Ryan’s Cinnamon Swirl Loaves is a recipe sent to me by an 18 year old baker named Ryan. Thanks, Ryan! I’ve been using your recipe for (more than) 10 years now. I used to call it Cinnamon Swirl Bread and made it as one loaf, but now I make it as two smaller loaves so I’ve changed the name.
What is great about Ryan’s Cinnamon Swirl Loaves is the easy-to-work-with dough. It starts off a bit sticky, but after kneading it for 5 minutes with the dough hook of a stand mixer, it has the perfect consistency. As mentioned, I make it as two 8×4 inch loaves which is the perfect amount for our family. If you’d rather make the bread as one very large loaf, that’s an option as well. Just keep in mind that the dough is soft and rich so smaller loaves are easier to deal with and slice neater.
To Ice or Not to Ice?
This recipe really reminds me of the cinnamon swirl loaves they used to sell in our school cafeterias back in the late ’70s. The lunch ladies served it fairly warm and covered with icing. Because this bread is similar in taste and texture to a giant sweet roll, you could definitely cover it with icing! I never do because its easier to toast or reheat without the icing.
Update: Cupcake hat kid is now in college!
Cinnamon Swirl Loaves Ingredient Notes
- All-Purpose Flour — I’ve made this with both bread and all-purpose flour. Loaves made with AP area little softer, but bread flour works equally well and gives you a slightly finer crumb. The amount given is a range. I usually end up using a total of 500 grams, but it’s best to start with a solid 3 cups (around 400 grams) and add flour as needed.
- Sugar — The bread has plenty of sweetness from the 1/4 cup of sugar in the dough and 2/3 in the filling. That’s part of why it’s so good.
- Salt & Yeast — Plenty of salt to balance out the sugar! If using salted butter, reduce to 3/4 teaspoon. For the yeast I use quick rising Platinum which does not need to be dissolved in water. Rise time is quicker as well.
- Butter — Unsalted, but as noted you can use salted and reduce the salt. If using margarine, also reduce the salt. For the filling, the butter should be softened to the point where it’s sloshy and pudding-like.
- Whole Milk — Low fat milk is probably okay, but I do not recommend using skim milk.
- Vanilla extract —
Cinnamon Swirl Loaves
- 3-4 cups all-purpose or bread flour (400-520 grams)
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar (50 grams)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 .25 oz envelope (2 1/4 tsp) instant yeast**
- 1 large egg
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter very soft
- 1 cup plus 4 tablespoons milk (270 ml)
- 6 tablespoons softened to almost melted butter for brushing, salted or unsalted okay (84 grams)
- 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2/3 cup very firmly packed dark brown sugar (130 grams)
- Extra melted butter for brushing on the top
- Place 3 cups (400 grams) of the flour, sugar, salt, and instant yeast into the bowl of a stand mixer.
- In a saucepan, melt the butter and milk together until mixture is very hot. Let it cool down to about 130 degrees (measure with a thermometer for accuracy).
- Stir the milk into the flour mixture, then add the egg and stir until mixed. You can do this by hand or with the paddle attachment of a stand mixer. I always do this by hand.
- Add remaining cup of flour by quarter cupfuls until dough is no longer sticky. If you weighed your flour, you’ll probably use it all. If you scooped, you might not.
- Using dough hook attachment of a stand mixer, knead until dough is smooth and elastic.
- Place dough in a greased bowl, cover, and allow it to rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk. With instant yeast, this takes about 45 minutes.
- Punch down dough and turn out onto a lightly floured work surface. Roll HALF of the dough into an 8×12 inch rectangle. Brush with half of the softened butter. Mix together cinnamon and brown sugar, then sprinkle half of the mixture evenly over rectangle.
- Starting at the short end, roll firmly into a log, pinch the ends closed, and tuck them underneath. Place in a greased and parchment lined 8×4 inch loaf pan. Repeat with remaining dough and filling ingredients.
- Let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk (30-45 minutes). Don't let it rise too long or it will deflate during baking.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
- Brush the top of the loaves with melted butter, then bake in preheated oven until golden brown, and sound hollow when tapped, about 30 minutes.