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!
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
Making the Dough (30 minutes + 1 hour proving time)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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)
- While the dough is proving, mix together the sugar, cinnamon, and cardamom in a medium bowl until thoroughly mixed, then set aside.
- Cream the butter and vanilla extract until all the vanilla is incorporated. Set aside.
Shaping the Kanellängd (20 minutes + 30 minutes proving time)
- Prepare a 11 by 17 inch rimmed cookie sheet by lining it with parchment paper.
- 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.
- Spread the vanilla butter evenly all over the dough, then sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture evenly all over the butter with a small sieve.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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)
- About 15 minutes before the bread is done proving, preheat the oven to 415 F.
- 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.
- 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)
- Zest a clementine.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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