This is a nice, light and sweet bread – and the wreath/couronne shape makes it look quite pretty, yet it’s really easy to form the shape with the cinnamon sugar filling, as the filling isn’t too wet!
Like lots of my favourite bakes, it’s made using the tangzhong method – which ensures that it’s really soft and fluffy inside. It’s best eaten slightly warm with maybe a bit of butter spread on it. This lasted for a few days wrapped in a bit of foil. I was eating it for breakfast quite a bit as it’s not very very sweet! But the sugar quantity can be adjusted if you like your sweet breads sweeter!
I haven’t got any pictures of the shaping process this time, but have used the same technique in previous recipes, such as in this sourdough brioche couronne – there are pictures of how to do it there!
Ingredients for tangzhong paste:
25g strong white flour
Ingredients for dough:
All of the tangzhong paste
125 ml whole milk
7g fast action yeast
350 g bread flour
60 g sugar
1 teaspoon or 5g salt
1 large egg
30 g unsalted butter (melted)
(plus an additional egg for brushing on top before baking)
Ingredients for filling:
40g melted butter
2.5 tsp cinnamon
First, make the tangzhong paste. Though this is an added step, it is really quick and easy to do, and makes a big difference! In a small pan, mix the 25g strong white flour with 100g water (cold), until there are no lumps of flour remaining. Then gently heat the paste whilst stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens and reaches approximately 65C (though you don’t have to use a thermometer!)
Place the tangzhong in a bowl and cover with cling film (to prevent the paste from forming a skin).Place this bowl in the fridge to let it cool down.
When the tangzhong paste is fully cooled, mix it with all the rest of the ingredients for the dough. It can make it easier if the paste is first mixed with all the wet ingredients, followed by all the dry ingredients. This ensures that the tangzhong is nice and evenly distributed.
This should come together as a sticky ball of dough. This needs to be kneaded until the dough becomes smooth, soft and elastic. It should be such that you can stretch a small piece of the dough into a very thin, almost see through rectangle. Use a small amount of flour to prevent sticking whilst the dough is kneaded, but not too much as this will affect the final product!
Once the dough is fully kneaded, place it in a bowl and cover with cling film. Let the dough rise at room temperature for about 1 hour (depending on the temperature of the room this can vary a lot)– until it’s more than doubled in size.
Meanwhile, prepare the filling (takes 2 minutes!) and have a cup of tea. For the filling, just mix the sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl, and have the melted butter ready in a separate bowl. Have a pastry brush to hand as well.
Once the dough is fully risen, it should be easier to handle and ready for the next step! On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into an even rectangle. Brush melted butter over the rectangle, then evenly sprinkle over the cinnamon sugar mixture.
Then, starting from the longer edge, roll up the rectangle into a rope/sausage shape. Then, using a sharp knife, slice this lengthways. You should then have two long pieces of dough, with the filling and layers exposed. Now these two ropes of dough need to be twisted together and then the ends to be pressed firmly together to form the circular crown shape. (This is hard to explain in words but I have some step by step pictures using this technique here).
Gently lift the couronne and then place it on to a baking tray lined with grease proof paper. Lightly cover the couronne with cling film, and allow it to rise until doubled in size again (about 40 minutes to an hour, depending on room temperature).
Have the oven ready and preheated to 180C (fan assisted) just before the dough is ready to go in. Just before baking, brush the dough with a beaten egg (to help make the crust shiny and deep brown coloured). Bake for 5-10 minutes at 180C, then turn down the oven temperature to 160C and continue baking for a further 15-20 minutes. Keep an eye on the colour of the crust, as soon as it gets to the desired colour, cover the bread with foil to prevent further browning!