A soft and fluffy sweet dough with tunnels of cinnamon sugar swirled throughout and baked to perfection. The glaze can be a simple vanilla glaze or you can go the more decadent route and use a creamy cream cheese glaze!
Happy Autumn friends 🍂🍁 I have such a lovely recipe to share today. A beautiful *twist* to a classic cinnamon roll that is just perfect with a cup of tea or coffee. This cinnamon tunnel braid loaf is a rich and decadent sweet roll dough, filled and rolled with buttery cinnamon sugar and twisted into a braid before baking. The technique of twisting creates delicious ripples of ooey gooey cinnamon sugar tunnels all throughout the bread. Shaping it into a loaf makes it easy to slice and eat as toast. Top with fresh fruit and you’ve got a perfect breakfast if you ask me.
Making this is super easy. It is just a simple cinnamon roll dough and instead of rolling into rolls we’re going to twist and shape the logs into a braid. I was inspired to make this bread after watching Jenny make it on her channel. The best way to explain this is for you to watch this video. You can see step by step how she creates the cinnamon tunnel braid loaf.
I used one of my favourite sweet roll recipes for this loaf as it’s failproof and loved by anyone who tries it. It’s a simple milk and water based dough using pantry staple ingredients.
- Whole milk: as this is a rich dough, I do use whole milk as the liquid. This makes the dough soft and fluffy. Along with the water used, the baked dough is light and airy.
- Instant yeast: also known as rapid rise yeast, I prefer this over active dry yeast. It’s quicker since you don’t need to activate it and always works perfectly. This is one of my favourite yeast brands to use.
- Softened butter: cut up into pieces, using softened instead of melted butter makes the bread nice and tender.
- Sugar: I mostly use brown sugar in the filling but with just a touch of white sugar, the perfect syrupy cinnamon sugar is created.
- Cinnamon: use a good brand as obviously this is the star flavour of the bread loaf.
- Salt: this goes for both the dough and the filling. Salt is crucial to bring out all the wonderful flavours of the loaf.
Another add-in that can be incorporated into the sweet roll is raisins. If you want to add them, fold in about 1 cup into the dough before you start kneading. When it comes to making the dough, it is much easier to use a dough hook on a stand mixer for kneading but if you don’t have a stand mixer then you can just knead the dough by hand for 15 minutes. It takes a little bit longer because you need to develop the gluten but the loaf will still come out perfect.
Simple cream cheese glaze
My go-to glaze for any baked bread is a cream cheese glaze that is loosened with cream. I absolutely adore this glaze because its reminiscent of actual cream cheese frosting but so much simpler to make. It’s also thicker than a regular milk/icing sugar glaze so it melts wonderfully into the crevices of the roll as well as sits scrumptiously on top.
A splash of vanilla and even pinch of salt makes it the perfect cream cheese glaze for any sweet roll, muffin or cookie.
I honestly can’t explain how delicious and heart warming this sweet roll bread is! We literally inhaled the entire thing!
It truly is such a pretty bake, perfect for breakfast or a late brunch or just a cool fall afternoon. I loved making this and I hope you guys enjoy it too!
Tag me @dutchbakerblog with all of your Dutch Baker bakes! 🧡
Other cinnamon roll inspired recipes to try:
- Swedish tea ring
- Cinnamon roll crescents
- Icelandic cinnamon rolls
- Cinnamon roll twist
- Soft cinnamon roll pretzels
- Mini muffin cinnamon rolls
Cinnamon Tunnel Braid Loaf
4 – 6servings
Prep time includes 2 hours resting time for the dough to rise before baking.
- For the dough
1/4 cup (60mls) warm water
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1/4 cup (50gms) sugar
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (90mls) whole milk
4 tablespoons (50gms)unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 – 2 1/2 cups (250 – 300gms) flour
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
- For the filling
4 tablespoons (50gms) softened unsalted butter
1/4 cup (50gms) soft brown sugar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
Pinch of salt
- For the glaze
2 tablespoons cream cheese
1/2 cup (65gms) icing sugar
2 tablespoons cream
- In a large bowl, pour warm water and sprinkle the yeast on top. Add in about 1 tablespoon of the sugar and set aside for 5 minutes until thickened slightly.
- Once yeast is ready, add in the rest of the sugar, milk, egg and butter and whisk until well combined. The butter won’t mix in completely and look all piece-y but that’s okay.
- In another bowl, whisk together 2 cups of flour, along with the salt, and add about 1 cup of the flour mix to the liquids. Whisk fast for a few seconds until mixture is smooth. Add in the rest of the flour until a dough forms. Turn out onto a floured surface or use a dough hook on a stand mixer and knead for about 10 minutes, adding more flour as needed, until a smooth, soft and sticky dough forms. Try not to add too much flour because the dough needs to be soft, elastic and sticky/tacky. If you add too much, the rolls will be tough. Place dough in an oiled bowl, cover well and rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and combine both sugars, salt & cinnamon in a bowl.
- Roll dough into 9 x 12-inch rectangle. Cut into three 3 x 12-inch strips. Spread butter down the center of each strip. Top the butter with narrow rows of the brown sugar mix, keeping away from the edges.
- Pinch the strips closed, moistening the long edges if needed to stick. Go over sealed edges with floured hands to make three sealed ropes with filling inside.
- Form into a braid, tucking in edges. Place on baking sheet. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm spot for 1 hour until doubled in size. Alternatively, you can cover well and place the braid overnight in the fridge for up to 16 hours. When you’re ready to bake, take the braid out of the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for an hour. Bake as mentioned in step 8.
- Brush loaf with egg wash* (optional). Bake in preheated oven at 375°F/190°C for 22 – 25 minutes. If needed, cover with a foil tent the last 10 minutes to prevent over-browning. Brush the top of butter as soon as it is out of the oven. Let rest 10 minutes and top with glaze.
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
- *To make an egg wash, stir together 1 egg and 2 teaspoons of milk or cream. Brush over the sweet roll before baking.
- Inspiration and technique by Jenny can cook
- Dough recipe by the Dutch Baker.