Thursday, April 12, 2012

French Fridays with Dorie: Sardine Rilettes. Well, not really.


All I have to say is eww.  I draw the line at sardines.  Sorry folks, but I am just not adventurous when it comes to fish.  Read on, though if you like delicious bread!
What I would like to share with you this week is Cinnamon Swirl Bread.  You may be saying ho-hum about now, but I feel like a veil has been lifted and the elusive secret to Cinnamon Swirl Bread, the kind with no gaps between bread and filling, has been lifted. 


Those geniuses over at Cooks Illustrated (which is probably my new favorite resource for all things cooking) figured it out, and it could not be simpler.  The bread dough is not just a basic white loaf, as you normally find in most recipes.  It is based on a type of Japanese bread called shokupan, which in Japan is swirled with red bean paste.  The author of the article was inspired by a piece of shokupan toast from a Norita airport kiosk.  The bread dough is more like a brioche, with the amount of butter and sugar added to the mix, but the real secret is in the filling.  My immediate thought when choosing what to put in my filling would be brown sugar and cinnamon, and maybe some raisins.  But the secret actually lies in using powdered sugar and LOTS of cinnamon, and using a fine mist of water on the filling to make it stick to the dough, therefore alleviating the gaps. The coolest part of this recipe (which can be found here if you are member of their website  is the twist.  Literally.  After you fill the dough, you cut the rolled loaf length-wise, exposing the filling.  You then braid the two halves Russian style, brush with egg wash and bake.  The end result is a springy, delicate, delicious loaf that is honestly easy enough to make all the time, but looks super special, and would make a very nice gift bread. 
The dough, risen and ready to bake
I will be back next week with the French Fridays recipe for Coconut Friands, which sound fun.  Until then, bon apétit!
P.S. For those of you curious about the outcome of the oral surgery, all is on the mend.  I had a small cyst on my tongue  removed, which turned out to be benign.  I spent the better part of the Holiday on Vicodin, which is actually a pretty good way to survive a visit from the in-laws, to be honest.  Hope you had a fantastic time with your families, or whoever you were with over the weekend.


  1. Totally don't blame you for passing on the sardines. It wasn't pretty.

    And how clever on the bread. I am absolutely going to try using powdered sugar next time I "swirl" a loaf - those gaps drive me absolutely batty.

    Pain relievers are always useful when dealing with family...

  2. This post was a real "bait and switch"! lol. Maybe you should have made a sardine and cinnamon swirl bread? :)

  3. That bread is gorgeous. Sorry you had had a bad holiday, but a little pain killer with in-laws helps.

  4. After opening that can of sardines, you passed? You're allowed, and though I enjoyed the sardine rillettes msyelf, I could easily trade them for a slice of that cinnamon swirl bread.

  5. I would have probably freaked out had picked a can of sardines like yours! Your bread looks divine... I'm making French toast with it in my head.

  6. The bread looks amazing! I will definitely have to try that recipe! Yeah, pain killers are great for in- laws, hope your mouth feels better!

  7. I'm thinking we could have gone somewhere with a sardine/mouth surgery theme. The two work together for me. I LOVE Cooks Illustrated which reminds me that I must "regin" again my subscription. Thanks for the bread recipe, the new info, had never heard of a bread called shokupan. Have been to Japan but have never hung out at the Norita airport. Sooooo glad you are feeling better. (No comment about in-laws. I am a nice person!).

  8. I would never have been able to make this recipe if my sardines had heads. I thought it was nasty anyway, but that would have stopped production then and there.

  9. Actually, your fish look quite nice lined up in their bed of tin. But I have to agree, cinnamon bread sounds better than sardine rillettes!