Cinnamon Swirl Bread with Sweet Cinnamon Butter was originally published in 2011. Updated in 2023 with new content and photos.
Homemade bread. There are few things better than homemade bread. The smell of bread- and especially cinnamon bread baking is truly the most wonderful gift to everyone in your home. And if you are thinking, they sell this at the grocery store – bite your tongue! Nothing nothing nothing compares to homemade.
Remember the time I tried to make bread when I was a teenager? My Aunt Gloria and family had come to visit our family in Washington when I was a young girl. She taught my mom how to make bread from scratch, and I was sure I had died and gone to heaven. I love bread almost as much as I love dessert, and I was over the top delighted when my Aunt Gloria hand wrote her recipe on a piece of notebook paper and shared it with my mom.
Later, I decided to make a loaf or two of bread myself. I was a teenager, did I mention that already? And an impatient teen at that. The concept of allowing the yeast to bubble, and the dough to rise, more than once was more than my teenage brain could comprehend. I followed directions to mixing, kneading and then when it was time to let the dough rise, I decided to take shortcuts.
Who knows at exactly what point my bread failed, but I do remember thinking it was okay to skip over some of the instructions to “let rise until double” or ”let rise for 1 hour”. Sadly, my bread exited the oven a bit larger than the size of a brick with texture very similar to a brick. That was a the last time I attempted to make bread at home…
Years later, I learned about the role of yeast in bread, that temperature matters, and the essential step of allowing the dough to rise. Once I understood these principles it unlocked a whole new world for me in the kitchen! I took a bread making class and learned how to make rolls from my mother in law. I was on my way to a long term love affair with BREAD.
Don’t let the length or time needed to make this recipe scare you! Yes 4 hours start to finish is what it takes to make this treat, but most of the time is either rising or baking. Hands on time is about 15 minutes (at most), total. You do need to be close to the kitchen, so laundry day or a snowy day are both perfect pairings for making homemade cinnamon bread. Ok, now that I’ve talked you into making bread, here are a few tips and tricks to get the perfect loaf in just a few hours!
Tips for making homemade bread and a few other FAQ about making cinnamon bread…
If you are new to making bread, here are a few of my tips for success:
- Always proof the yeast before using. Sprinkle yeast over warm water (or other liquid), the yeast will bubble or foam if the water temperature is right and the yeast is active.
- Turn up the heat. If your room is cool or drafty, warm it up. Bread dough is much happier in a warm environment! 72 degrees is a minimum temperature.
- Warm the bowl. Before starting, run the bowl under warm or hot water. This will help the dough to rise.
- Use the microwave as a mini warming drawer. Heat a cup of water for 1 minute in the microwave. Remove the cup of water then place bowl of covered dough inside of the microwave. This creates a warm, moist place for dough to rise.
- Let bread dough rise twice, once after initially mixing together ingredients, and usually once after shaping. This particular recipe calls for 3 rises total. Once after mixing, once again in the bowl, and then one final time after being shaped.
- Do not add too much flour to the dough. When making bread, less is more. It is easy to add more flour if needed, but if too much flour is added in the beginning, it is difficult to “fix” the dough. If too much flour is added early, it will inhibit the rise of the dough and also make it more difficult to shape bread.
- Spray the bowl with cooking oil or coat the inside of the bowl with butter or oil to prevent sticking. I often spray a light shot of oil on top of the dough before covering the bowl as well.
- Preheat the oven for 15-30 minutes before baking for best results.
Questions about making cinnamon bread:
What yeast is best for making bread? I prefer SAF yeast. I buy it at Costco in a vacuum packed container. It’s easy to use and store. I’ve had students at class tell me they have stored it for 7 YEARS in the freezer. Wow. I go through yeast so frequently that it would not last 7 years without being used up, but good to know! Once the package is opened, it should be used within 6 months unless frozen. I like Instant Yeast, because the rise lasts longer than traditional or even rapid rise yeast and seems to produce a more even, consistent rise in bread or roll dough. Instant yeast technically does not need to be “proofed” in warm water or liquid. But I always proof it to make sure the yeast is active!
What does “proofing” mean?
Proofing yeast means to test the yeast to make sure it is still alive. If the yeast does not rise or bubble after being added to warm liquid, the dough will not rise. I like to proof yeast before using to ensure my dough will rise (even when using instant yeast). This prevents the waste of other ingredients!
