Cinnamon loaf 

I love cinnamon, all things cinnamon – even those fireball sweets as a kid! With this in mind, when I was settling down to a bit of baking at the weekend, with a little more time on my hands, I decided it was time to attempt some Nordic inspired cinnamon treats.

Following many delicious trips to the Nordic Bakery and a recent short break in Copenhagen I have developed a bit of a soft spot for their doughy delights, not too sweet and flavoured with a mix of cardamom and cinnamon they are a perfect companion to a cup of tea.So, I decided to make a cinnamon swirl loaf. This loaf is the perfect size for 8 people. It will easily feed more if you are stingy with the slices. If, like me, there are less people in your house then it can be sliced up and stored in the freezer, ready to be taken out and toasted for a delicious snack.

Also, as with lots of bread recipes, this one doesn’t provide instant rewards. With all the proving time it’s around 5 hours from start to sliced loafage.

Ingredients – for the dough:

150 ml of milk – I used semi-skimmed

2 tbsp salted butter

30 ml of warm water

1 ½ tsp active dry yeast

320 grams strong white bread flour

1.5 tbsp castor sugar

½ tsp salt

1 tsp ground cardamom (optional, but delicious!)

Ingredients – for the swirl filling:

2 tbsp butter softened

2 tbsp light brown sugar

2 tbsp cinnamon (you can adjust this to your own cinnamon preferences)

1 beaten egg

Step 1: Starting the dough…

This is a really easy and straightforward white bread dough, with the spicy addition of cardamom. We only have cardamom pods so I started off by opening the pods to crush the seeds into a rough powder.

– Warm the milk on a low heat, add in the butter and leave to melt into the warm milk, once the butter has melted, take off the heat

– Add the yeast to the warm water, give it a stir and leave for around 10 minutes to activate

– Mix the dry ingredients together; flour, sugar, salt and ground cardamom

– Make a well in the flour mix and add in the milk mixture and the yeast and mix it together to form a loose dough

– Tip the mix out and start to kneed, keep kneeding the dough until it becomes smooth and supple. This took me around 10 minutes. The dough is quite wet, so add a little flour to help you work it but not too much.

– Put the dough in a large bowl, covered with a tea towel and leave to rise for a couple of hours in a warm and draft free place, until around double the size.

– Once double in size, tip the dough out and knock it back – kneeding out the air bubbles for a couple of minutes

– Put the re-kneeded dough back into the bowl, cover and leave again for another hour or so to rest

Making the filling

– Mix together the softened butter with the sugar and cinnamon, adjust the quantities to your preferred tastes

Building the loaf

– Take the dough and gently stretch it out into an oblong with one side long enough to fit in to the loaf tin you are using. The more you are able to stretch the dough, the more spiral layers you will get in your loaf.

– Spread the butter filling over the stretched dough and roll up like a swiss roll along the length of the tin, pinching the end together

Now for the twist

To make the loaf a little more interesting, I added a twist, literally! This is really simple and gives a nice finish to the loaf.

– Leaving 5cm of dough joined at the top, slice the remaining loaf in half, and open the two sides out so you can see all the layers of filling. Then simply twist the two pieces together, wrapping one over the other to the end, then pinch the ends together.

– Place the loaf in the tin and leave to rest for another 30 minutes while the oven heats up to 175°C.

– Egg wash the loaf generously to ensure a nice golden finish and pop in the oven for 35 minutes. Keep an eye on it just to make sure the top isn’t getting too brown – if so, just cover with foil.

When the loaf is ready, tip out of the tin and leave to cool a little before enjoying, delicious! 

By contributor Natalie

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