Cinnamon Bread Treats for the Holidays

Cinnamon Bread Treats for the Holidays

Reading Time: 4 minutes


When it comes to holiday baking, sweet cinnamon yeast bread is at the top of my list for both family and friends.  

The technique of making yeast breads is satisfying and calming during the busyness of the holiday season. The cinnamon aroma alone wafting from the oven is enough to make me smile.   

If you’d like to get a jump on the holiday baking season, the recipes I’m sharing are for you. The swirled cinnamon bread and the frosted family-size cinnamon roll can be frozen for up to two months, sans frosting.  

The bonus? Both make welcome gifts from the kitchen. As I always say, a gift from the hands is a gift from the heart!   

Swirled Cinnamon Bread  

This bread has a tender crumb and is not overly sweet.  


Ingredients Bread  

  • Loaf pan  
  • Softened butter for greasing pan and brushing on dough  
  • 1 cup whole milk  
  • 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter  
  • 1 package active dry yeast (1/4 ounce to 2-1/4 teaspoons)  
  • Couple of pinches of sugar   
  • 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour  
  • 1 teaspoon salt  
  • 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar  
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature   
  • Egg wash for top of bread: 1 egg whisked with a bit of milk or water  

Ingredients Filling  

  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar  
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon  


  1. Grease loaf pan generously with softened butter.  
  2. Heat milk and 1/2 cup butter until hot and butter is melted. Let cool to 110-115 degrees Fahrenheit.  
  3. Sprinkle yeast over top, stir in a couple pinches of sugar, and let sit 5 to 10 minutes, until it gets foamy.   
  4. Whisk flour and salt together. Set aside.  
  5. In mixer on low speed, blend sugar and eggs until combined.  
  6. Increase speed to medium and pour in milk mixture. Beat until well mixed.  
  7. Lower speed to medium-low and add flour mixture in 2 batches, beating well each time.  
  8. Remove dough from bowl and place on floured surface.   
  9. Knead until dough is smooth, about 10 minutes. If it’s really sticky as you knead, add a bit of flour, but don’t overdo.   
  10. Brush large bowl with softened butter, place dough in, turning to coat all sides.  
  11. Cover with plastic wrap or towel and let rise until doubled in size, 1-1/2 to 2 hours or so, depending upon the warmth of the room.  
  12. Punch dough to deflate, then dump out onto very lightly floured surface.  
  13. Roll into rectangle, no wider than your loaf pan. Length can be between 18” to 20” or so.  
  14. Brush entire surface with softened butter. This allows the cinnamon filling to stick.  
  15. Stir sugar and cinnamon together, then sprinkle over dough. Pat it a bit to make it stick.  
  16. Starting at the far end, roll dough toward you, making sure to roll it tightly to prevent excessive separation of layers during baking. Pinch seam to seal.  
  17. Place bread, seam side down, in pan.  
  18. Cover with plastic wrap or towel and let rise up to 2 hours, until dough rises a bit above the pan. Again, the warmer the room, the quicker the rise.   
  19. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  
  20. Brush egg wash over surface of dough.  
  21. Bake on middle rack for 40 minutes or so. (Mine was done in 40 minutes.)   
  22. Toothpick inserted in center will come out clean when bread is done.  

Remove from pan, let cool, then enjoy.  

Gilding the lily: Drizzle bread with your favorite confectioners’ sugar glaze after it has cooled.  

Frosted Family-sized Cinnamon Roll 

Like a family-size bakery cinnamon roll! If all you have is all-purpose flour, up the flour amount to 3 cups.  


Ingredients bread  

  • 1 round cake pan, 9-inch
  • 1 package active dry yeast (1/4 ounce to 2-1/4 teaspoons)  
  • 3/4 cup warm water (110-115 degrees F)  
  • Couple pinches for feeding yeast   
  • 1/4 cup sugar  
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt  
  • 1 large egg, room temperature  
  • 2-1/2 cups bread flour  
  • Unsalted butter, softened for greasing pan and brushing on dough  
  • Optional: toasted chopped nuts   

Ingredients filling  

  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar (I used dark)  
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons cinnamon  


  1. Grease pan generously with butter. Set aside.  
  2. Sprinkle yeast in warm water, adding a couple pinches of sugar to feed the yeast. Give it a stir.  
  3. Let stand until it gets foamy, 5-10 minutes.  
  4. Pour into mixing bowl and on low speed, add sugar and salt and mix until combined.  
  5. Increase speed to medium, add egg and 1 cup flour. Mix to combine.  
  6. Continue adding flour until dough forms. It may be a bit sticky.   
  7. Turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead until it is smooth, about 10 minutes.  
  8. Cover with damp cloth and let rest 10 minutes.  
  9. Roll dough on lightly floured surface into a 9-12” rectangle, about 1/4” thick.  
  10. Brush butter on dough.  
  11. Mix brown sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle on buttered dough. Pat it a bit to make it stick.  
  12. Cut into six strips, about 1-1/2” x 12” each.  
  13. Loosely roll up 1 strip and place in center of pan.  
  14. Add rest of strips, coiling loosely as you go. This allows them to rise and expand.   
  15. Cover with plastic wrap or towel and let rise until doubled, 40-60 minutes depending upon the warmth of the room.  
  16. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  
  17. Bake 25-35 minutes on middle rack. When done, a toothpick inserted in center will come out clean.   

Let cool 10 minutes, and then frost with favorite cream cheese frosting or a simple confectioners’ sugar glaze while roll is still a bit warm.  

Before frosting sets, sprinkle with toasted chopped nuts if you like.  


Why add sugar to yeast mixture?  Sugar “feeds” the yeast, allowing for a more consistent rise.  

Mixing by hand vs. machine  Yes, you can. Just takes a little more “elbow grease!”  

RITA HEIKENFELD comes from a family of wise women in tune with nature. She is a certified modern herbalist, culinary educator, author, and national media personality. Most important, she is a wife, mom, and grandma. Rita lives on a little patch of heaven overlooking the East Fork River in Clermont County, Ohio. She is a former adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati, where she developed a comprehensive herbal course. column:  

Originally published in the November/December 2022 issue of Countryside and Small Stock Journal and regularly vetted for accuracy.

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