What pans should I use to make cinnamon bread?
I use USA bakewear pans to bake bread. They are 1 lb loaf pans, are heavy, sturdy and easy to clean. This pan measures 8.5 x 4.5 x 2.75 inches. I replaced my old standby pans a couple of years ago and have never looked back! These pans bake more evenly and also stack together nicely in the pantry. If you want to purchase two at a time, this is the best deal for purchasing pans.
How to make Cinnamon Swirl Bread:
- Remove all ingredients from pantry and fridge set on counter top.
- Sprinkle yeast over warm water in a bowl with 1 tablespoon of sugar.
- Heat milk until warm, add butter and salt. Stir to melt and dissolve.
- Add part of flour to the warm water and yeast mixture and mix.
- Add cooled milk mixture to yeast mixture.
- Add remaining flour 1 cup at a time, mix until dough is smooth.
- Let the dough rise twice in the bowl.
- Roll out dough, spread with filling and place in pans.
- Let rise for third and final time.
- Bake in preheat oven.
I know you are going to love this recipe as much as we do. It makes three large loaves, perfect for enjoying and sharing a loaf, or two! When you make this recipe, leave a comment below and let us know. I love to read your comments and suggestions as well!
Cinnamon Swirl Bread with Sweet Cinnamon Butter
The best cinnamon bread ever! White pillowy bread, filled with cinnamon sugar, and topped with sweet cinnamon butter.
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon yeast I use SAF or "Instant" yeast
- 2 cups warm water at least 100, not more than about 120 degrees
- 4 tablespoons sugar divided
- 2 cups milk (whole is best)
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, soft
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt
- 8-10 cups flour approximately*
Filling for cinnamon swirl bread and cinnamon butter:
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar (light or dark)
- 3 tablespoons cinnamon
Sweet Cinnamon Butter:
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup leftover sugar and cinnamon filling from bread
Sprinkle yeast over 2 cups warm water in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Add 1 tablespoon sugar. Set aside.
Warm 2 cups of milk in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir in 5 tablespoons butter, remaining 3 tablespoons sugar and salt. Stir until the butter melts. Remove from the heat and cool to lukewarm.
Add 6 cups of flour to the bowl containing yeast and water. Mix on low. Add warm milk and butter mixture. Add flour, one cup at a time, until dough is no longer sticky. Switch to dough hook, or if making by hand in bowl, knead, until smooth and satiny.
Place dough in an oiled bowl and cover with small towel. Place bowl in warm spot. Let rise until doubled in bulk or about 1 hour.
After one hour, punch down dough and fold a few times onto itself. Turn the dough upside down so the bottom of dough is now on the top of the bowl and let rise again until dough is raised almost double, about 30-60 minutes,
Grease three 4 1/2 by 8 1/2 inch pans generously with butter or cooking spray.
Divide dough into three pieces. Roll out into 3 rectangles, approximately 8×10 inches each. Spread each rectangle with cinnamon sugar mixture (about 1/3 cup of sugar mixture per loaf). You should have about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of the sugar mixture left over to make the cinnamon butter. Roll each piece of dough starting at short end, tucking ends under when placing in pan.
Brush the loaves with a beaten egg (optional) and sprinkle with sugar if desired.
Let rise again, about 30-45 minutes . Preheat oven while dough is rising in pans.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and pans and let cool on a wire rack.
Sweet Cinnamon Butter: Mix softened butter and 1/2 cup cinnamon sugar mixture together in medium size bowl. Spoon into crock and serve at room temperature with bread.
- This recipe may be made with all-purpose and/or bread flour. Either type or a combination work! If using all bread flour, usually only 8-9 cups of flour total are needed.
- When adding the warmed milk mixture to the water/yeast mixture, make sure the milk is warm and not hot. If the milk is hot, it will kill the yeast and the bread will not rise. This is an extremely important step.
- For the top of bread, if sprinkling with sugar, use granulated sugar not coarse sugar for best results while baking. The coarse sugar tens to burn more easily.
- This bread is wonderful sliced thick, toasted, or used for French toast the next day. The dough also works well for cinnamon rolls!
31 thoughts on “Cinnamon Swirl Bread with Sweet Cinnamon Butter”
That cinnamon butter looks so delicious. Cinnamon is definitely my favourite thing to have cooking in the oven. The smell lingers delightfully for hours!
