Kanellängd is a Swedish cinnamon bread that is perfect for Christmas morning.  The buttery filling is flavored with cinnamon and cardamom, making a beautiful moist loaf that the whole family will love.  It’s a perfect dessert for the holidays!

Prep Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
sliced kanellangd
Christmas, Holiday Bread, Sweet Bread

Kanellängd: Swedish Cinnamon Bread

This post was originally published on November 1, 2017.

The first time I heard about kanellängd was in 2017.  This Swedish Christmas bread is 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.  🍊

sliced open loaf of kanellangd on a wire cooling rack

In fact, kanellängd is a variation of the Swedish cinnamon buns.  Instead of making separate buns, the dough and filling is shaped into a long loaf, which is sliced into pieces when served.  This unique shape saves time, and makes a very impressive presentation.  Here’s a short video from BBC Food about making kanellängd.

Can I freeze kanellängd?

Yes, kanellängd freezes very well after baking.  Place it in a zip-top freezer bag or airtight container and freeze for up to a month.

loaf of kanellangd on a wire cooling rack

Can kanellängd be made ahead?

Yes, you can make kanellängd ahead of time.  Make the dough the day before, and let it rise in the fridge overnight.  Shape the loaf the next day, let it rise, and bake as normal.  The rising will take longer, though, because the dough will be cold from the fridge.

loaf of kanellangd on a wire cooling rack

How to Make Kanellängd

Gather all the ingredients.

kanellangd ingredients

Stir together the milk and butter in a small saucepan until the butter has melted.  Let the mixture cool to 115 F.

melted butter and milk for kanellangd

Pour the flour into the bowl of a stand mixer and add the salt and yeast on opposite sides of the bowl, then mix each one in with your finger.

flour, salt, and yeast for kanellangd

Add the sugar and cardamom.

adding the cardamom and sugar to flour mixture for kanellangd

Pour in half of the milk mixture and mix to start forming a dough.

mixing the kanellangd dough

Keep slowly trickling in the milk as the mixer runs until a sticky dough has formed.

kanellangd dough before kneading

Switch attachments to the dough hook and knead until the dough cleans the bowl and passes the windowpane test (see instructions in the recipe below).

kneaded kanellangd dough

Cover the dough tightly with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

kanellangd dough before rising

The dough should look like this when it’s done rising.

kanellangd dough after rising

While the dough is rising, mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon, and cardamom.  In a separate bowl, beat the butter and vanilla extract together until blended.

brown sugar mixture and vanilla butter for kanellangd

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and punch it down all over to knock out the air.  Roll it into a 12 by 15-inch rectangle.

rolled out kanellangd dough on a cutting board

Evenly spread the vanilla butter over the surface of the dough.

spreading vanilla butter onto kanellangd dough

Pour the sugar mixture into a small sieve and scatter it evenly over the buttered dough.

sprinkling brown sugar mixture onto kanellangd dough

Roll up the dough from one of the long sides to create a log, pinching the seams and ends to seal.  Place on a rimmed, parchment-lined cookie sheet.

rolled up kanellangd ready to slice

Snip the loaf almost all the way through with kitchen shears every 3/4 inch.

cutting the kanellangd with kitchen shears

Pull out the slices from side to side and flatten them so the swirl shows.

kanellangd on cookie sheet before rising

Cover the dough with plastic and let it rise until noticeably puffy and the dough springs back when gently poked with a fingertip, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.  Trim away excess parchment paper from around the loaf.

unbaked kanellangd on a cookie sheet

Bake the loaf at 415 F for 25 minutes, until the loaf has an internal temperature of 190 F.  Cover with aluminum foil if it’s browning too fast.

loaf of kanellangd on a wire cooling rack

Once the loaf has cooled completely, brush it with orange marmalade, drizzle with icing, and sprinkle with orange zest.  Slice and enjoy!

loaf of kanellangd with maramalade and icing

Pro Tips

  • Use the windowpane test (instructions in recipe card) to see if the dough is kneaded enough.
  • Make the dough the night before and let it rise in the fridge overnight.  Shape the loaf and let it rise the next day, but it will take longer to rise because the dough is cold from the fridge.
  • Roll the dough into a tight log to get a good shape.
  • Make sure to put the kanellängd on a cookie sheet with sides.  The butter and sugar in the filling will melt and bubble during the baking, and if the pan has no sides, it can drip off the pan and cause an oven fire.
  • Is your kanellängd dense and doughy? The most probable cause is that the dough didn’t rise long enough.  Also, it could be underbaked, the oven may not have been hot enough, or it didn’t cool completely before serving.
  • Is your kanellängd dry? It’s overbaked.
  • Is your kanellängd burnt? Make sure to stack the cookie sheet on top of another cookie sheet to insulate the bottom of the kanellängd, and cover the top of the loaf with aluminum foil once it’s nicely browned.

