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Homemade bread will warm you up

There is no better aroma as you open the front door than to smell fresh bread baking, also no better way to say you love someone than to bake them a loaf of fresh bread. You can make twice as much at home as one loaf of specialty bread costs in the grocery store. I have also included several flavored butters that keep well in the refrigerator.

CINNAMON SWIRL BREAD

• 2 pkg. (1/4 oz. each) active dry yeast

• 1/3 cup warm water (115 degrees)

• 1 cup warm whole sweet milk (15 degrees)

• 2 large eggs

• 1 cup white sugar, divided

• 6 Tbsp. butter, softened

• 1-1/2 tsp. salt

• 2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon

• 5-1/2 to 6-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add milk, 1/2 cup sugar, eggs, butter, salt and 3 cups flour; beat on medium speed of mixer until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.

Turn dough onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 8-10 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover with plastic wrap; let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

Mix cinnamon and remaining sugar. Punch down dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide in half.

Roll each portion into an 18×8-in. rectangle; sprinkle each with 1/4 cup cinnamon sugar to within 1/2-inch of edges. Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with a short side; pinch seam to seal. Place in two greased 9×5-inch loaf pans, seam side down.

Cover with kitchen towels; let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1-1/2 hours. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake until golden brown, 30-45 minutes. Remove from pans to a wire rack to cool.

CHEDDAR BREAD

• 1 Tbsp. active dry yeast

• 1/2 cup warm water (155-degrees)

• 2 cups warm whole milk (115-degrees)

• 2 Tbsp. butter, softened

• 1 Tbsp. sugar

• 2 tsp. salt

• 2 large eggs

• 7 to 8 cups all-purpose flour

• 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in warm water. Add milk, eggs, butter, sugar, salt and 3 cups flour; beat on medium speed of a mixer for 3 minutes. Stir in enough flour remaining to form a soft dough.

Turn dough onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 8-10 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover the dough with plastic wrap; let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch dough down.

Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead in cheese. Divide dough in half; shape each portion into a 6-in. round loaf.

Place on greased baking sheets. Cover with kitchen towels; let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake until golden brown 35-45 minutes.

Remove from pans and cool on a rack.

HONEY CINNAMON BUTTER

• 1 cup butter, softened

• 1/2 cup honey

• 1 tsp. ground cinnamon

Beat all ingredients together until smooth. Store, tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or freeze up to 1 month.

GARLIC-CHIVE WHIPPED BUTTER

• 1/2 cup butter, softened

• 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

• 1 Tbsp. minced fresh chives

• 1 to 2 garlic cloves, minced

Beat all ingredients until blended.

Store butter, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or freeze up to 1 month.

LEMON TARRAGON BUTTER

• 1/2 cup butter, softened

• 1/8 tsp. lemon juice

• 1/4 cup fresh tarragon leaves, finely chopped

• Salt and pepper to taste

Beat all ingredients until blended. Shape into a log; wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate up to one week or freeze up to several months.

HINT OF THE WEEK: For a yummy change when making powdered sugar icing or glaze, instead of milk use half-n-half and a squeeze of lemon, orange or lime.

Patti Howerton is a retired accountant and caterer and can be reached at phowerton@ gmail.com