Brown sugar! How come you taste so good? (Rolling Stones, 1971). Now that I’ve got that off my chest, let’s talk bread baking. How do you feel about working with yeast?
I absolutely love it. I find any excuse to mooch around the house for extended periods of time pretty great, to be honest, but there is something particularly cosy and rewarding about baking a loaf of bread.
This particular loaf is an awesome place to start. It’s based on my Swedish Vanilla Bread recipe, and it’s so forgiving – perfect if you’re a little freaked out by yeast.
And then there’s the brown sugar cinnamon swirl. Brown sugar and cinnamon is the ultimate comfort-combo. There is no smell more reminiscent of a happy home, than a loaf of caramelly, spiced bread baking in the oven. And the joy of biting into a still-warm slice 0f buttery soft bread, heady with sugar and spice, it just cannot be beat.
This is the loaf you bake if you need to sell your house, or make a guest feel incredibly welcome. It’s perfect for Christmas, chilly weather, or eating in a little early summer sunshine with a cup of tea.
And I can’t even begin to tell you how good the French Toast that you make with this will be. It would be worth making the entire loaf just for that! In fact, this first loaf has already been completely devoured, so I’ll be whipping another one of these up tomorrow. What are you baking this weekend?
- 1 cup (250ml) milk
- ½ stick (50g) butter
- 1 vanilla pod (or 2 tsp vanilla extract or paste)
- 3 + ⅓ cups (500g) plain flour
- 1 tsp dried yeast
- ¼ cup (50g) caster sugar
- 2 egg yolks, whites reserved
- ¾ cup (170g) brown sugar
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- Place the milk and butter into a medium saucepan and bring up to just under a boil.
- Split the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds, and add them to the pan along with the pod. Set aside to infuse for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, place the flour, yeast and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook.
- Fish out the vanilla bean from the milk, and add it to the mixer (it should be only just warm by now - if it's still too hot, leave it for longer), along with the egg yolks and begin mixing on a low speed until the dough comes together and looks smooth.
- If mixing by hand, start with a wooden spoon and then knead until the dough is smooth and combined.
- Cover the dough with plastic, and set aside for an hour or until doubled in size.
- Punch down the dough and roll it out into a large square, about 15in/40cm.
- In a small bowl stir together the brown sugar, cinnamon and a tablespoon of water - it should be the texture of damp sand.
- Brush the dough with the reserved egg white, and then spread the brown sugar mixture over the dough. Roll the dough up tightly, like a swiss roll, and then fold the swiss roll in half onto itself and twist it together a few times. Place the twisty dough roll into a greased loaf tin, and set aside to rise again for about 45 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 425F/220C. Brush the loaf with more reserved egg white (if desired), and place into the hot oven for 10 minutes, before turning the temperature to 400F/200C and baking for another 35 minutes, or until golden brown and hollow sounding when tapped on the base.
- Carefully remove from the tin while still warm from the oven, and then leave to cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing.
This is the BEST! And the photos are amazing!
Thank you lovely Tieghan! Your photos blow my mind on a daily basis, so I take that as a HUGE compliment!
Oh my yum
When I was a wee girl I was in love with this cinnamon swirl bread you could buy at the supermarket (remember it???) and the biatches went and discontinued it. I’ve never quite recovered from that loss. NEED to set aside a weekend for this guy to relive the glory days. Thank you, my guardian bread angel.
I do remember it, Erika! But only because my mum would never let us have it! So this is my attempt to bring it into my life, finally.
Oh what a gorgeous bread! It looks amaaaing! And brown sugar is to die for..
This is gorgeous Sarah!! I’m absolutely in love with this!
THAT SWIRL GIRRRRLLLL! (I’m rhyming today!)
I love that rhyme! And your blog…over thyme. (nailed it)
Sarah, this looks amazing in rise and texture! I am a huge fan of artisanal Bread in 5 minutes a day and also revere Nancy Silverton! Cannot wait for the high temps in Fl to drop below 90 so that I can joyfully bake!
