Cinnamon-pecan bread with millet flour

Cinnamon-swirl bread

This bread riffs on sticky buns, Japanese Milk Bread, honey rolls and cinnamon rolls in a unique format. A soft millet dough is rolled around cinnamon sugar, then spiraled into a cake pan to make a dig-in-and-nosh delight.

This very soft dough is easier to handle if refrigerated overnight before rolling and filling. This option, if chosen, will require about 50% more time for the bread to rise.

Yield:  One, 3-inch X 14-inch tubular loaf, coiled into a 9-inch circular cake pan.
Time to make: 45 minutes active, 90 minutes to rise, and 50 minutes to bake. Optional overnight refrigerator dough rest.
Tools needed: Stand mixer with paddle attachment. Small saucepan. 2 medium bowls. Small bowl. 9-inch circular cake pan, preferably springform. Bakers parchment. Plastic wrap. Rolling pin. Sharp knife. Measuring cups and spoons and/or kitchen scale.  Whisk. 

For tangzhong

1/3 cup (45 grams) brown rice flour
120 Ml whole milk
120 Ml water

To make tangzhong: Measure water and milk into small saucepan. Add flour and whisk to blend. Place on medium heat and stir continuously with a whisk until blend begins to thicken. When blend is a custard-like consistency - you can see the bottom of the pan clearly - remove from heat and pour into a small bowl. Mixture will form a skin and continue to thicken while cooling. Pan and whisk should be washed immediately to avoid difficult clean-up. Tangzhong may be refrigerated for several days. Discard when it begins to liquify or smell spoiled.

For dough

1 1/2 cup (180 grams) millet flour
1/8 cup (20 grams) potato starch
1 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon honey
1 large egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 Tablespoon warm water
1/2 cup (140 grams) brown rice tangzhong
5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
spray cooking oil

For filling

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

Procedure: Place all ingredients in a medium bowl and stir or whisk until thoroughly blended.


1)   Make the tangzhong. Spray the inside of the cake pan with cooking oil. Remove cake pan base and position a circle of bakers parchment on it. Line sides of pan with bakers parchment.

2) Make the filling in a medium bowl. Place the millet flour, potato starch, granulated sugar, xanthan gum, yeast and salt into the bowl of the stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix to combine.

3)  Put the honey, the egg, the buttermilk and the water into a second medium bowl and whisk to thoroughly blend. Add to dry ingredients in the mixer bowl, then add the tangzhong, and stir on low for 20 seconds, or until all dry ingredients are wet. Let dough rest for 2 minutes, then add the butter. Mix on low until butter disappears, then turn mixer to medium and beat for 30 seconds.

4) Spread sheets of plastic wrap on a work surface to cover an area of 20 inches X 20 inches. Spritz the plastic wrap with cooking oil. Turn the dough out onto the center of the wrap. Fold two opposite sides of the wrap to meet in the center of the dough and overlap each other by 1 inch, making a plastic-wrap tunnel that is 8 inches wide X 20 inches long. Using your hands on top of the plastic wrap, push the soft dough out to the edges of the tunnel. (If refrigerating dough overnight  use the plastic wrap to encase the dough and place into refrigerator. Otherwise, continue on.) Square up the corners, then use a rolling pin to roll the dough, within the plastic wrap, to a rectangle that is 14 inches long. (see photo at left, below) 

5) Peel back the top layer of plastic wrap and spread the pecan/cinnamon/nutmeg/sugar mixture evenly across the dough. Lift up one long edge of plastic wrap and use it to roll the dough up into a cylinder. (see center photo, below) Continue rolling until the seam is uppermost, then use a finger to smear the seam closed.  Continue maneuvering the plastic wrap to shape the cylinder into a circle. (see photo at right, below) Reaching under the plastic, flip or slide the circular loaf onto the parchment-covered bottom of the cake pan. Insert this into the pan and close the sides. Use a sharp knife to deeply notch the loaf at about 2-inch intervals. Place the plastic wrap loosely over the pan and allow loaf to rise - about 90 minutes at 75 F,

6)   Heat oven to 350 with a rack in the center position. Bake the pastry (bread? buns? roll?) for 50 - 55 minutes, rotating once, until lightly brown. Remove to a cooling rack for 10 minutes, then disassemble the cake pan. Allow the cool just enough to not burn the roof of your mouth, then dig in!

Photos of the process