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Cinnamon Swirl Bread Recipe & Video

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A swirl of cinnamon sugar running through a soft and fluffy white bread makes for a delicious Cinnamon Swirl Bread. It has a billowy loaf shape and a lovely golden brown crust. It's delicious buttered. And it makes really good toast.


A few notes on technique and ingredients. To make a flavorful white bread I like to add a pre-ferment. That is, a starter, which is really just a small amount of bread dough that is made the night before and then stored in the refrigerator overnight so it has time to develop flavor. Next day, you just add it in with all the other ingredients when you make the bread dough.

As far as ingredients go, we are using mostly bread flour and a small amount of all purpose flour (plain flour). For the yeast, I like to use either SAF Red or SAF Gold instant yeast #ad. This type of yeast gives a good rise and it doesn't need to be proofed. However, if you want to substitute active dry yeast for instant yeast you need to increase the amount of yeast by about 20%. You also need to activate the yeast in lukewarm water. To do this for the starter, simply heat the water to lukewarm, stir in the yeast, and let it stand about 5-10 minutes or until frothy. For the bread dough, remove about 1/4 cup (60 grams) water from the total amount called for in the recipe and heat it to lukewarm. Stir in the yeast. Let stand about 5-10 minutes or until the mixture becomes frothy. Dried milk powder is used in this recipe as it enhances the color of the crust, adds flavor, and helps to keep the bread moist. For the salt, I like to use kosher salt. There is also some butter in this dough, and I like to use unsalted butter. And lastly we need water. I like to use ice cold filtered water. The temperature of the water is very important when making bread as it determines the temperature of the final dough, which affects the rate (time) of fermentation (proofing). The reason we use cold water is that the dough warms up during the long kneading period.

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Pre-Ferment: In a small bowl stir the flour with the yeast and salt. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the water. With a plastic scraper or wooden spoon, work the flour into the liquid, until all the flour has been moistened.

Then lightly oil a small bowl. Place the dough into the bowl and flip it over so the top of the dough has a light coating of oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit (ferment) at room temperature for one hour. Then place in the refrigerator overnight (about 12 hours).

White Bread: In a bowl stir the flours with the yeast, salt, sugar, and dried milk powder. Remove the Pre-ferment from the refrigerator and cut into small chunks. Pour the ice cold water into the bowl of your electric stand mixer, fitted with the dough hook. Then add the Pre-ferment and the flour mixture. Knead the dough on 1st speed for five minutes. Increase your mixer speed to 2nd speed and continue to knead the dough for about 4-6 minutes or until the dough cleans the bowl and is smooth, elastic, and not very sticky. Add the butter and continue to knead the dough, on 2nd speed, for another three to five minutes or until the butter is fully incorporated and the dough cleans the bowl and is smooth and elastic.

Place the dough in a large bowl that has been lightly oiled. Turn the dough once so the top of the dough has a light coating of oil (this prevents a crust from forming on the top of the dough). Cover with plastic wrap and let proof at room temperature (about 75 degree F) (24 degree C) for about 1 hour.

You will need an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 3 inch (21.5 x 11.5 x 10 cm) loaf pan. Lightly grease the pan with a flavorless oil or spray with a non stick vegetable spray.

Next, place the round of dough, top side down, onto a lightly floured surface. Lightly flour the top of the dough. Roll the dough into an 8 x 20 inch (20 x 45 cm) rectangle.

Egg Wash: In a small bowl whisk the egg with the cream. With a pastry brush, lightly brush the surface of the dough.

Filling: In a small bowl, stir the sugar with the ground cinnamon and flour. Evenly sprinkle the filling over the dough leaving a small border at one of the short ends of the dough (seal the log at this end). Gently pat the filling so it adheres to the dough. Starting at one short edge, roll the dough into a log shape. Pinch the edge of the log, and the side seams, to seal. (See video for demonstration.)

Place the log of dough into your pan, seam side down. Cover the pan with plastic wrap that has been lightly sprayed with a non stick vegetable spray (or oil) and let proof at room temperature for 60 to 90 or until it rises about 1 inch (2.5 cm) above the rim of your loaf pan. (If you lightly press into the dough, your finger will leave a slight indentation.) (If the dough starts to mushroom over the sides of the pan bake immediately.)

Meanwhile preheat your oven to 350 degree F (180 degree C).

When the bread is ready to bake, remove the plastic wrap and brush the top of the bread with the egg wash. Bake for about 30 - 40 minutes or until your bread is golden brown. If you tap the bread it will sound hollow. About halfway through baking, turn your pan front to back to promote even baking. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool for a couple of minutes. (Using a digital thermometer, the internal temperature of the bread should be 190 - 195 F (88 - 90 C)). Then remove the bread from the pan, placing the bread top side up on a wire rack. If a soft crust is desired, brush the top of the bread with melted butter. Let cool completely before serving. This bread can be stored in an airtight container for about three days or it can be frozen for a couple of months.

Makes 1 - 9 inch (23 cm) Loaf of Cinnamon Swirl Bread.

View comments on this recipe on YouTube

Pre-Ferment (Starter):

1 cup minus 1 tablespoon (120 grams) unbleached bread flour

1/4 teaspoon SAF Red Instant Yeast Available on Amazon #ad

1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) kosher salt

1/3 cup (80 ml/grams) cold filtered water

White Bread:

2 3/4 cups (355 grams) unbleached bread flour

1/4 cup (35 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon (3.5 grams) SAF Red or Gold instant yeast Available on Amazon #ad

1 3/4 teaspoons (7 grams) kosher salt

1 1/2 tablespoons (20 grams) granulated white sugar

Scant 1/4 cup (20 grams) dried milk powder

1 cup (240 ml/grams) ice cold filtered water (about 50 F (10 C))

3 tablespoons (42 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature

Egg Wash:

1 large egg (50 grams), at room temperature

1 tablespoon (10 grams) cream or water


1/3 cup (65 grams) granulated white sugar

2 teaspoons (4 grams) ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon (4 grams) all purpose flour

Topping: (optional)

1 tablespoon (13 grams) melted butter

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