Yield: 1 cinnamon roll milk bread loaf // Total Time: 2 hr. 50 min. // Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links.
Light and fluffy cinnamon rolls turned into a bread loaf!
cinnamon roll loaf
Milk bread cinnamon rolls…but make it cinnamon roll milk bread. Today we’re taking cinnamon rolls, but instead of baking them in your classic square or cake pan, we’re baking them in a loaf pan! The cinnamon rolls all come together to form one beautiful cinnamon roll loaf. We’re also making these rolls milk bread style which makes the loaf overall SO light and fluffy. It’s sweet, cinnamon-y yeast bread perfection.
what is tangzhong?
If you ever see the word “milk bread”, that simply means that that bread is using tangzhong! Tangzhong is a cooking method that involves cooking a portion of the flour in a recipe with 4-5x the amount of liquid. Cooking the flour pre-gelatinizes the starch present in the flour, allowing it to hold on to more liquid. This leads to a bread that is able to hold way more liquid than it normally would be able to, which makes the bread softer, fluffier, and keeps it from staling as fast. It’s basically a secret ingredient for better bread, using ingredients you already need for the bread!
weigh your ingredients
Weighing your ingredients is important for getting the recipe perfect and getting consistent results. Not weighing your ingredients can lead to adding too much or too little of an ingredient. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend purchasing a kitchen scale. This one is super cheap and worked well for me when I was starting out!
line your pan with parchment paper!
Butter your loaf pan, then lay a sheet of parchment paper into it so that it looks like a hammock. This will give you a way to lift the cinnamon roll loaf out of the pan super easily after baking.
the dough will need to knead..for a while
Kneading this dough will take a longer time than you are probably used to. This dough is enriched with eggs and butter which makes it take longer for the proper amount of gluten to develop. Kneading in the mixer can take me anywhere from 10-20 minutes. Also, please make sure you are using a higher protein all purpose flour that has at least 11%, not 10% protein (I use King Arthur Flour, 11.7%.) The dough is ready to be used when it passes the windowpane test and has pulled away from the sides and bottom of the bowl. If you are weighing your ingredients, just trust the process! If you are using cup measurements and the dough just is not coming together after 15 minutes, try adding in 1 tbsp. of flour at a time.
room temperature ingredients
It is important for the ingredients to be at room temperature so that they properly incorporate with each other. Take out the egg and butter at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hr 30 min. before starting the recipe. To bring an egg to room temperature quickly, you can place it under hot water for 1 minute. To bring butter to room temperature quickly, slice it, place it on a plate, and microwave it in 5 second intervals!
heating the milk
Heating the milk is important for bringing the yeast to an optimal temperature for rising. The milk should be heated to ~100°F / 38°C but it does not have to be exact. As long as the milk is between 95°F – 110°F, it is good to be used. If the temperature exceeds 110°F, wait for it to cool down before using so that you do not kill the yeast!
ingredients and substitutions
For the milk bread:
All purpose flour: for structure and chewiness. Please be sure that you are using a high-quality flour that has a high protein %, such as King Arthur (11.7%) so that your gluten will develop. If you’re using a low protein flour, the gluten will not develop enough and you will have to add a lot more flour to the dough, which will alter the dough!
Active dry yeast: for making the dough rise. You can easily substitute in instant yeast if that is what you have on hand. You will just skip the step of combining the warm milk, sugar, and yeast! There are more notes on this later on in the post.
Salt: for balancing and bringing out the sweetness of the brioche. Salt also “controls” the yeast to make sure that it does not overly expand.
Granulated sugar: for sweetening the brioche and for helping the yeast with rising. We will use a little bit of sugar in the brioche as well as in the hazelnut sugar.
Egg: for binding and adding moisture.
Unsalted butter: for tenderizing the dough. I would not recommend substituting in salted butter since salt is important to controlling yeast growth and the amount of salt in salted butter is quite variable.
Whole milk: for tenderizing and hydrating the dough. Whole milk will provide the softest dough because the extra fat helps tenderize the dough. You can however swap in 1%, 2% or your favorite non dairy milk alternative! Just note that the dough may be a little less soft and fluffy due to the varying fat content.
For the cinnamon filling:
Unsalted butter & light brown sugar & ground cinnamon: your classic cinnamon roll filling
Dutch process cocoa: optional, but a little bit will help darken the filling and make it more visible when you slice!
For the simple glaze:
Powdered sugar & milk: use your favorite milk here.
Salt: a pinch of salt helps balance out the sweetness.
how to make a cinnamon roll milk bread loaf
how to tell your dough is done kneading: the windowpane test
The windowpane test is (in my opinion) the best way to tell that your dough has been properly kneaded. Once the dough starts to pull away from the sides and the bottom of the mixing bowl, it is most likely ready. However, just to be sure that it’s good to go I check if it passes the windowpane test. To do that, take some of the dough in your hands and start to slowly stretch it out. If it can get thin enough to where light passes through it before tearing, then it’s good to go! If not, keep kneading until it does!
cinnamon roll loaf q&a
how to store this loaf
Is there anything better than fresh bread? This loaf is definitely one that will taste best on the day that it is baked, but will keep well for 2 days in an airtight container at room temperature.
can I double this recipe?
Yes! I can’t emphasize using a kitchen scale enough for especially this recipe already, but if you are going to double or half the ingredients it is even more important that you weigh your ingredients. The dough is very hydrated and slight alterations can change the texture of the dough.
can I use instant yeast instead of active dry yeast?
