With a lot of negative & heartbreaking events going on in the world right now, I wanted to bring a little more positivity, ‘a ray of sunshine’ or in this case rainbow with my rainbow flower cinnamon bread recipe. June is #Pride month and though this is the month dedicated to our #LGBTQ community, I wholeheartedly support my LGBTQ friends throughout the year(s), not just month. Hopefully this brings you a little joy as it did for me to make!
Kat, Laura and Bianca this is especially dedicated to you! ❤
*Good To Know*
- What type of food colour should I use?
Use gel food colour such as Wilton’s Icing colour gel set. Food colour gel is stronger in hue than liquid colour drops (after baking, liquid food colour tends to fade). If you’re not a fan of food colour, you can omit this.
- Can I use another filling instead of cinnamon-brown sugar?
Absolutely! My suggestion for alternate fillings: hazelnut chocolate spread (ie. Nutella), any flavoured jam or peanut butter.
- Do I have to knead food colour in by hand?
You can if you choose to (just make sure to use food safe gloves, because gel colour can be tough to wash off skin) and also knead on a waterproof cutting board so your counter does not get coloured in the process. Alternatively, you can use a mixer with paddle attachment. The paddle kneaded food colour more evenly. Don’t over knead the dough though because this could over work the gluten resulting in a hard crust and dry interior
- How do you get such even layers of dough?
The nerd in me came out..or shall we say perfectionist? The total weight of the dough after the first rise and after it had been punched down was 3.09 lbs (1400 g). Divide this by 6 (for the 6 layers of colour) and cut / weigh each piece of dough at 1/2 lb each (233 g). I love using my food scale for this exact reason. For baking in general I prefer to weigh my ingredients instead of measuring when possible. This achieves a few things. One is that your dough will roll out nice and even, second it allows the layers to rise at the same height / width and third, you end up with beautiful, even rainbow layers.
- How can I achieve a soft texture in the bread?
In order to have a softer bread, the dough needs to develop gluten. The gluten is developed via the wheat protein in the flour. The higher the protein content, the more gluten develops. Bread flour has higher protein than All-purpose flour, however, due to a shortage of bread flour available at the grocery store (thanks to panic buyers), I had to resort to all-purpose flour and improvised by adding sour cream to keep dough soft. Also, remember to knead dough for at least 10 minutes (this will help gluten form once the flour is mixed with wet ingredients). If kneading by hand, at least 20 minutes to form the gluten for a softer bread texture. Don’t take any shortcuts on this as this will determine the softness of your bread.
- How should I store the bread?
After bread has cooled, any left-over bread should be stored in an airtight container on your counter between 1 to 2 days or refrigerated up to 7 days (frozen up to 3 months). If you prefer to keep the bread as soft as possible, I would even suggest to wrap each “petal” tightly with plastic wrap before storing in airtight container or freezer bag. Keep in mind that this won’t prevent it from drying out over time but at least this method will help reduce the chances of it drying out quickly. To reheat, (after removing all wrappings) use the microwave if only reheating 1 or 2 ‘bread petals’. Spread a little bit of unsalted butter over the surface of the bread and microwave for 1 minute. If it’s still cold or frozen, continue to reheat at 30 second intervals and keep checking until the bread is soft again. If reheating in the oven, set oven temperature to 325°F (163°C) and bake for about 5 to 10 minutes or until soft again.
Guys! This is a twist (see what I did there? …ok maybe I’ve been in quarantine too long) on Cinnamon buns! The style of twisting and forming this bread is done in a german recipe also known as “Blumenbrot” (literal translation: Flower bread). It makes sense though! There are multiple flavours including savoury ones such as pesto, zucchini, spinach or tomato sauce and so many more! Next time, I will make a cheesy one!
For this recipe, I used the concept of cinnamon buns and applied it to the flower bread style. This was my way of making the bread delicious AND beautiful. I mean, look at that rainbow in each petal! The bonus? Once baked, it shaped into a heart! SO in line with showing #PRIDE love❤!
Working on the dough brought out the inner child in me. It felt like playing with play-doh! The colours are just so bright and fun! For the record, I made this recipe 3 times to get it right! Tweaked ingredients along the way to make sure the result was beautiful AND delicious!