Oh My! It is so funny that I came across your blog while I'm up at 5 am simply because I can't sleep! Anyway 😉 I just made cinnamon swirl bread yesterday myself. Your sweet cinnamon butter looks delicious and will be the perfect addition to our cinnamon bread when the rest of my family wakes up in about 4 hours 😉
"Butter! Oh isn't butter divinity?!"
How serendipitous to find this beautiful cinnamon bread recipe today. I have been thinking of making cinnamon buns for weeks now, but this is so much easier and I love your great idea of making french toast from it. Your pictures stunning. I can almost count the grains of beautifulicious sugar. Thanks for sharing the recipe!
Love cinnamon too and this look amazing and delicious!! gloria
Love your blog!
I love to bake bread. Yours looks wonderful I've never thought of making cinnamon butter. What a great way to use up the leftover sugar.
Thank you for the taste Si! It was delicious and my kids were in heaven! I'm not lying when I say.. most of my recipes are from you. What a great lady you are!
Really, Si? 100 years? I was having my 5th child that year. I agree-I love the smell of cinnamon "baking" in the house. I lit a candle.
How is it that no one in your family is fantastically fat?? (Rather quite the opposite!!) Haha, looks delish. Can't wait to make!
So you know Si, I am constantly on here checking out your new recipes!! I love it and miss you all so much, thanks so much for keeping GOOD FOOD in our belly's and for posting your amazing recipes!
that looks so dang good!
I have the same question as Lis 🙂
Although the cold weather disappeared today, I think it was 75. don't hate me.
OMG they are amazing. I made one loaf of white, and two loaves of cinnamon swirl. I gave one to my mom. I am having some cinnamon toast right now and it's delish!!!! I still can't believe I MADE IT!!!! Thank you so much for the amazing recipe, and for helping build my confidence with yeast bread. Thanks to the folks at the Jr. League of Salt Lake as well. LOLOL
oh sweet deliciousness. BOOKMARKED!! Can't wait to try this!!!!
sweet cinnamon butter on cinnamon swirl bread.. just the description makes my mouth water. and it looks wonderful 🙂
Thanks for posting this!! I am baking up three loaves RIGHT NOW. I decided one would be perfect for the family up the street who just had a new baby.
My friend and I got together today for a baking day and made this bread. Oh, my goodness! Completely divine! The delicious butter melted into the warm bread and the sugar filling was hot and oozing out out of the bread. We were dying over every bite! Thanks for sharing this recipe!
I Love cinnamon and you get a double dose with this bread. Yum.
I think your sweet cinnamon butter really makes this cinnamon bread special. You can never have too much cinnamon. I have a new linky on my blog called "Sweets for a Saturday" and I'd like to invite you to stop by this weekend and link this up. http://sweet-as-sugar-cookies.blogspot.com/2011/01/sweets-for-saturday-1_21.html
Looks divine. Putting it on my to-try list and I'll leave you the link when I do.
Si, I came on here looking for a good dessert and I stopped at this and can think of nothing else. My family will love me if I can get it to turn out like yours.
Oh my goodness this looks absolutely heavenly! I love cinnamon anything, and cannot wait to try this! Your pictures are amazing too!
Made this and the scones last night. My new favorites!
This Cinnamon Swirl Bread with Sweet Cinnamon Butter looks like the perfect way to start my day! I’m wondering what other recipes could be made with this dough? What would you suggest?
This turned out so well! I was proud of myself for making such great bread and it got rave reviews from everyone who tried it. Love it!
I wanted something to make when we watch conference but wasn’t brave enough for cinnamon rolls. Made this instead and it was so good. I thought maybe we didn’t need the cinnamon butter but you absolutely do!
This bread is amazing! I sometimes make it multiple times in a week. I shared this recipe with my whole family!
I have never really baked bread or used yeast before but I tried this twice now and it was delicious both times! Thanks for the great recipe. I also tried the pretzels and loved them! I started making Sunday’s my baking day.
This bread was a hit with the whole family! Easy to make and even easier to eat. Will be making it again!!
I love this yummy bread. Throw in some cinnamon chips from orsongygi and it’s perfect!!!!
We love this bread!
Oh my goodness! This was so so good!