This snowflake shaped cinnamon bread is a delicious way to impress your family, guests, or just yourself. It’s pretty and yummy and doesn’t take a culinary degree to figure out on the first try. Plus, it’s vegan! The trick is all in the shaping of the dough. Unlike other shaped doughs this one doesn’t take a lot of time either. You can make the whole recipe in under two hours and most of it is resting time for the dough. Try it out!
Holiday baking is far more magical than any other baking. Maybe it’s the nostalgia. Maybe it’s the Santa spirit in the air. Maybe it’s all just in my head. But, I love it, and breads like this make the holidays just a little more exciting.
The trick to getting this dough soft and delicate is in how the ingredients are added. Typically with bread doughs you mix all of the dry ingredients together and then all of the dry and knead until it’s smooth. This dough gets mixed in two stages so that you don’t overmix or add too much flour. The recipe calls for 3 cups of flour but you start with just 2 cups, and the other dry ingredients, mix well, then add in the rest of the flour in stages until the dough is easy to work with. You want the dough to be soft and pliable so that you can roll it out easily. This two part mix is the secret.
The other secret is to not overknead the dough balls after you’ve divided the dough. Lightly roll them into a round rather than how you might shape buns which is with a rough roll. The goal is just to get the dough balls round so that you can roll them into a flat disc. Light touch makes the rest of the shaping go much easier.
The final trick is to use a really sharp knife to cut the dough after it’s all been assembled. A sharp knife will cut through the layers without crushing them. If your knife isn’t that sharp you can use a pair of kitchen scissors but just go slow and try to not squish the layers together.
Snowflake Cinnamon Bread
- 3 cups all purpose flour (divided)
- 1/4 cup corn starch
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground flax (I prefer golden flax)
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast (Not dry active)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cup warmed non-dairy milk (Room temp or under 105 F)
- 4 tablespoons vegan butter (room temp and soft)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 4 tablespoons non-dairy milk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon
- In a large bowl whisk together 2 cups of the flour, corn starch, flax, instant yeast, sugar, salt. Using a sturdy spoon mix in the milk, vanilla, and soft butter. Mix well until no dry ingredients can be seen. Mix in 1/2 cup flour and add more flour as necessary to get a dough that you can pinch and it doesn't stick to your fingers but still feels soft.
- Turn the dough onto a lightly floured counter or cutting board. Knead for 2 minutes until the dough is smooth looking. You don't need to knead the dough for long.
- Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and let rest for one hour. The dough should double in size.
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a small bowl whisk together the sugar and cinnamon for the filling. Measure out the milk and set aside. Don't mix the milk with the cinnamon sugar.
- Divide the dough into four equal pieces. On an unfloured surface, lightly roll the pieces into rounds. Don't compress or squish them. Just roll them a little to make them round.
- Roll one dough ball into a 10" disc. It should be fairly thin but be careful to not rip or tear the dough. Place the rolled piece onto the parchment lined baking sheet. Brush a little milk onto the dough, leaving 1/4" edge, and then sprinkle 1/3 of the cinnamon sugar onto the dough. Again, leaving a 1/4" edge.
- Roll out the second piece of dough into a 10" disc. Place onto the first layer, gently press to remove any air pockets. Brush with milk, sprinkle on sugar, and repeat for the third piece. Roll out the final dough ball and place on top. Gently press down to remove air pockets and to get the edges to stick together.
- Use the bottom of a drinking glass, about 2" diameter, to gently make an impression in the center of your dough. Remove the glass. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough straight down up to the impression in the center. Start with making four cuts in the dough so that it's divided into quarters, then divide the quarters so you have eight cuts, then divide the eight so you have 16 total cuts.
- Hold two of the pieces and twist them in opposite directions three times. Pinch the end together. Repeat until you have 8 points on your snowflake bread!
- Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes. Brush the exposed dough, not the cinnamon layers, with a little milk then bake for 25 minutes. Let cool for 10-15 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
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