If you plan on trying my recipe, start in the morning as you need to give the dough time to rise (first & second rise) and especially if you do not have a stand mixer and plan to do the kneading by hand.
How to prepare ingredients for dough
- sift the flour to break up lumps, to filter dirt such as leftover husks, seeds etc. and to aerate the flour for easier mixing
- melt the butter, brown sugar and milk (just enough) in a saucepan first before starting on your dough to allow it to cool slightly before adding to the mixer. Too hot and it can kill the yeast, preventing the dough from rising
How to colour bread dough
- use food safe gloves to handle dough with food colour
- use the tip of a clean knife to scoop out colour gel. Smear into center of dough and fold together sides to seal colour inside dough ball
- use paddle (not dough hook) as attachment is wider and will mix colour into dough faster. If mixing by hand, mix until colour is evenly blended into dough
- only mix dough enough until colour is incorporated. Over kneading the dough often results in a hard crust and a dry interior.
- cover dyed dough with a clean tea towel to prevent it from drying while working on one dough ball at a time
How to layer, cut and twist bread dough
- line a 12″ pizza pan with parchment paper of the same size / shape. Use this parchment as the base of your dough layers so that it can easily be transferred to the pizza pan
- when rolling out dough, roll out each dough ball approximately 11 inch or 12 inch in diameter (to leave enough room to trim the dough)
- use a 10 inch diameter bowl or round plate to press a mark into the rolled out dough after the filling has been spread and covered with the next layer of dough
- a serrated knife is best to trim and cut through the dough cleanly ( i tried this with a pizza cutter and it was not as easy to cut through the layers cleanly)
- work fast to twist & pinch each strand of layered dough together because the butter will begin to melt and the dough will continue to rise while you’re working.
- after letting it rise for another hour, bake the flower bread on low at 325°F (163°C) for a total of 40 minutes. Start by baking the bread on the middle shelf for 20 minutes. Then place the bread on the bottom shelf in the oven for the remaining bake time to ensure even heat distribution for the bread
Rainbow Flower Cinnamon Bread
- ½ cup (113 g) unsalted butter
- ½ cup (110 g) dark brown sugar, packed
- ½ cup (118 ml) whole milk, 3.25% M.F.
- 5 cups (750 g) all-purpose flour, sifted
- 2¼ teaspoon (1 pack) instant yeast
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 large (150 g) eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup (118 ml) sour cream, 14% M.F.
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil, for greasing
- 6 jars (0.5 oz) wilton icing colour gel, purple, blue, green, yellow, orange, red
- 1 cup (226 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup (220 g) dark brown sugar, packed
- 2/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- ¾ cup (170 g) cream cheese, 32% M.F. | 55% moisture
- 1 cup (120 g) powdered icing sugar
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅛ cup (30 ml) whole milk, 3.25% M.F.
- ½ cup unsalted butter, melted (for brushing on finished bread prior to baking)
- In a small saucepan, on low heat melt together butter, dark brown sugar and milk while continuously stirring. Don't heat milk to point of bubbling. Remove from heat and set aside to cool (5 minutes)
- If your oven has a "Bread Proof" feature, turn this feature on to pre-heat the oven before you begin. If not, set your oven to the lowest temperature possible (usually 170°F or 76.7°C)
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment add flour, yeast, salt, eggs and vanilla extract. Stir on low for 2 minutes until ingredients are combined. Switch to dough hook and while on low speed, slowly pour in melted butter mixture and increase speed slightly to continue combining ingredients. Add sour cream and continue kneading dough for 10 minutes (no less). If kneading by hand, knead for 20 minutes minimum. Dough should be pliable and not stick to bowl or finger when pressed into dough. If too sticky, add 1/2 tablespoon of flour and test again. Repeat this if necessary until dough is not sticky but still pliable.
- Shape dough into ball and add 1 tsp of vegetable oil. Roll ball around in bowl until fully coated with oil. Cover with plastic wrap or clean tea towel and place in oven. If using bread proof feature, leave this setting on. If oven was set to 170°F, place covered bowl in oven and turn off heat (do not open oven during rise time to retain heat inside oven). Set timer for 1.5 h to proof dough for first rise.
