Sourdough Cinnamon & Date Swirl Bread

A cinnamon swirled sourdough loaf with a mug of tea on a chopping board

As a kid I was obsessed with cinnamon swirl bread. It’s like a less intense version of a cinnamon bun and makes THE BEST french toast ever. What’s not to like?

a close up of a slice of cinnamon swirled sourdough with butter

This is a slightly modernised variation made with sourdough and dates instead of raisins. I made a double swirl by rolling the dough up into a log, cutting that in half and twisting the two halves together. It’s almost like making a babka but a lot less messy!

Overhead image of sliced cinnamon swirl sourdough bread

A cinnamon swirled sourdough loaf with a mug of tea on a chopping board

Sourdough Cinnamon & Date Swirl Bread

4.45 from 27 votes
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Course: Bread and Yeast Doughs
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Additional Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 7 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 1 loaf (in a ‘2lb loaf tin’)

Ingredients

For the dough:

  • 130 g (1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons) fed sourdough starter (100% hydration)
  • 220 g (1 cup minus 2 tablespoons) lukewarm water
  • 1 medium UK (large US) egg
  • 55 g (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 55 g (1/4 cup) granulated sugar
  • 430 g (3 1/2 cups) plain white (all-purpose) flour
  • 1 teaspoon fine table salt
  • 1 teaspoon easy-bake (instant) dried yeast (optional, see notes)

For the swirl:

  • 1 egg
  • pinch of salt
  • 110 g (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 150 g (a scant cup) pitted dates
  • pearl sugar , for sprinkling (optional)

Instructions

To make the dough:

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the sourdough starter, lukewarm water, egg, cooled melted butter and sugar. Turn the mixer onto a low speed and stir until roughly mixed together.
  • Add the flour, salt and (if using) the easy-bake yeast (see notes below for if you are using it). Turn the mixer onto a medium-low speed until the dry ingredients have been mostly mixed in then increase the speed to high. Let it knead the dough for 6-8 minutes until it is smooth, elastic and is pulling way from the sides of the bowl.
  • Pour a little bit of vegetable oil over the dough and turn it to coat the dough and bowl with a thin layer of oil.
  • Cover with a clean tea towel and leave somewhere warm for around 4 hours – during this rising time you need to turn the dough. This is done by grabbing the ‘north’ side of the dough, pulling it up and folding it down towards the opposite side of the dough. Then repeating this in the same manner with the ‘east’, ‘south’ and ‘west’ sides of the dough. This is one set of turns. You need to do 4 sets of turns throughout the rising time, so once per hour is about right.
  • Once you’ve completed your last turn of the dough, let it rest somewhere warm again so it becomes puffy – about 30-45 minutes.

Shape and fill the dough:

  • Lightly grease a a 2lb (21.5 x 11 cm / 8.5 x 4.3-inch) loaf tin. Set aside.
  • Tip the risen dough out onto a clean work surface, lightly dusted with flour. Pat it down to remove the air and dust with some more flour on top. Roll the dough out into a 30 x 45 cm (12 x 18- inch) rectangle.
  • Crack the egg into a small bowl and add a pinch of salt. Beat together with a fork and set aside.
  • Combine the sugar and ground cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside. Roughly chop the pitted dates and set aside.
  • Use a pastry brush to brush the entire surface of the dough with the beaten egg (you won’t use all of it – chill the remainder for brushing the loaf later). Sprinkle all over with the cinnamon sugar and then scatter over the chopped dates.
  • Starting at a short edge, roll the dough up into a tight log. Cut the log in half so you now have two shorter logs. Line them both up and then twist them together. Trim the ends off of the twist to neaten and so that it will fit into your loaf tin.
  • Place the dough twist into your loaf tin and cover (I use a small bin bag which I trap air into so that it’s puffed up like a balloon and then seal the loaf pan inside so the bag doesn’t touch the dough). Leave somewhere warm to rise until almost doubled in volume, with the top of the dough poking up about 4cm (1.5 inches) from the tin – about 90 minutes.

Bake the dough:

  • Preheat your oven to 180°C fan (350°F / 200°C).
  • Uncover the dough. Brush the surface with the beaten egg you were using before. Sprinkle with pearl sugar if you’d like and then bake for 45-55 minutes until well-browned with an internal temperature of around 94°C (200°F).
  • Let cool for 10 minutes before running a dull knife around the edge of the loaf and tipping out onto a wire rack – leave to cool completely before slicing.

Notes

Adapted from Sourdough Cinnamon Buns via King Arthur Flour
If you want to make the dough rise faster (and have less of a sour tang) add the easy-bake (instant) yeast to the dough when instructed. I found it reduced the initial proofing time to around 2 1/2 hours and the second proof to around 45 minutes .
Tried this recipe?Let me know how it went! Mention @izyhossack or tag #topwithcinnamon!

27 thoughts on “Sourdough Cinnamon & Date Swirl Bread”

  1. Thanks for the recipe, Izy! I am starting to experiment with sourdough, so when I’ll be more skilled with it, I would like to try to prepare this bread. I adore cinnamon!

    1. Thanks, Noemi! Hope you do get the chance to make this bread, it’s delicious (and actually I find this style of loaf much easier to make than a rustic sourdough boule). Happy baking! x

  2. 5 stars
    I have made this bread twice so far, and it has turned out perfectly lovely each time. It is a wonderful recipe! I forgot to add the dates the first time around, but it was still good – but the second time around with the dates was heavenly – so much better than raisins 😀 This is a keeper for sure – I think I’ll bake it again today since it’s feeding day for my starter. Thanks so much for this amazing recipe!