Yes of course! Instead of mixing the heated milk, sugar, and yeast together, just pop all of the dough ingredients into your mixing bowl to start kneading. I do highly recommend refrigerating the dough overnight to make it easier to work with and more flavorful. However, if you are making the recipe all in one day, and using instant yeast, simply let the dough rest for just 10 minutes as the first rise, then proceed with the rest of the recipe.
can I make the dough ahead of time?
Yes, and I highly recommend it! Brioche dough is a very enriched dough that can be hard to work with when warm. Simply knead the dough together, cover it, and leave it to rise in the fridge overnight. When ready to make the loaf simply take the dough out of the fridge and proceed with the recipe.
my yeast mixture isn’t foaming, what should I do?
The mixture should start foaming around 5 minutes in. If it has not foamed after 10 minutes, the yeast is likely dead. You want to make sure that the milk temperature does not exceed 110°F / 43°C or it will kill the yeast. If you try it again and it still does not foam, the yeast you are using may be expired and you will want to purchase some more before proceeding.
why do you measure in grams?
My recipes are all written in grams because it is the most accurate way to bake. When you use a kitchen scale, you ensure that your baked goods turn out as close to the written recipe as possible. Plus, the cleanup is way easier when using a scale! I will provide standard cup measurements but please note that I have not tested the recipe using cup measurements and therefore can not guarantee your recipe will come out how mine did. Here is my favorite kitchen scale
a note on oven temperature.
Ovens vary and fluctuate in temperature. For example, I always have to set my oven to 330°F if I want it to bake at 350°F. If you love to bake like I do, I highly recommend getting an oven thermometer. They are super helpful for letting you know when your oven might be lying to you. I use this one.
tools and ingredients
You can find all my favorite tools and ingredients that I use on my Amazon Storefront page, here
did you make this cinnamon roll milk bread?
If you made this cinnamon roll milk bread I would love to see it and know your thoughts! Please leave a comment and review down below, and tag me on Instagram @freshbeanbakery. If you have any questions about the recipe I will gladly do my best to answer them in the comments below!
Cinnamon Roll Milk Bread
- 24 g all purpose flour (3 tbsp.)
- 100 g whole milk (3 ½ oz.)
- 90 g whole milk (3 oz.)
- 1 ½ tsp. active dry yeast
- 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
- 240 g all purpose flour (2 c.)
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 egg room temperature
- 56 g unsalted butter (4 tbsp.) room temperature
- 42 g unsalted butter (3 tbsp.)
- 110 g light brown sugar (½ c.)
- 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- ½ tbsp. dutch process cocoa powder *optional, for color
- 120 g powdered sugar (1 c.)
- 2 tbsp. milk
- ⅛ tsp. salt
Tangzhong / Dough
- In a microwave safe measuring cup, heat the milk to 100°F / 38°C. Whisk in the yeast and the sugar. Set aside until the mixture begins to foam. (~5 minutes)
- In the meantime, make the tangzhong. Add the 24g of flour and 100g milk to a microwave safe bowl. Whisk the two together, then microwave it for 30 seconds.
- Mix the mixture again, and microwave for another 30 seconds. The mixture should resemble a thick paste. If not, keep microwaving in 10 second intervals until it does.
- Once the yeast mixture starts to foam add all of the ingredients, including the tangzhong, into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment.
- Knead on medium speed for 10-20 minutes, until the dough is no longer sticking to the sides and bottom of the bowl and passes the windowpane test.
- At this point you can either continue making the recipe in one day, or leave it overnight. If you're making the loaf in one day, shape the dough into a ball in the bowl, cover the bowl with a towel and leave it to rise in a warm environment until doubled in size (~1 hr.) If you're leaving the dough overnight, shape the dough into a ball in the bowl then cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and leave it in the fridge overnight.
- Once you're ready to start shaping the rolls, make the cinnamon filling. In a small mixing bowl, melt the butter. Mix in the brown sugar, cinnamon, and cocoa (if using) until combined.
Shaping the Rolls
- Butter a 9×5" loaf pan and line it with parchment paper to form a hammock to lift the bread out of the pan later on.
- Once the dough has doubled in size (or after taking it out of the fridge after rising overnight), punch it down to remove excess air. Transfer the dough to a clean and lightly floured surface, then roll it out to a 14″ x 16″ (35 x 40 cm) rectangle.
- Spread the cinnamon filling over the dough.
- Start rolling up the dough into a log from the shorter (14") side. Use floss or a very sharp knife to slice the log into 24 small cinnamon rolls.
- Layer the cinnamon rolls into the loaf pan. I started out with placing some rolls standing up facing the sides of the pan, then placed some face up in the middle of the pan. After that, randomly but evenly distribute the rest of the rolls in the pan.
- Lightly cover the pan with a towel, and let the loaf rise in a warm environment until doubled in size (~30 minutes).
- Preheat the oven to 350°F / 175°C.
- I recomend placing the loaf pan on a flat baking sheet to catch any potential sugar spills in the oven. Bake the loaf for 35-40 minutes. Use a thermometer to check when the rolls are done cooking (190°F / 88°C.)
- Allow the cinnamon roll loaf to sit in the hot loaf pan for at least 10-20 minutes before transferring it out.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, milk, and salt until smooth.
- Pour the glaze over the warm loaf, then slice, serve, and enjoy!