This homemade cinnamon swirl bread recipe is a family favorite and only requires a handful of basic ingredients. It’s soft and tender with the most unbelievably gooey cinnamon swirl inside!
- 2 and 1/4 teaspoons (1 standard package) active dry or instant yeast
- 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar, divided
- 1/2 cup (120ml) water
- 1/2 cup (120ml) whole milk
- 5 Tablespoons (72g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature and divided
- 3 cups (390g) bread flour (plus more for your hands and work surface) (spoon & leveled)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup (75g) raisins (optional)
- Whisk the yeast and 1/4 cup of granulated sugar together in a large bowl or in the bowl of your stand mixer.
- Heat the water and milk together on the stove or in the microwave until warm to touch, about 110°F (43°C). Pour over the yeast/sugar and whisk until combined. Cover loosely and let sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture is frothy.
- With a wooden spoon, rubber spatula, or the dough hook attachment on low speed, beat in 4 Tablespoons of butter until it’s slightly broken up. Add 2 and 1/2 cups bread flour and the salt. Mix on medium-low speed, then add enough bread flour (usually around 1/2 cup) to make a soft dough that no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl. Knead by hand or with the mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes until the dough is smooth but still slightly soft. Smooth into a ball and place into a lightly greased bowl. (I just use the same bowl. I take the dough out, spray with nonstick spray or grease with butter, then put the ball of dough back in.) Turn the dough to coat all sides. Cover tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and place in a slightly warm environment to rise until doubled in size, around 1-2 hours. (For this warm spot, I suggest using the oven. Preheat to 150°F (66°C), then turn the oven off after preheating. Place the covered bowl inside and shut the oven door. This is your warm environment.)
- Grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan with butter or spray with nonstick spray. In a small bowl, toss remaining 1/4 cup sugar, the cinnamon, and raisins (if using) together. Set aside.
- Punch down the dough to release the air. Place dough on a lightly floured work surface and with a floured rolling pin, shape into a 9×18-inch rectangle. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture on top, leaving a 1-inch border around the sides. Roll the dough up very tightly into a 9-inch log. Pinch the ends to seal. Place into prepared loaf pan bottom seam side down. Cover loosely and allow to rise in a warm environment until the dough rises to the top of the pan, about 1 hour.
- Adjust the oven rack to the lower third position then preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Melt the remaining 1 Tablespoon of butter and gently brush the top of the loaf. Bake until golden brown and, when gently tapped, the top of the loaf sounds hollow, about 35-45 minutes. If you find the top of the loaf is browning too quickly as it bakes, tent with aluminum foil. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then remove from the pan and cool loaf completely on the wire rack.
- Slice and serve. Cover and store leftovers at room temperature for 5 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Bread tastes delicious when toasted in the toaster!
- Overnight Instructions: Prepare the dough through step 3, allowing the dough to rise overnight in the refrigerator. The slow rise gives the bread wonderful flavor! In the morning, continue with step 4. I don’t recommend shaping the bread the night before as it will puff up too much overnight.
- Freezing Instructions: Baked bread freezes wonderfully! Wrap the loaf in plastic wrap, then a layer of aluminum foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator or at room temperature, then warm to your liking. You can also freeze the bread dough. After punching down the dough in step 5, wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap, then a layer of aluminum foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then punch the dough down again to release any air bubbles. Continue with the rest of step 5.
- Special Tools: KitchenAid Stand Mixer | 5-qt Tilt-Head Glass Mixing Bowl | Rolling Pin | Loaf Pan
- Milk: Whole milk or 2% milk are best. I don’t suggest a lower fat milk. Readers have used nondairy milks with success, but I haven’t personally tested it.
- Yeast: I always use Red Star Platinum yeast, an instant yeast. If using active dry yeast, the rise times could be slightly longer. Reference my Baking with Yeast Guide for answers to common yeast FAQs.
- Flour: Higher protein flour like bread flour is best for this bread recipe because of its strong gluten formation and high rise. All-purpose flour will yield a flimsy bread.
- Kneading: If you do not have a stand mixer fitted with a hook attachment, you can mix the ingredients together with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, then knead the dough by hand as directed in step 3.