There’s a little bakery in the town my mom grew up in, and it was the best bakery in the world. We would live for the twice a year visits to my grandparents, because it meant bakery. Cloverleaf rolls. Cake donuts. Peanut brittle. Cinnamon swirl bread.
I visited it as an adult a few years ago. The quality of its donut fry has gone off in later years, but the cinnamon swirl bread is the same delicious, toastable, raisin-free, slice it always was.
I’m literally on the other side of the US now. But I miss the swirl bread so much I just had to replicate it.
And you know what? I think my loaf might even be better. It makes fabulous toast, but is also delightful as-is. My baby practically inhales it.
Cinnamon Swirl Bread
- 600g bread flour (4 cups)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 Tbsp salt
- 2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
- 1 egg
- 1 1/2 cups warmed milk
- 4 Tbsp softened butter
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 Tbsp cinnamon*
- more softened butter
Combine the bread flour, sugar, salt, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. It is actually important that you use bread flour here – it really does improve the texture of the loaf. You’ll also notice it’s measured in grams. I measure all my flour for bread by weight, as it improves the inter-loaf constancy.
Anyway. Give the dry ingredients a quick mix with the paddle, then crack in the egg and pour the warm milk into the running mixer. When all the milk is incorporated, swap out the paddle for the dough hook and start kneading. After about 3 minutes of kneading with the dough hook, drop the softened butter into the running mixer by tablespoons. Make sure all the butter is incorporated before adding more.
When all the butter is kneaded in, set the mixer bowl inside to rise until the dough has doubled. Meanwhile, combine your cinnamon and sugar with a fork, and grease a loaf pan with the extra softened butter. I’m using a 10″x5″ loaf pan.
When the dough has risen turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and roll it flat into a rectangle, the short side of which is a little smaller than the length of your loaf pan, and the long side is at least twice as long as the loaf pan.
Smear the entire surface of your dough with the cinnamon sugar mixture. There will be plenty. Wash your hands, then start rolling up the dough. Roll it as tight as you can, to prevent gaps in your swirl. Pinch the seam shut, pulling the bottom of the dough around to enclose the last bit of cinnamon sugar, and plop it seam side down into your prepared loaf pan.
Cover the loaf pan and let it proof until the loaf has risen to fill in the pan. While it’s proofing, preheat your oven to 350 F. Bake for 40 minutes. Cool the pan on a rack for 15-20 minutes, then turn the loaf from the pan to finish cooling.
*If you are a cinnamon connoisseur, this bread is a great recipe to use your expensive Vietnamese cinnamon. Whatever you do, don’t use Ceylon cinnamon.