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Cinnamon Swirl Bread

The best yeasted Cinnamon Swirl Bread recipe is light, airy, and chewy with a beautiful cinnamon sugar filling.

bread with cinnamon swirl on blue striped tea towel with tea pot and cup

There's something so comforting about the flavor of cinnamon. From Cinnamon Raisin Bread to Cinnamon Rolls to Apple Cinnamon Scones, you can't go wrong with this classic spice.

I think it's also one of the best ways to elevate a simple loaf of bread. This loaf, in particular, is perfectly light and airy with a stretchy chewy texture that's not too sweet and plenty moist, making it the perfect vehicle for a smear of butter or cream cheese at breakfast.


Why this recipe works

  • This is a simple yeasted bread dough recipe that' easy to make, especially with a stand mixer. The two-ingredient cinnamon swirl elevates the bread for an elegant treat with little extra effort.
  • The dough will rise twice: once after mixing and a second time after rolling and shaping the dough into a loaf. This ensures your bread rises beautifully in the oven for a light and fluffy result.
  • Spritzing the bread with water just before baking locks in moisture and helps develop a beautiful brown crust.
slice of cinnamon swirl bread next to loaf

Cinnamon swirl bread recipe

This cinnamon swirl bread recipe is straightforward and fun to make for an effortlessly elegant treat. It's like my favorite homemade bread but with a delicate cinnamon swirl.

You'll start by kneading a smooth dough in a stand mixer. Egg and milk enrich the dough for a moist and stretchy texture.

After the first proofing, the dough should rise until doubled in size. Now comes the fun part: filling the dough with cinnamon sugar and rolling to create the swirl. The bread will proof a second time while you preheat the oven, then it's ready to bake.

The loaf is ready when it has a shiny brown crust and is puffed up and firm when poked.


Ingredients

  • Flour: This recipe calls for bread flour, which contains more protein (gluten) than regular flour for a stretchier texture. Bread flour is available in well-stocked grocery stores (look for Bob's Red Mill. It's the brand I always use.). If you can't find bread flour, you can substitute all-purpose flour.
  • Cornstarch: This is a trick I learned from America's Test Kitchen. It helps keep your bread light and airy. Cornstarch doesn't contain gluten, so it helps tenderize the bread dough. If you don't have cornstarch, you can use potato starch or simply omit it.
  • Yeast: I call for instant yeast, but you can substitute Active dry yeast for the recipe. To do so, you'll need to activate the yeast first by sprinkling it over the warm milk in a small bowl. Allow this to sit for 5 minutes. Once foamy, stir well and add it to the flour mixture.
  • Sugar: Granulated white sugar helps feed the yeast in the dough and creates that sweet cinnamon swirl.
  • Salt: This is necessary to enhance the flavor of your bread. It also helps tenderize gluten strands for a lighter, airier bread.
  • Milk: Milk both feeds the yeast for extra rise and adds moisture and tenderness to the bread.
  • Egg: An egg adds richness to the bread dough for a brioche-like flavor and texture.
  • Vanilla: A dash of vanilla compliments the cinnamon flavors for bread that tastes like pure comfort.
  • Butter: Unsalted butter at room temperature will most easily blend into your bread dough. You'll also need butter to grease the loaf pan for easy removal.
  • Cinnamon: The must-have spice for this cinnamon swirl bread!

To make this bread you'll need:

  • Stand mixer: I highly recommend using a stand mixer. It takes the work out of kneading the dough.
  • Instant-read thermometer: You'll need to check the temperature of the milk with a thermometer before adding it to the recipe. If it's too hot it will kill the yeast.
  • Dough scraper: I find a dough scraper very useful when removing the dough from the mixing bowl.
  • Wire rack: The bread should cool fully on a wire rack before cutting (it continues to cook long after you remove it from the oven).
overhead of baked bread in loaf pan

How to make cinnamon swirl bread

This cinnamon swirl bread recipe has three simple steps. First, blend the dough. Second, allow the dough to proof for up to one hour. Third, roll and fill the dough to create your cinnamon sugar swirl. Finally, bake and enjoy!

Step 1: Make the dough

To get started, combine the dry ingredients until uniform. Then, mixing slowly, incorporate the warmed milk, egg, and vanilla extract. The dough should be shaggy but start coming together at this point.

Switch to the dough hook and knead the dough until it reaches 75°F on an instant-read thermometer. At this point, you can start tossing in your butter chunks as the mixer is running. Keep mixing until the dough is smooth, shiny, and sticky. It should be very stretchy.

hand stretching dough to show window pane test

Next, you're ready for the first rise. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let it sit for 45 to 60 minutes.

Your proofing time may vary depending on the temperature of your kitchen. Warmth makes the yeast more active for a faster rise.

image of dough in glass bowl next to image of proofed dough in glass bowl

Step 2: Fill the dough

When the dough has doubled in size, it's time to fill with your cinnamon sugar swirl. Transfer the dough to a work surface and roll it into a 10x6-inch rectangle. If the dough is overly stretchy, let it rest for 5 minutes. The gluten should relax and become easier to roll.

Next, fill your rectangle with cinnamon sugar. You may not need all of the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Sprinkle just enough over the dough to make an even layer.

