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Francis Quinn's Chai Cinnamon Swirl


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When it is cold outside this fabulous recipe from Francis Quin, last year's British Bake Off winner, is perfect to enjoy with a pot of hot tea.

We really like how Francis encourages everyone to have a go, inspiring us all to bake more; as you can see from this recipe she manages to be both down to earth with her approach while still being brilliantly creative. No wonder she won!

"I love cinnamon, especially in the form of cinnamon rolls and chai tea lattes so decided to combine the two together in my chai tea loaf. Flavouring the warmed milk added to my enriched tea loaf dough with chai tea bags adds flavour and colour to the dough. Finally 'chai sister' is a nickname myself and my friend Hettie call one another, as our friendship was formed through drinking copious amounts of the drink. Hopefully this loaf will make the perfect accompaniment to not just ours but other chai tea fans future get togethers!"

Ingredients:

- Dough

  • 300ml whole milk-infused with a chai tea bag
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 6 cardamon pods-crushed
  • pinch of ground ginger
  • 500g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 10g salt
  • 10g fast-action dried yeast
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 50g soft brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 medium free range egg, beaten

- Paste

Equipment

Frances' delicious Chai cinnamon loaf Frances' delicious Chai cinnamon loaf

Method

Gently heat the milk, chai tea bag and spices together in a small saucepan over a medium heat, remove from the heat and allow the tea bags to steep for 30 minutes and the mixture to cool to lukewarm, before straining through a sifter into a jug.

Meanwhile, place the flour and butter into a bowl or the bowl of a food mixer bowl and rub in with your fingertips. Stir through the sugar and cinnamon.

Make a well in the centre of the bowl and add the yeast and salt at opposite sides of the well. Pour the beaten egg into the well and mix everything together with your hands or with an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. If using a mixer, turn on to a slow speed while slowly pouring in the strained chai tea milk or use your hands.

Turn the speed up to medium and mix for approx 5 minutes or by hand for 10 minutes until everything is combined and a smooth, soft, elastic dough has formed. Cover the bowl with cling film, a tea towel or one of my favourite bread making aids - a shower cap and leave to rise for 1 hr, or until doubled in size.

While the dough is rising make the paste by creaming together the butter, sugar, vanilla extract and cinnamon until smooth and set aside to use later.

Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and transfer it to a lightly floured surface and roll out to an approx 25cm circle.

Spread with the paste, leaving a 1cm border of dough clear all around the circle and leave a quarter of the paste to spread over next.

Fold the dough circle in half to create a semi circle and then spread with the remaining paste. Fold the semi circle it in on itself to create a cone before shaping it into a ball. Place with the folds down a baking tin, rounded side up and cover with a shower cap or clean damp tea towel and leave to rise until almost doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400F/Gas6 and when the dough has risen bake for approx 35-45 minutes until a deep brown crust has formed and the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Cool on a wire rack and serve on its own or spread with butter or cream cheese and if like me you are a fan of cinnamon, a sprinkling of the spice.

 

 

 

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