2 favorites]

I store my spices in the freezer. I think it helps them keep their flavor a lot longer.
posted by amtho at 5:58 PM on September 2, 2019

I would not worry about the cinnamon in the dough and use butter, brown sugar and cinnamon in the swirl. You need a fat to go with the cinnamon.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:19 PM on September 2, 2019 [5 favorites]

Add a touch of salt and some butter to your swirl mix. It will punch up your flavors.

Add just a dash of nutmeg. It'll be like adding steroids to your cinnamon.
posted by erst at 6:52 PM on September 2, 2019 [3 favorites]

They make cinnamon chips.
posted by typecloud at 7:59 AM on September 3, 2019

Thank you, everyone. Adding fat to the swirl made a huge difference. I'm embarrassed that I didn't think of that. Now to experiment with different fats, and infusing them with cinnamon. Thanks again!
posted by mammoth at 8:26 AM on September 5, 2019 [1 favorite]

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