We are two days away from the first year anniversary of the pandemic. I can clearly remember the day San Francisco went into its first lock down on March 13, 2020. Everyone was told to go home at 4:00 pm and not to return until further notice. Except for me who is considered an essential worker, I still went to work everyday for another two weeks until I requested to partially work from home to protect myself and Mr Sweetie. I was granted to work from home three days a week.
Almost a year later, the world is now waking up with hope because of mass vaccinations. Life is beginning to gain a semblance of normalcy in the Bay Area although we are also still far from what we previously knew as normal. I am now back to the office 3-4 days a week. Now, I look back to the days of the lock down. Those days were bittersweet. I hated having to constantly live in fear while I also cherished the solitude and slow, unhurried days that I doubt (and thankfully), we will ever experience again in our lifetime.
And who did not bake on those days? Well, Mr Sweetie, for one! LOL! He does not cook but he ate everything I cooked and baked! Before the lock down, I would have never attempted baking something that contained yeast and needed to be kneaded. (Oops, no pun intended here!) After I baked bazillion banana breads, I tempted fate and tried my hands on baking a yeast bread. Fearing it will be like the kitchen disaster many years ago when my attempt yielded a dry, hard brick, I am happy to say that I have taken my baking skills into the next level.
I baked Jam Loaf Bread twice already. I used mango jam the first time while I mixed orange marmalade in the next one. My bread proofed and rose. My yeast was alive! And I found kneading with my hands therapeutic. Getting the loaves out of the oven, cutting a slice while still hot and giving it to Mr Sweetie where he slathered it with butter; then taking the entire loaf from me with every intention to eat it all, and me taking the loaf away from him with nothing but mere a third of the loaf left lest he eats the entire thing in one sitting — I call it success.
- 3/4 c warm milk
- 2 tsp dried active yeast
- 4 tbsp sugar
- 2 beaten eggs
- 3 1/2 tbsp cooled melted butter
- a pinch of salt
- 2 1/4 cups flour
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 c jam or marmalade of choice
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Lightly oil a big bowl and set aside.
- In a small bowl, stir together the lukewarm milk, sugar and yeast. Leave the mixture for ten minutes to activate. The mixture should turn foamy and bubbly. If not, your yeast is not alive or your liquid is too hot or cold. Check the expiration date of the yeast. And start all over again.
- In a large bowl (not the oiled one– that’s for later), whisk beaten eggs, vanilla and cooled, melted butter then add the yeast mixture.
- Mix in the flour, salt and ground cinnamon. Stir together. The dough is going to be very sticky.
- Knead the sticky dough on a floured surface for ten minutes until soft and supple.
- Pour the kneaded dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with cling wrap. Leave to proof in a warm place for an hour up to two and half hours.
- Once the dough has proofed, deflate the dough by punching it down.
- Roll it out into a rectangle. Spread the dough with the jam or marmalade of your choice.
- Roll the dough with the jam tightly like a Swiss roll cake.
- Spray a one pound loaf pan with non-stick spray, or generously grease with butter, or line with parchment paper.
- Twist the dough and transfer it into the loaf pan. Leave to proof in a warm for another hour.
- Brush the top of the dough with a little milk or egg wash (which is beaten egg).
- Bake for 35-40 minutes.
- The loaf is great toasted the up to 3 days when left in cool, room temperature.
- Serve with honey, butter and/or your favorite jam.