Then roll the dough closed into a tight loaf shape. Pinch the seam closed on either end to ensure the loaf holds shape.

cinnamon and sugar in bowl, cinnamon and sugar spread over bread dough, unbaked bread loaf in loaf pan

Step 3: Bake

The dough needs to rise one more time before baking for about 45 minutes. It won't double in volume this time but will puff up noticeably in the pan. Just before going into the oven, mist the top of the loaf with water.

The steam helps prevent cracking on the top or the sides. It also helps develop a beautiful golden crust.

open face shot of cinnamon swirl bread

After baking, let the bread cool for 30 minutes in the loaf pan. Then transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool fully before slicing.

Tips for success

  • You can use all-purpose flour if you don't have bread flour. The dough will much softer than if using bread flour and the swirls may separate.
  • Using cornstarch is a trick I learned from America's Test Kitchen. When combined with flour, it softens the proteins, resulting in a light and chewy baked good. If you don't have it, you can use potato starch or simply omit it.
  • Active dry yeast can be used instead of instant. Sprinkle the yeast over the warm milk and allow it to sit for 5 minutes. Once foamy, stir well and add it to the flour mixture. The proofing times may need to be increased depending on the ambient temperature in your kitchen.
  • You may not need all of the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Using the full amount will cause gaps between the swirls. Sprinkle just enough over the dough to have an even layer.
  • When rolling up the dough make sure to roll tightly and pinch the seam closed. This will ensure the loaf holds shape.
  • To prevent the bread from splitting during baking, mist the top of the loaf with water just before placing it in the oven. This adds just a touch of moisture that will turn to steam as the bread bakes. The steam allows the bread to expand without bursting open on the sides.

Storing & Freezing

To store: Store completely cooled bread in a bread box or vented container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

To Freeze: Slice the bread and freeze in a zip-top bag for up to 1 month. Thaw the slices as you need them.

Never refrigerate bread! It will dry out and become stale much quicker.

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open face shot of cinnamon swirl bread

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Yield: 12 slices / 1 loaf
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Proofing Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 50 minutes

The best yeasted Cinnamon Swirl Bread recipe is light, airy, and chewy with a beautiful cinnamon sugar filling.

Ingredients

For the filling

  • ¼ cup (66 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

For the bread

  • 2 cups (260 g) bread flour - Note 1
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch - Note 2
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons (7 g) instant yeast - Note 3
  • ¼ cup (50 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (120 ml) whole milk, warmed to 110-115°F
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup (56 g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

Instructions

Make the filling

  1. Combine the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl, cover, and set aside.

Make the bread

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the bread flour, cornstarch, yeast, sugar, and salt. Mix on low speed until well blended, about 1 minute.
  2. With the mixer on low speed, add the warm milk, egg, and vanilla. Continue to mix until well blended.
  3. Switch to the dough hook attachment and knead on medium speed until the dough reaches 75°F. Gradually add the butter and continue kneading until the dough is fully developed and passes the windowpane test.
  4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set it in a warm environment until doubled in size, about 45-60 minutes.
  5. Punch the dough down and shape it into a ball. Cover with a lint-free cloth and let rest 5 minutes.
  6. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Generously butter or line a 9x5 loaf pan with parchment paper.
  7. Roll the dough into a 10x6 rectangle. Brush the top of the dough with the beaten egg then sprinkle evenly with the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Starting with the short end, roll the dough up tightly into a log. Pinch the seam closed and place the loaf seam side down in the prepared pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 45 minutes, until the loaf has increased by 75% in volume.
  8. Just before baking, lightly spritz the top of the loaf with water. Bake for 30-35 minutes until browned and internal temperature reaches 190°F. Cover with aluminum foil if the bread begins to brown too quickly.
  9. Cool in the pan for 30 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Notes

  1. You can use all-purpose flour if you don't have bread flour. The dough will much softer than if using bread flour and the swirls may separate.
  2. Using cornstarch is a trick I learned from America's Test Kitchen. When combined with flour, it softens the proteins, resulting in a light and chewy baked good. If you don't have it, you can use potato starch or simply omit it.
  3. Active dry yeast can be used instead of instant. Sprinkle the yeast over the warm milk and allow it to sit for 5 minutes. Once foamy, stir well and add it to the flour mixture. The proofing times may need to be increased depending on the ambient temperature in your kitchen.
  4. You may not need all of the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Using the full amount will cause gaps between the swirls. Sprinkle just enough over the dough to have an even layer.
  5. When rolling the dough make sure to roll tightly and pinch the seam closed. This will ensure the loaf holds shape.
  6. To prevent the bread from splitting during baking, mist the top of the loaf with water just before placing it in the oven. This adds just a touch of moisture that will turn to steam as the bread bakes. The steam allows the bread to expand without bursting open on the sides.

Make ahead tip

  1. Store completely cooled bread in a bread box or vented container at room temperature for up to 4 days.
  2. Slice the bread and freeze in a zip-top bag for up to 1 month. Thaw the slices as you need them.
  3. Never refrigerate bread! It will dry out and become stale much quicker.

Recommended Products

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 103Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 32mgSodium: 196mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 4g

* Nutrition information is provided as a courtesy by an online nutrition calculator and is not guaranteed to be accurate. Always seek advice from a nutritionist or medical professional.

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Sue

Sunday 24th of January 2021

Corn flour and cornstarch are the same or not?

Jen Sobjack

Monday 25th of January 2021

Yes, corn starch is also known as corn flour in the United Kingdom, Israel, Ireland, and some other countries. Avoid using cornmeal as this is a completely different product.

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