1. In a small saucepan, warm the milk with the salt and 3/4 cup sugar. Heat until sugar dissolves but before milk comes to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine yeast with warm water and 1/2 tsp sugar. Stir thoroughly to dissolve yeast. Let stand about 10 minutes. Mixture should be foamy and producing small bubbles.
3. Add egg; stir well with wooden spoon to combine. Add slightly cooled milk mixture and stir until blended.
4. Place dough hook on stand mixer and begin mixing on low while gradually adding flour. Start with one cup, then add a few tablespoons at a time. You may not need the entire 3 cups. Dough should begin to release from sides of bowl but still stick to the bottom. Knead on medium for about 5-7 minutes, adding a little flour here and there as needed. Dough should be elastic and slightly sticky.
5. Place dough in a well-greased bowl; turn over to coat. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let stand in a warm area to rise until doubled - about 1 hour or so.
6. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll into a rectangle, about 12 x 9".
1. Melt butter in a small saucepan.
2. Combine sugar & cinnamon in a small bowl.
3. Brush melted butter evenly over dough, avoiding outer 1/2 inch. Distribute cinnamon-sugar mixture evenly over melted butter.
1. Roll up, beginning at long end of rectangle, as tightly as possible. Pinch seams together to adhere.
2. Using a bench scraper or sharp chef's knife, slice roll lengthwise, leaving about an inch at the top still connected.
3. Gently braid by twisting the two halves over each other repeatedly*. At the end, pinch the pieces together and tuck up underneath the braid slightly to form a nice rounded end.
4. Lift carefully and place braid into a greased 9" loaf pan. Cover again with plastic and let rise until doubled, about another hour.
5. Preheat oven to 350 F.
6. Bake until deeply golden brown and baked through, about 22-27 minutes.
7. Allow to cool at least 15 minutes before removing from pan. Serve warm with coffee and soft butter.
Loaf will keep at room temperature, wrapped in plastic, for 2-3 days.
*When I rolled up my rectangle, my cinnamon roll ended up being so long that I decided to cut it in half crosswise first. Then, I cut both halves lengthwise. This way, I ended up braiding 4 pieces together instead of 2, which added further marbling in the bread. You could consider doing the same for the added effect (however, it is much tricker to braid with 4 pieces!)
Recipe slightly adapted from Go Bold With Butter