Food, Recipes

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

“You are the boss of that dough” – Julia Child

I was never confident working with dough. Dough intimidated me. Mostly because I didn’t know how dough works. One day on my way home from work, I was having a conversation with an elder woman I used to work with when we started talking about our shared love of baking. I confided in her my apprehension when it came to handling dough. She invited me to her lovely home one weekend and gave me a free bread making lesson. After that weekend, I decided to take an Arts of Bread course at George Brown College.

Once the fear of working with the dough was taken away,  I learned how to make a simple bun, focaccia, pumpernickel, sour dough bread, croissant and many more. I started making bread at home. Because I was a workaholic mother (I still am minus, the working mother part), I find myself exhausted every weekend. On top of the usual household chores of cleaning and doing the  laundry and other mundane things you do to keep your house in order,  I would make bread, muffins and cookies for my boys.  This was until Jahan’s aunt introduced me to the bread machine. It took me a while to convert. Did I bust my ass at school just to use machine? Why be so pretentious? What’s so bad about making life a little easier?


Jahan got me a Black and Decker All-In-One Bread Maker as a housewarming present when we bought our first home. It’s been my trusted bread partner since 2012 especially when time is not on my side.

The first time I used the bread machine, it almost felt like cheating but the bread still tasted better than store bought.

I use the bread machine to make Honey Wheat bread and Alexander’s favorite Cinnamon Raisin; I use it to prepare Jahan’s fave Challah bread. Today, I used the Dough cycle to knead and  first rise for the Cinnamon Swirl Bread. If you’re a bread machine newbie, you don’t have to go through the whole baking cycle with your bread machine. After the kneading and first rise, you can remove the dough to make a bun, pizza dough, long French bread loaf, pretzels. The list is endless! Depending on your bread machine, mine took 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete the cycle. When it was over, I took the dough out from the machine and divided it into 2. With a rolling pin, I rolled it to the length of my loaf pan (9 inches).  I mixed the brown sugar and cinnamon for the spread and added on top of the dough. I would normally put raisins but I didn’t have any available. I wanted to put some walnut but I don’t want to give Alexander an excuse not to have it (he thinks he’s allergic to nuts). I then rolled the prepared dough and put it on a greased loaf pan. I let the dough rise again for 30 minutes. Then it was ready to bake.

Oh the smell! Some people “stop to smell the flowers”. I’m more excited to “stop to smell the bread baking”. When Alexander smells fresh bread, I want it to remind him of his childhood.

Sorry Alexander’s future wife. The smell of bread, cinnamon and sugar will always remind him of his Mama.

Now bring out your bread machine and make this Cinnamon Swirl Bread. Let me know how it goes.

PS. I haven’t tried this recipe using the traditional method. I’ll have to experiment to make sure the measurements are accurate.

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

For the dough:
  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
For the spread:
  • 4 tablespoons softened butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • Optional:
  • 1 cup bloomed raisin (raisin soaked in water)
  • 1 cup chopped walnut
  1. Place milk, eggs, butter, salt, sugar, bread flour and yeast into a bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select the dough setting. Start the machine. When dough cycle is complete, transfer dough to a floured work surface and punch down. Let dough rest for 10 minutes.
  2. Mix brown sugar, and cinnamon in a bowl.
  3. Divide dough in half and roll each half into a rectangle (Tip: Make sure one side’s length is the same as the loaf pan so dough fits). Spread 2 tablespoon softened butter over the top of each dough and evenly sprinkle dough with half the cinnamon sugar mixture (Tip: I used a strainer for sprinkling to make sure there are no clustered brown sugar). Add optional ingredients. Roll dough starting from the short ends and pinch seams closed.
  4. Grease 2 loaf pans. Place the rolled dough into the loaf pans with seam sides down. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  6. Bake loaves in the preheated oven until lightly golden brown about 30 minutes. If loaves brown too quickly, cover with aluminum foil for the last 10 minutes of baking.
  7. Let bread cool for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and transfer to wire rack. Allow the loaves to firm up and cool to about body temperature before slicing.

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