  3. I should add to my review that I didn’t need any extra yeast at all – my starter worked just fine. This is one of my favorite sourdough recipes I’ve found so far, it’s actually hard not to make it every week… I need to find more people to share it with, ha ha ha. Thanks again! It’s so good!

  4. This turned out fantastic!! A huge hit with my family, we ate the whole loaf in just a few days. Everyone keeps asking when I’m making it again.

    I also didn’t use any extra yeast – my starter was more than sufficient to get the dough to rise. As with any sourdough, you just need to give it the extra time to work its magic. Good thing we’re all stuck in quarantine, cause we have nothing but time!

    1. Thanks Adriana, so pleased to hear it 🙂
      Yes the extra yeast is only necessary if you’re an impatient person haha!!

  5. Made this yesterday, and it was a massive hit. We ended up scoffing most of the loaf and had to skip dinner. The texture is so soft & pillowy, perfect sweetness. No sourdough tang.

    Will definitely be making more of these in the future.

    p.s. I did use yeast. Not because I was in a hurry, but because I didn’t want to risk it having too much of a sour tang 🙂

    1. Hi Pratana! Thanks so much for the lovely feedback. I’ve done the same thing many a time of eating a baked good before dinner and then being too full for the meal haha!

  6. Hi Izy, have you tried it with another flour? Run out of AP flour and white bread flour (joy of lock down) but have loads of wholemeal and spelt. What do you reckon? Looking forward to trying it!

    1. I haven’t, unfortunately! But yes I understand the struggle. I think you should be able to use a mix of wholemeal and spelt flour (maybe 50:50?) although I would expect the bread to turn out slightly denser than the original loaf. Spelt can make dough stickier but the wholemeal flour should absorb more water so might make up for that fact. In any case, I think they’ll both be fine to use here, just might make the dough a little harder to handle.

  7. Hi Izy, can the butter be replaced by vegetable oil, perhaps coconut or olive oil ?
    Thanks for sharing the recipe.

    1. Hi Micaela,
      I think that should work just fine, I’ve used vegetable/olive oil in bread recipes before and it has worked very well. Here you should use 40g of vegetable or olive oil (you could use coconut oil, melted, but it would impart a coconutty flavour which you may not want)

  8. This bread looks and sounds wonderful. Please excuse my sourdough inexperience, but when it says “fed sourdough” how recently fed does that mean? The night before, a couple of hours before?? Thanks for your help! Looking forward to trying you recipe?

    1. Hi Cindi, It depends on how active your sourdough starter is but generally I would say that I should have been fed 5-6 hours prior to baking with it. It is ready to bake with when, if you take a small scoop of sourdough starter and gently drop it into some water, it floats.

  9. This is a wonderful bread! I have made it twice – the first time I cooked at 350°(without convection) and it took almost 2 hours to bake. The second time I increased temp to 400° and it was ready in about 50 min. The dough was very wet for me but workable just needed some patience 🙂 The bread is delicious!!! I made a double batch the second time so we can share 🙂

    1. Forgot to add, I did not use yeast, I did overnight cold proof both times so we could make in the morning for breakfast 🙂

  10. Is there a way to make it without egg? (My son is allergic.) Do you think aquafaba would work better than flax?

    1. Reporting back! I used a flax egg (1 tbsp flax : 3 tbps water) in the dough, and spread aquafaba (about the amount of one egg) for the egg in the filling. I used regular butter, though. And substituted raisins. It was so. good. Tasted like the Pepperidge Farm swirl bread of my youth, in the best way, and was a sweet bite of comforting nostalgia in these strange times.

  11. Hello! thank you so much for this recipe – it’s just proving now but excited to try. I found that my dough was super sticky so it was really hard to twist the 2 logs together so it looks a bit of a mess :(. Any tips/what did I do wrong?! Thank you xx

    1. The dough is quite a sticky one at first but should’ve become significantly smoother and easier to handle from the kneading + folding. If that didn’t happen it can just be down to the type of flour your using – different flours absorb different amounts of water so they all come out differently. If you find dough hard to work with in the future, a good tip is to chill it for 30-40 minutes before you work with it as it’ll be significantly easier to handle when cold 🙂

  12. Hi Izy, gorgeous recipe thank you! I struggled to get a good swirl in my bread. Any tips? I’m wondering if I twisted the bread together incorrectly..

    1. Hi Leonie! Thank you, glad you liked it. The swirl issue could be from not having enough cinnamon in your mixture as if there’s not enough in there, the thin ribbon of cinnamon-sugar won’t be visible once baked!

  13. Excited to try this recipe! I’m new to the sourdough game and unsurprisingly I have a lot of discard starter to use up! I have two questions – 1. my husband is not a fan of cinnamon so I was thinking of swapping it for Nutella – do you think it might work? Or too “wet”? 2. I have a lot of buckwheat flour left from making vegan banana bread, do you think it might work in this recipe? Thanks!

    1. Hi Mina! Yes nutella should work as the filling here (I would warm it up so it is easier to spread). I wouldn’t advise using buckwheat flour here as the recipe really relies on the gluten content of the flour to rise properly & have the right consistency. Buckwheat flour doesn’t contain gluten & can make dough sticky & dense so I would steer clear of it when it comes to baking bread!!!

  14. 5 stars
    This is my go to bread for impressing everyone, even myself! Ha! My sourdough starter gets so so happy when mixed with these ingredients, it makes this bread the fluffiest, most delicious ever. I do not add the yeast, but otherwise follow the ingredients to a T. After turning the dough out the last time and rolling it up with the cinnamon mixture, I actually let it sit overnight in the bread pan. Oh my, the next morning when I look under the towel, it has risen so beautifully! And it bakes perfectly every time. I have friends and family requesting me to make this bread for them every time I see them. Thank you for this recipe!

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