Cinnamon Swirl Bread

I love bread. A lot. It’s my greatest weakness, besides chocolate. One of my favorite breads is yummy cinnamon swirl bread. It’s delicious for breakfast, as a snack, or for dessert. I used to be intimidated by bread, because of the whole rising thing, but it’s actually very easy to make. I also thought it took a long time and wasn’t worth the effort, but I was wrong again. Although it does need quite a bit of rising time, the actual process is much less time consuming than I ever thought before! For those of you who have been a little nervous or reluctant to venture into the world of bread making, you should give this recipe a shot! It’s easy, with simple ingredients, but yields a very exciting result!

For this recipe, all you need is unsalted butter cut into pieces, all purpose flour, milk, sugar, eggs, salt, hot water, and yeast. Oh yeah, and cinnamon…I almost forgot!

Place the butter pieces in the milk, pour the hot water over the top, and stir to melt the butter. Microwave for 10 to 15 seconds, if needed.

Place your eggs in a small bowl and add the sugar.

Whisk until well mixed; set aside. Pour the flour, cinnamon, yeast, and salt in the bowl of a standing mixer, fitted with the dough hook (you can also make this by hand in a large mixing bowl, just follow all of the same steps, using your hands 0r a rubber spatula). With the mixer on low speed, add the egg/sugar mixture, followed by the milk mixture. Mix on medium low speed until the ingredients come together. Once mixed, increase the speed to medium high to knead the dough.

Once the mixture forms a cohesive dough, scrape the bowl. If you are mixing by hand, turn the contents of your bowl out onto a generously floured countertop and continue kneading.

Continue kneading on medium high speed until the dough is smooth and elastic and sticks only to the bottom of the bowl, about 10 minutes.

Remove the dough from the mixer and shape it into a smooth ball. Place the dough in a large lightly oiled bowl, cover, and allow to rise for about 2 hours, or until doubled in size.

Once the dough is doubled…

Gently punch it down and allow it to rest for 10 minutes.

While the bread dough is resting, prepare the filling. You will need cinnamon, brown sugar, and milk. Mix the cinnamon and sugar together in a small bowl. You will use the milk separately.

Before finishing up with the dough, line a 9 by 5 inch loaf pan with parchment paper. Cut one piece that will line the bottom and sides of the pan lengthwise, then cut a piece to line it sideways, as well.

This is a great trick when baking bread to save time when removing it after baking.

Now back to that dough! Remove the dough from the bowl and place on the counter. If your dough is slightly sticky, dust the counter lightly with flour.

Press the dough into a rectangle, about 9 by 18 inches (mine was about 6 inches shorter; having a longer length will give you more of a swirl once you roll the dough).

Brush the dough with the milk, leaving about a one inch border dry around the outside edge.

    Sprinkle the dough with the cinnamon-sugar mixture, using all of it.

After sprinkling the sugar mixture on, roll the dough away from you, slightly tucking the ends in.

Place the rolled dough, seam side down, in your prepared loaf pan.

This is a great shot to show how the parchment lining looks. Now you’ll cover the pan with a clean towel and allow the bread to rise until it doubles, about an hour to an hour and a half (it should rise about and inch to an inch and a half above the top of the loaf pan when ready). Once the bread has risen, bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the interior temperature reaches 190 degrees (it may take slightly longer).

As soon as you remove the bread from the oven, use the parchment to gently lift it out of the loaf pan. Remove the paper from the bread and allow it to cool completely on a wire cooling rack.

The best part about this bread is the that it’s a surprise! You can’t tell by looking at it that it has a secret swirl of sweet and spicy cinnamon-sugar!!

Until you slice it up, that is! This is excellent just buttered or toasted, but my absolute favorite way to have this bread is as French Toast! Sliced thick, battered, and fried…mmmmm! Probably something to avoid if you’re dieting…or not! Enjoy!

Cinnamon Swirl Bread
Makes one 9 inch loaf


1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
1/2 cup hot water
1/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 envelope) active dry or instant yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 1/2 – 4 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 to 2 tablespoons milk

To make the bread dough: In a small bowl, combine the milk with the butter pieces and pour the hot water on top. Stir until the butter is completely melted, microwaving for a a few seconds, if necessary.

In another small bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until combined.

In the bowl of a standing mixer with the dough hook attached, combine 3 1/2 cups of the flour with the cinnamon, salt, and yeast. Turn the mixer on low and add the milk mixture and the egg mixture. Increase the speed to medium low and continue mixing until a dough forms. Once the dough comes together, scrape the bowl, increase the speed to medium high, and knead for 10 minutes, or until the dough just sticks to the bottom center of the bowl and the dough is smooth and elastic. If after 5 minutes the dough is still very sticky, add more flour, a little at a time, until the dough is less sticky. Spray a medium bowl with non stick spray and transfer the dough to the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise until doubled (2 to 2 1/2 hours).

Once the dough has doubled in size, punch down the center of the dough and allow it to rest for 10 minutes (at this point, you can refrigerate the dough, covered, overnight).

To make the filling: Mix together the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl. Turn the rested bread dough out onto a countertop and flatten into a 12″ by 18″ rectangle. Brush the dough with enough milk to moisten it, leaving a 1 inch border around the outside edge (you don’t need to use all of the milk…it should not pool on the bread). Sprinkle all of the cinnamon-sugar mixture on the dough. Tightly roll the dough into a loaf shape and place, seam side down, in a 9″ x 4″ loaf pan. Cover with a clean dry towel and allow to double in size, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Once the dough has risen, bake for 30-40 minutes or until the bread reaches 190 degrees inside. Allow to cool completely on a wire cooling rack before serving.

Leave a comment


  1. bttrflybabydoll says

    Curious…Did you use active dry yeast or Instant yeast? I noticed in your other recipes you use instant like I do. Did you buy a packet of AD yeast just for this?

  2. Sugarbear says

    I normally do use instant yeast in everything, including this recipe. But this is one that you can still use active dry and not have to add it to warm water before hand. I know that not everyone knows the difference between the two and that active dry is usually called for, so I put it in this recipe for those who already have it on hand, but you can use instant (I did) and it works perfectly. In fact, I'll edit it to say either! Thanks (again!!!), Andrea! 🙂

  3. Marcie says

    I made this (but in mini loaf pans – $1 each at Michaels? Yes please!) and people went crazy for it. My friends were asking if I put crack in, wolfing down entire mini loafs in one sitting, and it couldn’t have been simpler to put together. I can’t wait to make so much more and use them for great gifts. You’re the best!

  4. Karen says

    Seriously, This is the BEST Cinnamon Swirl Bread ever! Thanks for this recipe. It is certain to become a forever favorite. It’s irresistable . . . Yummo! I could go on and on . . . Be sure to try this recipe. I’ve made it for my family and friends. Everyone loves it.

  5. Lucy says

    I found your blog today and I am so happy that I did. I make a very similar bread with dried fruit, I love cinnamon rolls and was thinking of combining the two ideas when, lo and behold, you have done it for me! Yay! Just wanted to check one thing that is not specified in the recipe. When you leave it to rise (both times) do you just leave it at standard room temperature or do you place it some place warm? Thank you!

    • says

      You’re looking for the dough to double and this happens slower in a cold room. It’s always easier to rise bread somewhere warm – if it’s taking more than an hour to double your dough, find a warmer place.