cinnamon swirl bread

i first learned how to make my own bread when i worked in an italian restaurant in portland.  i would make pizza dough fresh every morning so it had plenty of time to rise before we topped it with sauce, cheese, and toppings and popped it in the oven for lunch time.

sure it takes hours to let the yeast do its thing, but i was surprised by the simplicity of the recipe.  it’s really just a little warm water, sugar, salt, yeast, oil and flour.  variations of that simple combination create most every type of bread.

you can add herbs and bake it flat for a crispy foccacia bread, divide the dough into small pieces to make rolls or bread knots, or sweeten it with extra sugar to make something sweet like i have here. by just mixing up a cinnamon and brown sugar concoction and spreading it over the dough before i rolled it up, i created a cool cinnamon swirl in the middle of my loaf, reminiscent of a cinnamon bun.

cinnamon swirl bread
1/3 c sugar
1 tbsp active yeast
1/2 tsp salt
1 c water
2 tbsp oil + some for greasing
about 2 c white flour (i used organic)
1/4 c brown sugar
2 tbsp oil (canola works well)
1 tbsp cinnamon

anytime you make bread you have to begin by activating the yeast.  a little water and sugar will bring the dried yeast back to life so they can start making CO2 bubbles.  i use a bit more sugar here than in regular bread recipes because it’s a sweet bread.

add the warm water, sugar, salt and active yeast together in a medium-sized bowl.  let sit for 10-15 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam.

add the oil, then slowly mix in the flour until it is just firm enough to knead.  add a little more if it’s still too sticky, or a little less if it’s too firm.  turn out onto a floured surfaced and flour your hands.

knead for about 5 minutes, sprinkling more flour if it sticks to your hands.  this step helps activate the flour’s gluten, which is the protein in wheat.  gluten sticks together in long strands inside the dough, giving it elasticity.

when you are done kneading pull the edges of the ball of dough to one side, so the opposite side is even and smooth.  with a few tablespoons of oil grease a large bowl, along with the ball of dough.  leave it sitting smooth-side up in the greased bowl, then cover the bowl with a lid, plastic wrap, or a towel.  leave in a warm place – like in a sunny window sill or near a warm stove – for its first rise until it doubles in size, which should be about 45-60 minutes.

grease your hands and take the dough out of the bowl.  don’t be afraid to deflate it a bit, it will be rising again.  flatten the ball of dough into a rectangle shape, as wide as the bread pan you’re using and at least twice as long.

mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon and oil to make the sweet filling.

spread evenly across the rectangle of dough, then roll the whole thing up.  if you wanted to make cinnamon buns with this same recipe you could cut strips of the dough, roll them up individually and cook them in a cupcake pan.

grease your pan and lay the rolled dough in it for the second rise, i topped mine off with a sprinkle of cinnamon.  once again, leave it in a warm place until it doubles in size, which should take about 30-45 minutes.

bake at 400F for about 20 minutes or until golden brown on top.  let cool thoroughly before slicing and serving.  this would make a sweet french toast!


29 Responses to “cinnamon swirl bread”
  1. Miss Alix says:

    Oh my goodness this looks delicious! I will definitely have to try this recipe. I’ve actually been looking for a good cinnamon swirl bread for french toast! YUM!

  2. Mandee says:

    This bread looks perfect! I really want to try it w/ gluten free flour 🙂

  3. jacqueline says:

    good luck mandee! it definitely won’t be as soft, but a full tablespoon of yeast helps it rise. i bet spelt flour would work pretty well, with a little tapioca flour too. let me know how it goes!

  4. Monica says:

    Yum, thank you for the recipe. I bake my own bread, too… have some dough rising as we speak! I’m hooked on no knead bread and have tried a few variations (currently its whole wheat, rye and white flour with whole rye berries). But I’ve never tried it sweet. This looks great, I LOVE cinnamon and I bet it’d be delicious toasted.

  5. Christabel says:

    Wow, this looks divine.
    I’ve yet to brave making bread, but you make it look so easy! That’s a skill.

  6. Bunny Cucina says:

    This looks s0 great–oh how I love anything cinnamony. But I don’t see how much flour to use listed in the recipe? Am I crazy? I would love to make it so please let me know.

    PS Have you tried the no-rise cinnamon buns from Fine Cooking? They’re pretty amazing. I wrote about them here:

  7. Jodye says:

    I used to have cinnamon bread all the time, but I haven’t in ages for some reason. Yours looks delectable! Have you tried adding raisins to the mix? I imagine that would be delicious, too!

  8. Lianna says:

    I would also love to try this recipe, it looks delicious! I’m not seeing the amount of flour used either though, would you let us know?

  9. Leah says:

    I made this a friday night a couple fridays back-
    I left the baby rising with my friends, they put it in the oven, and it made it long enough for me to taste, but never saw the light of day… the next time I’ll double up, at least.
    thanks much for being inspiration for glory tasty sweet eats!

  10. Melissa says:

    ohmy this looks sooo good!

  11. jacqueline says:

    sorry about that lianna, just noticed that. i used about 2 cups of organic white flour plus to sprinkle over while i was kneading it. for any bread recipe just slowly add the flour in until it’s just firm enough to gently knead. the softer you can make the dough the softer the bread will be.

  12. Melisser says:

    Oh my! My husband would love this.

  13. Jennifer says:

    YUM!!!! This has to be one of my favorite kinds of bread!! Thanks for the recipe 🙂 looks great!!!!

  14. Kevin says:

    I have been wanting to try making a yeast based cinnamon swirl bread. It looks great!

  15. Michelle says:

    Just baked this wonderful bread and i love it. The only problem i had is that the center was still very doughy. Anything i can do to fix the problem?

    • jacqueline says:

      maybe try to bake it in a wider or longer pan so that the center isn’t so far away from the crust, or roll them up into strips, bake them in a muffin tin and just make them into cinnamon rolls!

  16. Thanks for this recipe, I use it all the time. Its a favorite.

  17. AZ says:

    This recipe is fabulous. I separated this into two loaves instead of one and doubled (or maybe even tripled) the amount of brownsugar/cinnamon and it still isn’t too sweet. I probably used about 4 cups of flour so I could handle the dough without it sticking to everything. This is only my 3rd time baking bread and I am so hooked! 🙂

  18. Michelle says:

    I just made this bread today. It is amazing! Honestly, the best cinnamon bread I have ever had. I am a novice baker with yeast, yet this was very easy and simple to make. The only thing though, I ended up using at least 3 cups of flour, and did the filling 1 1/2 times the amount. I was nervous about using that much flour to your 2 cups, but it turned out great. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe.

  19. Camille says:

    i looooooove this bread! 🙂 my husband loves it with raisens.

  20. Lyssa says:

    this bread would be good with a little salt in it. I tried it just as the recipe called for it and it was clearly lacking something but then i tried it again with half a tbspn of salt and it turned out perfectly.


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