Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Homemade cinnamon swirl bread is one of my favorite day-off projects. It will definitely take all day to do, so don’t say I didn’t warn you. Last year I made a couple of loaves for my birthday and let me tell you — it’s worth the long day’s work. America’s Test Kitchen recipes are always VERY specific, but they honestly never fail.

Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen 

Yield: 2 loaves



  • 8 Tb unsalted butter
  • 3.75 cups (20 2/3 oz) bread flour
  • .75 cup (2 3/4 oz) nonfat dry milk powder
  • 1/3 cup (2 1/3 oz) sugar
  • 1 Tb instant yeast (or 1.5 Tb dry active yeast)
  • 1.5 cups warm water (110 degrees)
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1.5 cups raisins


  • 1 cup (4 oz) confectioner’s sugar
  • 3 Tb cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Egg Wash

  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten with a pinch of salt


  1. Start with the dough. Cut butter into 32 pieces and toss with 1 Tb flour. Set aside to soften.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together flour, milk powder, sugar.
  3. In a cup, mix together water and yeast to proof. Add to stand mixer.
  4. Add egg, and mix on medium0low until it all comes together, about 2 mins.
  5. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let stand for 20 mins.
  6. Ensuring that rack is in middle position, place a loaf pan on the bottom of the oven.
  7. Remove plastic from mixer bowl, add salt and mix on medium low, until dough is smooth and elastic and no longer sticks to the bowl, between 7 and 15 mins.
  8. With mixer still on, add butter a few pieces at a time and keep running mixer until butter is fully incorporated, 3-5 minutes longer.
  9. Add raising and mix until incorporated, just 30-60 seconds.
  10. Transfer dough to a large greased bowl. Using a rubber spatula fold dough over itself. Turn bowl 90 degrees and repeat. Do this a total of 8 times.
  11. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, place on middle rack of oven.
  12. Pour 3 cups boiling water into loaf pan in the oven, close the door and let dough rise for 45 mins.
  13. Remove bowl from oven and gentle deflate dough.
  14. Repeat folding step and return to oven, covered, to the oven until doubled, about 45 mins.
  15. Make the filling: In a bowl, whisk together filling ingredients listed above until well combined. Set aside.
  16. You’re ready to shape the loaves! Grease two 8.5 x 4.5 inch loaf pans.
  17. Transfer dough to lightly floured surface and divide in two. The dough will be sticky but just work with it — don’t add more flour!
  18. Starting with one piece of dough, pat into a 6 x 11 rectangle.
  19. With short side facing you, fold in three, as with a letter.
  20. Roll away into a ball, then dust with flour.
  21. Flatten into 7x 18 inch rectangle, about 1/4 inch thick.
  22. Using a spray bottle, spray with water.
  23. Sprinkle half of the filling onto the dough, leaving 1/4 inch on sides and 3/4 inch border on top and bottom..
  24. Spray again lightly.
  25. With short side facing you, roll into a cylinder as you would a cinnamon roll.
  26. Turn the cylinder so the seam is up, and pinch it closed. Pinch the ends closed as well.
  27. Dust entire loaf lightly with flour and let rest for 10 mins.
  28. Repeat steps 18-27 with second ball of dough.
  29. Now, working with one loaf at a time, cut the loaf in half lengthwise using a bench scraper or sharp knife.
  30. Turn halves so cut side is up; Gently stretch each half to about 14 inch ropes.
  31. Pinch ropes together and twist them together (kind of like a Twizzler). This will give you the swirl. Be sure to keep the cut side up, then pinch ends together.
  32. Transfer twisted loaf, cut side up, to prepared pan, and repeat steps 29-31 with the second loaf.
  33. Be sure to push in any exposed raisins, otherwise they’ll burn.
  34. Cover both loaves loosely with plastic, return to oven, and allow to rise for 45 mins.
  35. Remove loaves and water from oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.
  36. Allow loaves to continue to rise at room temperature for 45 additional minutes (allow the loaves to rise 1 inch above the pan).
  37. Brush loves with egg wash
  38. Bake until well browned, about 25 mins.
  39. Reduce oven to 325 degrees F, cover with aluminum foil tent, and bake until internal temp reads 200 degrees, about 15-25 minutes longer.
  40. Transfer pans to wire wrack to cool for 5 mins.
  41. Once you remove the bread from the pans, do your very best to allow them to cool o room temp before slicing. That is, if you can wait two hours to taste your work!
This entry was published on December 30, 2014 at 10:25 am. It’s filed under bread and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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