This cinnamon swirl bread is soft, tender, and so delicious! The swirls are filled with a cinnamon and sugar mixture. The dough is made with bread flour and active dry yeast.
Pour warm milk (110-115 degrees F) into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add 1 teaspoon of the sugar and the active dry yeast. Stir, and let it stand for about 10 minutes until frothy. This means that the yeast is good. If it does not get frothy, start over with fresh yeast.
With the mixer on medium speed (use the whisk attachment), mix the yeast mixture, melted butter, ⅓ cup sugar, salt, and eggs until combined.
Switch to the dough hook attachment on the stand mixer. On medium speed, add 3 cups of bread flour, 1 cup at a time. Add the remaining flour in 1/4 cup increments as needed, until a dough has formed. Increase to medium-high speed and mix/knead for 3-4 minutes. If it’s sticking to the bowl too much, continue adding flour in ¼ cup increments. I ended up using 4 ¼ cups of flour. The dough should be slightly sticky, moist, and manageable.
Transfer the dough to a floured surface, and knead by hand for another 2-3 minutes, adding more flour as needed, until the dough is manageable and springs back slowly when poked. Form a ball, and transfer to a lightly oiled bowl (vegetable oil is fine), making sure to coat all sides of the dough with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise for about 1.5 hours or until doubled in size in a warm and draft-free environment (see note below on "creating a warm environment").
Make the cinnamon and sugar filling: In a bowl, whisk the brown sugar with ground cinnamon until evenly combined. Set aside.
Grease a 9x5 baking pan with butter. Set aside.
After the dough has doubled in size, punch it down to remove the air. Roll it out into a 9x18 inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Brush with the egg and water mixture (1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water), leaving 1 inch borders. Sprinkle with the cinnamon and sugar mixture evenly. Starting from the shorter side, roll the dough as tightly as you can to form a 9-inch log. Pinch to seal the dough. Tip: when rolling the dough, try not to apply too much pressure in the middle so that it’s uniformly rolled.
Transfer the rolled dough to the prepared 9x5 pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise for 1 hour or until puffed up in a warm and draft-free environment.
While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
After the dough has risen, make the egg wash by whisking 1 egg with 1 tablespoon of whole milk until well-combined. Brush the top of the puffed up dough with it, being careful not to press too hard. Bake for 35 minutes until golden brown. Tent with foil after about 23-25 minutes to prevent it from browning too much. Note: if the bread is browning faster on one side, rotate it, as sometimes ovens have hot spots.
Remove baked bread from the oven and let it cool for 15 minutes before removing it from the pan. Then remove from the pan and let it cool completely on a wire rack. Enjoy!