Sunday, September 15, 2019

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

This is a lovely bread, with yellow raisins throughout the loaf, and swirls of cinnamon-sugar filling. The swirl is made using the Russian braid style, where the filled rolled dough is cut into two halves lengthwise, gently stretch into 14-inch lengths, and then braided  together with the cut sides up. Press the seams to close and pop them into the prepared greased loaf pan to rise, then bake.

It smells amazing while the bread is baking! 

I made the bread the night before, and sliced it for breakfast the next morning. Lovely bread, with soft crumb. Because of the exposed cinnamon-sugar filling on the top, the crust is slightly sticky, sweet and delicious. It is good on its own with a mug of hot black coffee.

Cinnamon Swirl Bread
(Breads Illustrated, America's Test Kitchen)
makes 2 loaves
8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 32 pieces
3-3/4 cups (20-2/3 ounces) bread flour
3/4 cup (2-1/4 ounces) non-fat dry milk powder
1 tablespoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
1-1/2 cups (12 ounces) water, room temperature
1/3 cup (12 ounces) granulated sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1-1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups (7-1/2 ounces) golden raisins

1 cup (4 ounces) confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water and pinch of salt

  1. For the dough : Toss butter with 1 tablespoon flour in bowl and set aside to soften. Whisk remaining flour, milk powder, and yeast together in bowl of stand mixer. Whisk water, sugar, and egg in 4-cup liquid measuring cup until sugar has dissovled. Using dough hook on low speed, slowly add water mixture to flour mixture and mix until cohesive dough starts to form and no dry flour remains, about 2 minutes, scraping down bowl as needed. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let dough rest for 20 minutes.
  2. Add salt to dough and knead on medium-low speed until dough is smooth and elastic and clears sides of bowl, about 8 minutes. With mixer running, add butter, a few pieces at a time, and knead until butter is fully incorporated, about 4 minutes. Continue to knead until dough is smooth and elastic and clears sides of bowl, 3 to 5 minutes. Reduce speed to low, slowly add raisins, and mix until incorporated, about 1 minute.
  3. Transfer dough to lightly greased large bowl or container. Using greased bowl scraper (or your fingertips), fold dough over itself by gently lifting and folding edge of dough toward middle. turn bowl 45 degrees and fold dough again; repeat turning bowl and folding dough 6 more times (total of 8 folds). Cover tightly with plastic and let dough rise for 45 minutes. Repeat folding, then cover bowl tightly with plastic and let dough rise until nearly doubled in size, 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  4. Press down on dough to deflate. Transfer dough to lightly floured counter, divide in half, and cover loosely with greased plastic. Working with 1 piece of dough at a time (keep remaining piece covered), press and roll into 11 by 6-inch rectangle, with short side parallel to counter edge. Stretch and fold dough lengthwise into thirds to form ball, keeping roll taut by tucking it under itself as you go. Cover balls loosely with greased plastic.
  5. For the filling : Whisk all together in bowl until well combined. Coat 1 dough ball lightly with flour and place on lightly floured counter. With seam side down, flatten ball with rolling pin into 18 by 7-inch rectangle, with short side parallel to counter edge. Mist surface of dough with water. Sprinkle half of sugar mixture over dough, leaving 1/4-inch border on sides and 3/4-inch border on top and bottom, and press lightly to adhere. Mist filling with water until entire surface is speckled.
  6. Roll dough away from you into firm cylinder, keeping roll taut by tucking it under itself as you go. Pinch seam and ends closed. Dust cylinder lightly on all sides with flour, cover loosely with greased plastic, and let rest for 10 minutes. Repeat with the remaining dough ball and filling.
  7. Grease two 8-1/2 by 4-1/2 inch loaf pans. Using bench scraper, cut 1 cylinder in half lengthwise. Turn halves cut side up and gently stretch into 14-inch lengths. Arrange strips side by side, perpendicular to counter edge, and pinch far ends together. Take left strip of dough and lay over right strip of dough. Repeat, keeping cut sides up, until pieces of dough are tightly twisted. Pinch remaining ends together. Transfer loaf cut sides up to prepared pan. Press dough gently into corners of pans and push any exposed raisins into seams of braid. Repeat with second loaf. Cover loosely with greased plastic and let rise until loaves reach 1 inch above lip of pans and dough springs back minimally when poked gently with your knuckle, 1-1/2 to 2 hours.
  8. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Gently brush loaves with egg mixture and bake until crust is well browned, about 25 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees, tent loaves with aluminium foil, and continue to bake until loaves register 200 to 205 degrees, 15 to 25 minutes. Let loaves cool in pan for 5 minutes. Remove loaves from pans and let cool completely on wire rack, about 3 hours, before serving.

This post is linked with Cookbook Countdown #45


  1. We love cinnamon bread! Yours looks really gorgeous with nicely golden crust and beautiful swirls, Joyce.

  2. You really make me hungry! I have always loved that kind of cinnamon bread. I remember my great-aunt making it.

    best... mae at

  3. This bread has always been a favorite of mine. I really must get around to baking this!