Definitely! I come from a very hot and humid zone in Australia, so I can totally relate to not wanting the oven on! And the Bread in 5 guys are incredible, I love them!
I’m allll for loafing around the house, so this will be my sunday plans!
Gorgeous! I’d love to hear how you’d vegan-ize it!
I’ll definitely keep this recipe in mind the next time I sell my house, but I’m sure I’ll have to make it much sooner than that. I would throw in samples for maximum home offers. Beautiful!
Lol – yes, free samples! Offers would be rolling in!
Yum!!! Please just go ahead and double or triple the recipe when you make this. You’re gonna want more! You’re gonna want to play with the filling…raisins, nuts, chocolate chunks, candied ginger. You’re gonna want to make it into sticky buns and mini loaves for gifts. Or you’re just gonna want to eat it all with a big slab of unsalted butter. Right now. and toasted for breakfast. Every day. Really.
Thanks Stacy! Did you try out the recipe?
Looks amazing, similar to a Romanian traditional bread that is filled with chocolate or walnuts. I’d love this and a cup of warm milk right now. The perfect way to end a day!
Couldn’t agree more! And that chocolate bread sounds incredible!
Sarah! This is incredible. i’m going to make the living crap out of it. Can’t wait!!
Instagram a pic if you do, Molly!
Wow. Love this bread!
I bet this bread makes your house smell amazing! Swoon! I’m baking apple muffins this weekend and totally looking forward to filling my apartment with yummy cinnamon smells too :-)
This looks gorgeous! I’ve always been too scared to attempt cooking with yeast, but this might just be the recipe to start me off! Any advice?
My only advice is to let the dough rise for as long as it needs – but other than that, I think you’ll be surprised at how easy it is!
I love recipes like this because I have all of these ingredients already – it’s inexpensive to make and impressive to serve! I just might give this a try and bring it to the office on monday.
That’s awesome! Instagram it if you do!
Oh man, this looks absolutely delicious.
i also don’t understand why brown sugar is so goood….sometimes i just take a spoonful and eat it…too good!
French toast with this bread?! Stop it immediately. That is TOO GOOD of an idea. You’ve gone too far this time!
Taking cinnamon toast to the next level!! I bet this would be amazing smeared with cream cheese!
I love working with yeast! It feels like a science experiment the way that it reacts with the rest of the ingredients to rise before your eyes. Also, I always loved my mom’s homemade cinnamon bread as a child because we could slice it as thick as we wanted and lather it with butter.
Vanilla pods + bread = <3
yeast is definitely a lot less scary than most people think! If this loaf doesn’t motivate people to get experimenting with it, then I daresay nothing will. What a beauty!
How you got that bread to be so swirly, swooshy-rific I don’t know, but it is wonderful!
I can’t even imagine how good this would be toasted and slathered with butter. Actually, I can. And now my life will feel incomplete until I make and eat this loaf.
What a gorgeous swirl! This bread looks delicious, and I can’t wait to make French toast with it!
That looks amazing! What size loaf pan do you use?
Hi Tracy, I’ve tested this in a 9x5inch pan, and a 10x4inch pan. The photos are with the 10×4, but either will work!
I love this recipe! Made it last weekend, and the gooey goodness of the filling and buttery rich bread was just the best! My boyfriend (who’s not a big sweets fan) kept nabbing slices after dinner–slam-dunk! Hoping to make it again for holiday gifts (it’s not too early to start thinking about that, right?). Thanks for sharing this awesome recipe!
You just totally made my weekend with this comment! Thank you so much for trying out the recipe and I’m so happy that it worked perfectly and was a hit! And yes, you’re totally right, it’s never too early to start thinking about the Holidays! Because they’re just straight up fun to think about, right?
Hi, maybe I’m missing something (entirely possible!!) – I’m super excited to try out this recipe, but not sure what to do with the milk and butter after almost boiling it at the beginning. Do I add it back in to the flour mix with the vanilla pod at the beginning to make the dough? Thanks!!
Hey Amy – it’s all there in the instructions – you add the vanilla pod to the milk, and then fish out the pod and add it to the flour! Give them another read, I think you might have missed something.