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

Did you make this kanellängd?  Please leave a star rating below to share how you enjoyed it.

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sliced kanellangd

Kanellängd: Swedish Cinnamon Bread


  • Author: Emma
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 10 large slices
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Swedish

Description

Kanellängd is a Swedish cinnamon bread that is perfect for Christmas morning.  The buttery filling is flavored with cinnamon and cardamom, making a beautiful moist loaf that the whole family will love.  It’s a perfect dessert for the holidays!


Ingredients

For the Bread Dough

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter (75g)
  • 1 cup + 1 tablespoon whole milk
  • 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 granulated 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
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (42g)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Decoration

  • 1 large egg, for glazing
  • 4 tablespoons orange marmalade
  • 1/4 teaspoon clementine zest (from 1 clementine)
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar (55g)
  • 2 teaspoons orange juice

Instructions

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

  1. Stir the butter and milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until the butter has melted and the mixture is warm.  Let the mixture cool to 115 F.
  2. 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.  Add the ground cardamom and caster sugar and stir the whole mix together.
  3. Pour in the egg and half of the milk mixture.  Mix on low speed with the paddle attachment to start bringing the dough together.  Gradually add more milk as the mixer runs until a soft, somewhat sticky dough is formed and all of the flour is picked up from the bowl.
  4. Switch attachments to the dough hook and knead until the dough is smooth, not as sticky, and has cleaned the sides of the bowl.  The dough must also pass the windowpane test.  Break off a lump of dough and stretch it between your hands to form a windowpane shape.  If the dough stretches until translucent without breaking, it’s been kneaded enough; if it breaks, knead for a minute longer and check again.
  5. Shape into a ball, place in a lightly buttered bowl, and cover tightly with plastic wrap.  Place the dough in a cold oven and put a pan of boiling water on the shelf below the dough to create a warm, steamy atmosphere.  Let it rise until doubled in size, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

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 (20 minutes + 30 minutes proving time)

  1. Prepare a 11 by 17 inch rimmed cookie sheet by lining it with parchment paper.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knock it back by punching it down all over.  Roll out the dough thinly into a large rectangle, about 12 by 15 inches.  A larger rectangle means a larger loaf and more swirls.
  3. Spread the vanilla butter evenly all over the dough, then sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture evenly all over the butter with a small sieve.
  4. 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.  Pinch the seam underneath and the ends to seal, then place it on the prepared cookie sheet.
  5. 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.
  6. Put the cookie sheet inside a clean plastic garbage bag, tucking the excess under the pan.  Leave the dough to prove until the dough springs back when lightly pressed with a fingertip, about for 30-45 minutes.

Baking the Kanellängd (25 minutes + cooling)

  1. About 15 minutes before the bread is done proving, preheat the oven to 415 F.
  2. Brush the kanellängd all over with the beaten egg and trim off the excess parchment paper, as it will turn brown in the oven.  Stack the cookie sheet on top of another cookie sheet to insulate the bottom of the bread, helping it not to burn as quickly.
  3. Bake it in the middle of a 415 F oven for 25-30 minutes.  Watch the bread closely, and cover it with foil after 10 minutes if it’s getting too dark.  Let it cool completely on a wire rack.

Decorating the Kanellängd (15 minutes)

  1. Zest a clementine.
  2. 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.
  3. Brush the sieved marmalade all over the bread, then drizzle with the orange icing.  Sprinkle the clementine zest over the loaf.  Serve in large slices.

Notes

  • Make sure to put the kanellängd on a cookie sheet with sides.  The butter and sugar in the filling will melt and bubble 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.

Keywords: cinnamon, recipe

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