- In a medium mixing bowl with a spoon or spatula mix together room temperature butter, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
- Cut parchment paper to fit & line 12 inch pizza pan. Set aside
- Punch down dough with fingers to release gas bubbles. Lightly dust clean counter surface with all purpose flour and roll dough onto surface. Knead dough for 2 minutes. (sprinkle more flour onto surface if dough starts to stick to counter). Weigh dough on a food scale in grams. Divide this total weight by 6. This will be the weight of the 6 individual dough balls you need. Cut and weigh each dough ball to this amount. ( For example, if total weight is 1400 g, each dough ball should weigh 233 g). If you don't have a food scale, roll the dough into a large log and divide into 6 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, set aside away from main work area and cover the dough balls with a clean tea towel.
- Start with purple colour gel. Use the tip of a knife to scoop out a tiny amount of colour approximately the size of a pin head (gel colours are strong. Start by using a small amount and add more if needed). While wearing food safe gloves, make an indentation into the center of the dough with your thumbs. Smear the colour into the center and fold in the sides to seal the dough.
- Place into the clean bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment and mix on medium low speed until colour is evenly blended with dough. If kneading by hand, knead on a waterproof cutting board ( lightly dusted with flour) until colour is evenly blended. Place back with the rest of the dough balls and cover with tea towel. Wipe bowl & paddle clean with a damp paper towel.
- Repeat step #3 & #4 (in order) for colour: blue, green, yellow, orange, red
- Lightly dust work surface with flour. With a rolling pin, roll out purple dough ball to an 11 inch or 12 inch diameter disc. Place on cut out parchment paper (without pizza pan) and use a 10 inch round bowl or plate to center and lightly press round circle into dough disc.
- Add 2 or 3 tablespoons of cinnamon butter within the circle of the dough disc. Use an angled spatula to spread the cinnamon butter evenly within the circle. Set aside.
- Repeat step #1 & #2 in order of colour: blue, green, yellow, orange, red and stack each layer ending with the red dough layer.
Style Flower Bread
- Keep 10 inch bowl centered on the top red layer. Use a sharp serrated knife to cut around the bowl to trim excess dough, resulting in a perfect layered "pancake" stack (make sure not to cut the parchment paper in the process). Save excess dough trim and roll into a bun to bake (if you have left-over cinnamon butter, brush the surface with it)
- Use a small round drinking glass (2 inch in diameter) and lightly press a circle centered into the top red dough layer. Starting from the outside of the small 2 inch centered circle, with a serrated knife, press down all the way through the layers at 12 o'clock, 3 o'clock, 6 o'clock and 9 o'clock. This will leave you with 4 even cut quarters (careful not to cut the parchment paper)
- Next, repeat the cutting process starting from the outside of the small 2 inch centered circle and cutting a line outward and all the way through the layers by dividing each quarter in half. This will leave you with 8 'pieces of the pie'.
- Lastly, cut each pie slice in half again and this will leave you with 16 'pieces of the pie'.
- Work quickly and start at 6 o'clock, lift one piece up and twist to the right 2 times. Place back down. Lift the next piece to the left and twist 2 times to the left. Place back down and pinch the right as well as the left twisted "petals" together. Repeat this step until all of the cut pieces are formed into 8 bread petals. Carefully slide flower bread onto pizza pan.
- Cover flower bread with clean tea towel and allow a second rise for 1 hour (you can use the bread proof oven feature or the 170°F method again). The same proofing can be done for the excess trim roll(s).
- Remove bread from oven and pre-heat oven to 325°F or 163°C. Brush or dab melted butter to cover the entire flower bread. Do this for the excess trim roll(s) as well (placed on a separate bake tray lined with parchment paper). Bake bread for 40 minutes. (20 minutes on middle shelf, then 20 minutes on bottom shelf). Allow to cool for 15 minutes.
- In a medium mixing bowl whip together cream cheese, powdered icing sugar, vanilla extract, salt and milk. Add icing to piping bag or a large zip top freezer bag with the corner cut and pipe icing onto flower bread. The design is up to you. Enjoy!!