Cinnamon Swirl Brioche

An easy-to-make rich, buttery brioche with a flaky crust and a tender, light and fluffy crumb. It’s braided to create beautiful, delicious, sweet cinnamon swirls. 

My Secret Recipe Club blog this month is the Cooking Rookie aka The Cook Book of Trial and Error. Elana’s a bread lover and has 26 bread recipes on her blog. Since I’m a bread lover too, baking a bread recipe from her delicious site was an easy choice.

The hard part was narrowing it down to just one recipe. I decided to use her rating system to decide, and she gave a five star rate to the brioche bread she made from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day.

The Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day cookbook is one I use often, but I have to admit we love the artisan bread so much that I haven’t tried many of the other recipes. So after reading Elana’s rave review, I decided it was high time to try the brioche recipe.

Cook’s Illustrated recently developed a Cinnamon Swirl Bread recipe that I’ve been wanting to try. So I decided to combine the easy brioche dough recipe and use the filling and braiding technique from Cook’s Illustrated.

The Cook’s recipe uses a dry filling made with powdered sugar that is spritzed with water after it’s sprinkled on the dough. This prevents the filling from leaking out and the huge gaps that you’ll often see in Cinnamon Bread. I was so impressed with the results. I loved the beautiful swirls and braided top.

Elana made French Toast with her brioche and I couldn’t resist making French Toast with mine. To the eggs and half and half I added a little brown sugar and cinnamon, and a splash of vanilla.  It was the best French Toast I have ever had.

Cinnamon Swirl Brioche

Yield: makes about 3 large loaves

Cinnamon Swirl Brioche


    Brioche dough
  • 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 tablespoons granulated yeast
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 8 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
  • 7 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (I only used 6 1/2 cups)
  • Refrigerate in a lidded (not airtight) container overnight and use over the next 5 days.
  • Filling
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


Mix the water, yeast, salt, eggs, honey and melted butter in a 5-quart bowl, or lidded (not airtight) food container.

Mix in the flour, using a spoon until all of the flour is incorporated.

Cover (not airtight), and allow to sit at room temperature for about two hours until the dough rises and collapses.

Refrigerate in a lidded (not airtight) container overnight and use over the next 5 days.

Assembling the Cinnamon Swirl Brioche

Grease three 9 x 4 inch loaf pans.* Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and divide dough in three equal pieces. On a well floured board, pat each piece into a 7 by 18 inch rectangle. (If necessary, use a bench scraper to loosen dough and add more flour underneath the dough so it doesn't stick.)

Use a spray bottle, lightly spray the top of the dough with water. Sprinkle a third of the filling mixture over the dough leaving a 1/4 inch border on the sides and a 3/4 inch border on top and bottom. Spray filling lightly with water so the filling is speckled with water.

Starting on the short side, roll the dough up into a cylinder and seal seam. Let it rest for 10 minutes.

Use your bench scraper to cut the loaf in half lengthwise; turn halves so cut sides are facing up. Gently stretch each half into a 14 inch length. Pinch the two ends of the dough together and braid dough by laying the left piece over the right keeping the cut side up, until pieces of dough are tightly twisted. Pinch ends together.

Transfer loaf, cut side up, to prepared loaf pan.  Repeat with remaining dough.

Cover pans loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled in size. Top of the loaves should rise about 1 inch over the lip of the pan. (Mine took 3 hours, but the Cook's recipe says 1 1/2 hours.)

Preheat oven to 350º. Bake approximately 25 minutes until the crust is golden brown. Reduce oven temperature to 325º, ten loaves with foil and continue baking until internal temperature registers 200º, 15 to 25 minutes longer. (I just got a new wireless thermometer - thanks Tiff! - and it took my bread exactly 15 minutes longer.)

Let cool for 5 minutes in the pan on a wire rack. Remove loaves from pans and cool completely on a wire rack before slicing, about 2 hours.

*You can bake all three loaves at once, leave the dough in the fridge for up to five days, or freeze the dough.


