Monday, February 28, 2011

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Who doesn’t love cinnamon swirl bread?  

I remember eating it as a child, toasted with butter.  I loved pulling it apart by the swirls and eating the uncoiled bread slowly, feeding it into my mouth inch by inch.  

I hadn't had the bread for several years, and I was happy to discover it's still just as fun pulling the swirls apart.  Actually, it's even more fun now, since I get to bake the bread first.

A lot was left to be desired the first time I baked cinnamon swirl bread back in December.  The bread itself was delicious, but I wasn’t happy with the copious amounts of cinnamon-sugar filling and the huge gaps between the swirls.

The baking was also problematic.  The excess filling not only leaked from the dough into the pan, making the bread stick, but also bubbled over onto the bottom of the oven. 

I was left with a smoke filled house, despite all the open doors and windows, as well as two burns on my arms from wiping the filling off the bottom of the oven.  At least I still had the bread.

I was comforted after reading the introduction in Baking Illustrated for cinnamon swirl bread.  Apparently these are common problems.  I’ve since learned how to make delicious cinnamon swirl bread properly.  No smoke and no burns.

Recipe Adapted from Baking Illustrated.

Bread Dough Ingredients:

½ cup whole milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
½ cup warm water
1/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 ½ teaspoons salt
3 ¼ - 3 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

Filling Ingredients:
¼ cup sugar
5 teaspoons cinnamon

Glaze Ingredients:
1 large egg
2 teaspoons milk

1. Heat the milk and butter on the stovetop or in the microwave until the butter melts.  Cool until warm to the touch.

2. Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Add the sugar and eggs and beat on low with the paddle attachment just until mixed thoroughly.  Add the salt, warm milk mixture, and 2 cups of the flour.  Mix at medium speed for about 1 minute until blended.  Switch to the dough hook and add 1 ¼ more cups of flour.  Knead at medium-low speed, only adding more flour if the dough sticks to the sides of the bowl.  Continue kneading until the dough is smooth, roughly 10 minutes.

3.  Turn the dough out onto a work surface.  With a dry hand, squeeze the dough.  If it feels sticky, add up to ½ cup more flour, kneading with your hands, until the dough is smooth and elastic.  Place the dough in a well-oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit until doubled in size, about 2 ½ hours. 

4. After doubled, punch the dough down lightly and turn out onto an unfloured work surface and let sit for 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, mix together the cinnamon and sugar for the filling in a small bowl and grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.

5.  Press the dough into an 8 by 6 inch rectangle, with the short side facing you. With a rolling pin, roll the dough into an 18 x 8 inch rectangle.  Brush the dough with milk and sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar mixture, leaving a border of ½ an inch on the far, short end of the dough.  Starting at the short end, roll the dough away from you.  From time to time, push the ends in to prevent the dough from becoming wider than 9 inches.  Once rolled, pinch the ends to seal, and place the roll, seam side down, in the greased loaf pan.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let sit until the dough reaches 1 inch above the sides of the pan, about 1 ½ hours.

 6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Whisk the egg and milk together for the glaze, and brush over the top of the loaf.  Bake the bread for 30 – 40 minutes, or until an instant read thermometer inserted into the center reads between 185 and 190.

7. Remove the bread from the loaf pan and let cool.

This bread is making its way to the virtual potluck party on Ping's Pickings...check it out!

Virtual Potluck Party


  1. Hi hi Lapin( hope you don't mind me calling you Lapin),

    I love this classic looking cinnamon loaf!! Very pretty and can see that it is very silky soft! Thanks for sharing the reciep. It looks very much like cinnamon roll ya?

  2. Hello! That's a lovely looking loaf! Thanks for joining in the virtual potluck party fun and linking it back.

  3. Simple and delicious! Love it! My husband was just telling me last night how I should make cinnamon swirl bread (I've never made bread before!!) - I think I'll try it!

  4. that just looks beautiful! i def have to save this recipe to try soon

  5. wow! this came out absolutely PERFECT!

  6. PERFECTION! I really must make this for my family...I'm glad you persevered and found the best recipe :)

  7. Thank you for all the kind comments!!

  8. Wow! That loaf looks gorgeous! Now I want a slice of that really bad.

  9. Oh goodness look at how much that has risen. This bread looks beautiful.

  10. Very nice loaf, and no gaps!! (and even better, no oven mess). Thanks for sharing the recipe!

    It's my first time here. Will continue browsing on your blog :o) Feel to visit mine:

  11. Thanks, Hanna! I'll be sure to check out your blog!



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