This easy recipe for kanellängd, a Swedish cinnamon bread, will be a family favorite at Christmas breakfast.   You won’t need a Kitchen Aid or breadmaker to make this sweet treat from Sweden.  Getting all those lovely swirls is easier than it looks!

Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
closeup of a loaf of Swedish cinnamon bread called kanellängd with greenery and red berries
Christmas, Holiday Bread, Sweet Bread

Kanellängd: Swedish Cinnamon Bread

Until earlier this year, I had never heard of kanellängd!  It’s a Swedish Christmas bread, pronounced “kin-a-link,” and its name means “cinnamon length.”  That’s an apt description of this flavorful cinnamon bread!  The glaze of sieved marmalade, drizzle of orange icing, and sprinkle of clementine zest provides a refreshing hint of orange to this delicious loaf.  🍊

a loaf of Swedish cinnamon bread, called kanellängd, drizzled with icing

The kanellängd’s unique shape is really what I like most about it.  Although it looks challenging, it’s really quite simple; not much harder than making cinnamon buns!  If you don’t have a pair of kitchen scissors on hand, just use a sharp knife to cut the dough.  Pull the slices out, alternating them from side to side, then flatten slightly with your hands.

closeup of Swedish cinnamon bread, called kanellängd, with greenery and red berries

This bread will fill your house with a delicious aroma as it bakes!  Just be careful to bake it on a cookie sheet with sides.  😉

Looking for more delicious sweet bread recipes?  You’ll want to give these ones a try.

Pulla, Finnish cardamom bread, with a cup of tea and butter St. Lucia bun on a white plate with candle and greenery A loaf of challah bread being torn apart

Pulla: Finnish Cardamom Bread: this soft and fluffy sweet bread is a Finnish favorite.

St. Lucia Buns: delightful saffron buns traditionally served in December.

How to Make Easy Challah Bread: this Jewish Sabbath bread is sure to become a family favorite.

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closeup of a loaf of Swedish cinnamon bread called kanellängd with greenery and red berries

Kanellängd: Swedish Cinnamon Bread


  • Author: Emma
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 10 large slices

Description

This easy recipe for kanellängd, a Swedish cinnamon bread, will be a family favorite at Christmas breakfast.   You won’t need a Kitchen Aid or breadmaker to make this sweet treat from Sweden.  Getting all those lovely swirls is easier than it looks!


Ingredients

For the Bread Dough

  • 5 1/4 tablespoons unsalted butter (75g)
  • 1 cup whole milk (250 ml)
  • 3 3/4 cups bread flour (450g)
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons fast-action yeast (7g)
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt (5g)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar (50g)
  • 1 large egg

For the Filling

  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed (100g)
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 5 1/4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (75g)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Decoration

  • 4 tablespoons orange marmalade
  • Zest of 1 clementine
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar (113g)
  • about 1 tablespoon orange juice

Instructions

Making the Dough (30 minutes + 1 hour proving time)

  1. In a small saucepan, stir the butter and milk together over medium heat until the butter has melted and the mixture is warm.  Pour into a glass measuring cup with a spout and measure its temperature.  It should be between 110-115 F.
  2. Crack the egg into a small bowl and beat briefly with a fork until blended.
  3. Place the flour in a large mixing bowl.  Add the salt and yeast on opposite sides of the bowl, stirring in each with your finger.
  4. Add the ground cardamom and caster sugar and stir the whole mix together.
  5. Pour in half of the egg, reserving the other half for later.  Add three-quarters of the milk mixture and start stirring by hand to bring the dough together.  Gradually add more milk and work the dough with your hands until a soft, somewhat sticky dough is formed and all of the flour is picked up from the bowl.
  6. Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and knead for 10-12 minutes, until the dough is silky smooth, stretchy, and no longer sticking to your hands or the work surface.
  7. Shape into a ball, place in a lightly oiled bowl, and cover tightly with plastic wrap.  Let the dough prove in a cold oven for about 1 hour, until doubled in size.  Put a pan of boiling water in the oven to create a warm, steamy atmosphere for the dough.

Preparing the Filling (10 minutes)

  1. While the dough is proving, mix together the sugar, cinnamon, and cardamom in a medium bowl until thoroughly mixed, then set aside.
  2. Cream the butter and vanilla extract until all the vanilla is incorporated.  Set aside.

Shaping the Kanellängd (30 minutes + 20 minutes proving time)

  1. Prepare a large, rimmed cookie sheet by lining it with parchment paper.
  2. Once the dough has proved, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knock it back by punching it down all over.
  3. Roll out the dough thinly into a large rectangle, at least 10″ by 14″.  The larger and thinner the dough is, the more swirly the bread will be.
  4. With a long edge of the dough towards you, stick the opposite long side of the dough onto the work surface by pushing down with your thumb.
  5. Spread the vanilla butter evenly all over the dough, then sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture evenly all over the butter with a small sieve.
  6. Starting with the long edge closest to you, roll up the dough very tightly.  Pull the roll towards you as you go to stretch the dough and create a taut roll.  Carefully pick up the roll and put it on the prepared cookie sheet.
  7. Using a sharp, clean pair of kitchen scissors, snip the dough every 3/4 of an inch, cutting almost all the way through.  Pull out the slices, alternating sides.  Flatten the slices slightly.
  8. Put the cookie sheet inside a clean plastic garbage bag, tucking the excess under the pan.  Leave the dough to prove for 20-25 minutes, until the dough springs back when lightly pressed with a fingertip.

Baking the Kanellängd (about 25 minutes)

  1. About 15 minutes before the bread is done proving, preheat the oven to 425 F.
  2. Brush the kanellängd all over with the reserved beaten egg.
  3. Bake in the middle of a 425 F oven for 20-25 minutes.  Watch the bread closely, and cover it with foil after 10 minutes if it’s getting too dark.
  4. Once baked, let the kanellängd cool on a wire rack.

Decorating the Kanellängd (15 minutes)

  1. Over medium heat, warm the marmalade in a small saucepan until melted, stirring frequently.  Push the marmalade through a sieve set over a small bowl to remove the lumps of orange peel.
  2. Zest a clementine.
  3. Sift the powdered sugar into a medium bowl and stir in enough orange juice to make a pourable icing.  Spoon the icing into a corner of a plastic sandwich bag, twist the top, and snip off the corner to make a piping bag.
  4. Brush the sieved marmalade all over the bread, then drizzle with the orange icing.  Sprinkle the clementine zest over the loaf.
  5. Serve in large slices.

Notes

  • Make sure to put the kanellängd on a cookie sheet with sides.  The butter in the filling can melt during the baking, and if the pan has no sides, it can drip off the pan and cause an oven fire.
  • Leftover kanellängd freezes very well.

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