Karl and I are majorly pissed. We work hard to tantalize your taste buds week in and week out. What do we hear back from you, Gentle Reader? The soothing sound of crickets, that’s what! The last time that Tony, our guest contributor, blogged, our server groaned, wheezed and crashed under the weight of additional traffic through our site. I don’t know exactly who they are, but Tony seems to have a great many friends and family that love his writing. We may be pissed, but we aren’t fools – we have asked him to contribute again! This is #2 in Tony’s “I Wish I Was a Baker” Series.
Fall in New England, in my humble opinion, is perfect for baking. The hot, muggy days of July and August just aren’t conducive to such toil. This is largely due to the fact that turning on the oven feels like a crime against humanity. I don’t want more heat in the summer. But when summer gives way to crisp September mornings and I start to notice the heavy presence of North Face jackets and Eddie Bauer flannel amongst the locals – it’s a reminder that it’s okay to turn on the oven. Let the baking commence!
I prep before I cook. It makes the actual act of cooking easier for me. No matter the recipe, I try to plan ahead and streamline the process. It may be the reason baking has become a joy for me. Baking demands you have your ducks in a row. On this day, however, I was lacking. I assembled the ingredients and noticed I didn’t have eggs. I needed two eggs, and fast. I texted my trusty Ohio neighbor, Dr. Bartokomous (his name has been changed to protect his innocence) in an attempt to commandeer his egg supply and sadly learned he was off teaching young minds the delicate art of political science. He suggested I contact Snowplace Farm, a small operation near our house. I gave them a call and drove over to pick up a dozen truly amazing eggs. $4.00 later, crisis averted.
Full disclosure here, this is not my recipe. I handwrote this recipe, likely from someone’s website. If this someone wants to come and claim it, I will give them all the credit for this great recipe because my family loves it. In another failed moment of poor note taking, I neglected to write down the amount of flour needed for this recipe. It took a couple of batches to realize that four cups, maybe even a tad less, was optimal. Here’s the recipe:
2 Sticks of softened butter
2 cups of Sugar
2 Eggs 2 cups of Buttermilk
2 tsp. Baking Soda
4 cups of Flour
A pinch of salt
You will also need the following for the cinnamon swirl mixture:
2/3 cup of Sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Though I refer to this as a bread, it is essentially a cake batter. A stand mixer is ideal for this volume, but a hand mixer will do the job. Cream the butter and sugar, combine the eggs and slowly add the buttermilk. Sift the flour, baking soda and a pinch of salt and slowly add the mixed dry ingredients to the wet ingredients to form a thick batter.
This recipe makes enough batter for two loaf pans or two 9” by 12” baking dishes. Separate your batter into well greased baking vessels (I used one loaf pan and an 11” x 7” baking dish for this recipe). You can grease using the buttered and floured method, just butter, canola oil, or as I chose to do, a liberal spritz of Canola cooking spray.
Coating the pan helps insure you have tasty caramelized edges on the bread. Spoon the cinnamon swirl mixture over the top and incorporate the cinnamon sugar using a cooking vessel friendly device.
If you are making the coffee cake variation, which I highly recommend, spoon the crumb mixture over the top of the batter-filled baking dish. Here is my crumb topping:
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1/4 Cup flour
1/2 Stick of Butter
1/2 Tsp. Ground Cinnamon
Pop the prepared pans into the oven and cook for roughly 45 minutes at about 350 degrees.
My oven has a hot spot and a “dead” spot. So I like to raise the temp and rotate every 20 minutes. For this recipe I bake at 365 degrees and cook for about an hour, due to frequent rotation.