Hands down this is the best sweet bread I have ever made.
You guys, I really just do not even have words. This bread is incredible.
I know I plan on making it every Sunday from now until Christmas.
I have many reasons for this.
One is that it is addicting.
Seriously, you will want slice after slice.
Two is the smell.
Oh the smell. It is pure happiness in the air. I would make this bread just for the smell it throws off while baking. Think about how it would smell to be in Mrs. Clause’s kitchen and that is this smell. I would make it even if I could not eat it, just to smell the smell.
The more I think about it, this is a great bread to give to others during the holidays. You get to experience the joy of giving (and filling your house with that awesome aroma!), and your receiver will thank you to no end. Perfect for an elderly neighbor, your friend who just had a baby, the UPS man (or woman). Yeah, the UPS man… speaking of which, mine is seriously overworked! You see up here in the mountains, we don’t have a whole lot of buying choices, so Amazon and online shopping, they are my savior! No really, I can’t imagine what I would do if I wasn’t able to shop online. So Jose (my UPS guy), this bread’s for you!
The ropes of soft delicate brioche dough are taken through a bath of butter and vanilla and then generously sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. Yes, yes, yes!
It’s like a cinnamon roll brioche bread!
I left this bread free of icing because it really does not need any.
There is a whole layer of crunchy streusel on top that really just needs to be left to shine. And it does. Trust me, it is so good. Just a little crunchy on the top, but super soft and doughy, cinnamony and buttery in the middle.
Oh my gooooshhh.
Just make it guys.
The dough is really easy to work with and the hands-on time is very minimal. Just mix and let the dough sit overnight, then roll some ropes, dip in butter, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, braid and let rise for another hour or so. Then bake and smell the amazingness.
And I am serious. It really is amazing.
Cinnamon Crunch Braided Brioche Bread
Cinnamon Sugar Coating
Combine warm water, yeast, salt and sugar in a large mixer bowl and mix on low speed until incorporated. Add eggs and melted butter and mix until combined. Gradually mix in the flour until the dough comes together. Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a lightly floured surface. Grease a large bowl and add the dough to the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit 1-2 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.
Once the dough has doubled in size place the bowl in the fridge overnight or up to 5 days. When ready to bake the bread remove the dough and let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes.
In the meantime gather the ingredients for the Cinnamon Sugar Coating. Add the 1/2 cup melted butter to a large shallow bowl, stir in the vanilla.
In another medium size bowl combine the 1 cup brown sugar with 2 teaspoons cinnamon. Mix well.
Grease a loaf pan and sprinkle the inside of the loaf pan with the Cinnamon Sugar Coating.
Sprinkle the dough with flour and cut into three equal pieces. Carefully roll each piece into a 12-inch rope.
Now take each rope and dip it through the butter, then generously sprinkle each rope with the Cinnamon Sugar Coating. Now gently roll each rope in the remaining coating that has gathered around the rope on your work surface. I used most of my cinnamon sugar for this.
To make the braid, start at one end and pinch the ends of the rope together. Bring the right outside rope over the center rope; that rope now becomes the center. Bring the left outside rope over the new center rope; that rope now becomes the center. Continue braiding until you reach the end. Pinch the ropes together to seal.
Carefully lift the braid and place it in the greased and sugared loaf pan. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm draft free area another 1-2 hours, or until double in size. About 20 minutes before you are ready to bake the bread preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Make the streusel. In a bowl add the brown sugar, butter, cinnamon and pecans. Using your hands work the butter into the sugar until the mixture resembles small peas.
Place the loaf on a baking sheet and and sprinkle the streusel overtop. Bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven for 45 to 55 minutes, tenting with foil after 15 to 20. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then carefully turn the bread out of pan to cool completely before slicing. If some of the streusel falls off, just place it back on the loaf.