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A homemade cinnamon swirl loaf with soft homemade dough, a cinnamon sugar filling, and swirled together to create a stunning bake!
Oh hey bread, it’s been a while… ages in fact. The last time I put a bread recipe on my blog was all the way back in Easter with my Mini Egg rolls… and that is FAR TOO LONG! I was missing the fresh homemade bread dough of dreams – and how better to bring it back, with a cinnamon bake… my cinnamon swirl loaf.
I am fully and utterly in love with all things bread I cannot lie. I love bread. Bread is life. And a bake like this is absolute top tier bread – one of the bread bakes of the gods you could argue! Too far? Maybe for some – but honestly I am utterly obsessed with this bake and I am sure you will all do too.
Cinnamon swirl loaf
For this bake, you can imagine it was heavily based on my homemade cinnamon rolls recipe. The recipe has been insanely popular since posting it over three years ago! It was so popular it made it into my first recipe book (which was based on popular blog recipes!).
One other bake in my recipe book was my chocolate cherry babka – it is the most delicious recipe that I am utterly obsessed with. It has also been so popular in amongst those who have bought the book. But one thing I wanted to do? Merge my two recipes together to create this beauty of a cinnamon swirl loaf.
This recipe has a soft vanilla hinted homemade bread dough (made with 7 ingredients, all easy to purchase at a supermarket!), a cinnamon sugar butter filling, and a simple vanilla icing sugar drizzle. This recipe is the dreamiest of dreams when it comes to bread baking – and you will all want to bake it over and over, just like I have.
For the bread dough, I used strong white bread flour. It is the go-to flour when it comes to bread, because it is bread flour! An obvious statement, but I really do think it creates an amazing texture. Technically, this recipe will work with regular plain flour, but you will get a more cakey texture.
You can also use a wholemeal bread flour, or even a mix of the two – you just want to have the same weight of flour in total. Sometimes I love a mix of wholemeal bread flour with regular strong white bread flour, because it actually creates an utterly wonderful flavour! Especially when mixed with vanilla and cinnamon.
For this recipe, I used this dried yeast – it is by far my favourite dried yeast to use. As per the notes on the recipe, you can use fresh yeast – when using fresh yeast you need to use double the quantity of dry. When using dried yeast, depending on brand, you need to make sure to read if it needs activating.
The yeast I use doesn’t need activating, but if the yeast you use does, add it to the warm milk to activate. Often it just needs to sit in the warm environment for about 5-10 minutes, and then you can move on with the recipe as listed below! So easy, so worth it. Promise!
The process of making bread dough can be a bit of an effort, but a million times easier when you use a stand mixer with a dough hook. If you don’t have one, it’s not the end of the world. You can mix the dough with a spatula in a bowl, and then knead by hand. It just means it takes longer to smooth the dough out to the stretchy soft texture you need.
It is so important to let the bread dough rise properly – and this can really vary in time. Try not to take the timings in the recipe as gospel, because it really can vary by hours. In the summer, the bread dough will rise SO much quicker compared to peak winter. You want the dough to double in size before you move onto the shaping stage.
When shaping the dough, an even rectangle is best – as it makes the rolling stage easier. Make sure to brush the melted butter all over the rolled out dough, and sprinkle and press in the cinnamon sugar. Roll the dough as tightly as you can, and then cut lengthways – you want to try and keep the dough as tight together as possible.
Wrap the dough in a two strand plait and carefully place into a lightly buttered 2lb/900g loaf tin. It doesn’t matter if the dough squishes slightly as it’s part of the charm of the bake – but once in the dough, you need to let the dough rise again. It’s good to preheat the oven in this time, so you can bake straight away.
Bake and decorate
Once baked, and beautifully golden and delicious, let the cinnamon swirl loaf cool. I know its painful to wait, especially if you smell the bake because oh my gosh it is utterly beautiful – but once cooled, decorate with a drizzle of icing. This is optional, but it is a sweet and delicious touch – and finishes off the recipe perfectly. ENJOY!
Cinnamon Swirl Loaf!
- 450 g strong white bread flour (plus extra for dusting)
- 10 g dried active yeast
- 50 g caster sugar
- 90 g unsalted butter (cold and cubed)
- 200 ml full-fat milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 medium egg
- 25 g unsalted butter (melted)
- 100 g light brown soft sugar
- 1-2 tbsps ground cinnamon
- 150 g icing sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1-2 tbsp water
- Sift the flour into a large bowl, and add the caster sugar and dried active yeast. Mix these together so they are all evenly distributed.
- Rub the cold and cubed unsalted butter into the dry mixture so it resembles bread crumbs, like you would when making scones. I use my fingertips to do this.
- Gently heat the milk until warm - but not piping hot. If heating in a pan, you want it to just about start having steam come out of the pan.
- Add the warmed milk, vanilla, and egg to the dry ingredients.
- Knead the dough together for 7-10 minutes. It will be sticky at first, but it will soon come together. I use my KitchenAid with the dough hook to make this easier.
- Once kneaded, it will be springy to touch, and not sticky.
- Transfer into a lightly oiled bowl, and cover the top of the bowl with cling film. Let it rise for 1-2 hours, or until doubled in size.
- Whilst the bread is proving, whisk together the light brown sugar, and ground cinnamon for the filling. Leave to the side for now.
- Once the dough has risen, transfer to a lightly floured work surface, and roll out to a large rectangle. Mine ends up being about 40cmx30cm.
- You want it to be as even a rectangle as possible so its easier to roll up, and the dough can be thin here.
- Gently brush the surface with the melted butter, and then sprinkle over the sugar/cinnamon mix.
- Roll the dough from long side to long side, so that a ~long sausage~ is formed.
- Carefully cut down the middle of the long sausage, and twist the two halves together making a two strand plait.
- Place the dough into a lightly butter 2lb/900g loaf tin and cover lightly with clingfilm.
- Let the dough rise for about 30 minutes, and towards the end of this, preheat the oven to 180ºc/160ºfan.
- Bake the cinnamon swirl loaf in the oven for 50-60 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through.
- Leave to cool in the tin, and then make the icing. Simply whisk together the icing sugar, vanilla and water until a thick icing paste is formed, and then drizzle over the loaf.
- Slice, and enjoy.
- This is best on the day of eating, but will last covered for a couple of days. You can microwave slices to warm through and refresh.
- You can easily reduce or increase the amount of cinnamon that you use in the recipe, but I typically use two tablespoons for mine. I like it really cinnamon-y.
- If you want to use fresh yeast, you need to use double the weight.
- Check the dried yeast packaging - some need activating. If they do, you can add it to the warm milk to activate.
Find my other recipes on my Recipes Page!
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