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    Leave a Comment:

  1. Nina says

    Hi, is the dough supposed to be really wet and sticky. I added another 1/2 cup flour when it was still being mixed in the bowl but the dough was still very sticky. I thought it would firm up when it was chilled but it didn’t really. I’ve made 1 loaf and will bake it off in the morning. (keeping my fingers crossed that it will turn out ok) :)

    • says

      Yes, the ABin5 doughs are all wet and sticky. That’s why you pat the dough into a rectangle instead of rolling it. You may need more flour depending on the humidity the day you’re baking. I often have to add less flour because our climate is so dry. Sounds like you did everything right and you’ll get a delicious loaf in the morning.

  2. Suzy says

    Hi! This bread looks beautiful! I was looking at the recipe in Artisan Bread in 5 and I noticed that Elana used 1 packet of yeast versus the 2 you use in the recipe. Is that correct? The only reason I ask is because you pointed out the difference in the flour quantities but not this one. I am so excited to make this!

    • says

      Hi Suzy – The New ABin5 lists 1 tablespoon of yeast, so I updated my recipe as well. In the intro they say you can use less yeast if you prefer a less yeasty bread, but the initial rise will take longer. I used less flour because of my dry climate. Flour absorbs more water here so I generally have to use a less flour in bread recipes.

      Enjoy the bread. It really is fantastic.

      • Suzy says

        To restart or not restart… Hi Barbara, thank you for your reply. This is my first time making brioche and I’m really looking forward to it. I made it he dough, and losely covered the top of the container that was about double its size in plastic wrap, and let it sit for 2 hours at room temperature. When I came back after two hours, the dough had doubled in size and came into contact with the plastic wrap and didn’t collapse. I was half asleep (it’s late here) and put it in the fridge like this, thinking it would collapse in the fridge. About two hours later I checked on it, this time I was fully awake, and realized it still hasn’t collapsed so I took the plastic wrap off and it slowly started to collapse finally (to about 2/3 or almost 1/2 the risen size roughly). I hadn’t realized that the plastic wrap had made a tighter seal when it initially rose. So I guess my question is if I should just follow through or will I end up with a flat disaster brick bread now. This is only me fifth time making bread so I’m not 100% confident with eyeballing a dough and knowing what it will do.

  3. Christy M says

    I made this bread to use in a New Orleans Bread Pudding this week. I halved the recipe because I did not want to have 3 large loaves of Cinnamon Bread. I ended up having enough to make 2 nice sized loaves. However…after about 20 minutes the dough fell to even with the top of the pan. It did continue to bake and brown nicely. Any idea what would have caused it to fall? I did not open the oven…I looked through the window after 20 min to check the browning. After 45 minutes it was browned to my liking so I checked the temp of the bread. It was at 200.5 so I removed it from the oven. The cinnamon flavor is not strong enough for us, so will use more filling next time. Lovely dough…

  4. Pam says

    I did make this bread and turned it into french toast as I had wanted to. It came out fantastic !! Nice rich cinnamon flavor!! I was told it was the best french toast they had ever eaten. One of my guests ate FIVE pieces of french toast !!!! Truly great recipe. Thanks again !!

  5. says

    I made this yesterday but did a peach pie version -no processed sugar AT ALL. I spread peach applesauce over it and sprinkled with raisins, walnuts, and cinnamon. I also subbed half the butter in the bread with peach applesauce. It was such a nice treat :)

  6. Pam says

    OMG!! Recently I saw pictures of brioche on and thought, yeah, I think I’d like to make that. I started looking for recipes that wouldn’t scare me too badly the first time. I have a lot of experiencing baking bread, but have never made brioche. As I also own several cookbooks, I have the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day book, and low and behold, a brioche recipe that wouldn’t scare me to death. I learned how to make bread from that book and over the years have learned how to make it by stand-mixer, bread machine, and by hand. When I saw this recipe, you totally read my mind. I wanted to have left over brioche to make french toast. Well, more particularly, I am partial to cinnamon french toast and usually use a cinnamon swirl loaf. Well, thanks be to God, you have the perfect recipe that will allow me to fulfill my dreams. I have company coming and wanted to wow the socks off of them by making home made cinnamon french toast with brioche dough !! I can actually taste it looking at your pictures and am drooling. THANK YOU !!!!

    • says

      Hi Pam – thank you so much for the sweet comments! So glad you’re enjoying my site. Please come back and let me know how your company liked the French Toast.