Freshly baked cinnamon buns are one of the most indulgent baked goods that you can treat yourself to. But it takes time and effort to put together a batch of made-from-scratch cinnamon buns, and there are often times when you might want to treat yourself without waiting around. This Easy No-Knead Cinnamon Bun Bread is a recipe for a yeast bread that tastes just like cinnamon buns – completely with sweet cinnamon swirls in the dough – but can be made in a matter of minutes with no rolling required.
This bread starts with a yeast dough that can be mixed up in one bowl. It can be made with active dry or rapid rise yeast. The dough is quite wet and doesn’t require any kneading to get it to come together – in fact, you can easily mix it up by hand using only a spatula. Once the dough is mixed up, transfer it to a baking dish and allow it to rest for a few minutes before adding the cinnamon bun topping.
The topping for this bread is basically the same mixture that you would use as a filling in a more traditional cinnamon bun. It is a mixture of butter, brown sugar and cinnamon that is stirred together until it is moist and uniform. The mixture is sprinkled evenly on top of the rested dough and pressed in with your fingertips. This method is the same one that I use to add “dimples” to focaccia bread: pushing your fingertips firmly down into the dough to make indentations. In this recipe, it pushes the filling into the dough, which creates pockets and swirls when the bread bakes.
While the bread is rested for a short time during the preparation process, it doesn’t need to rise until it is doubled in size. It will actually rise a bit more in the oven as it starts to bake! The bread will spring back when pressed at the end of the baking time and the cinnamon-sugar mixture will be bubbling deliciously around the edges of the pan. Allow the bread to cool for at least 30 minutes before adding a vanilla drizzle and cutting it up to serve. The bread is at its best the day it is baked, but leftovers can be reheated the next day, as well.
This simple recipe doesn’t require any previous baking experience, so don’t be afraid to get your hands in the dough – minimally, of course! – and give this delicious cinnamon bun bread a try!
Easy No-Knead Cinnamon Bun Bread
2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
4 tsp active dry or rapid rise yeast
2/3 cup warm milk (100-110F; low fat is fine)
4 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
4 tbsp butter, room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup powdered sugar
1-2 tbsp milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Lightly grease an 8×8-inch square baking pan.
In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar and salt. Dissolve the yeast in a measuring cup filled with the warmed milk and allow it to sit for 5 minutes, until slightly foamy. Then stir milk mixture, vegetable oil, vanilla extract and egg into the flour mixture. Mix well, until very smooth. Transfer the dough (it will be a very soft dough) into prepared pan, cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 15 minutes.
While the dough rests, prepare the filling. Mix together butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl using a fork or spatula until all the butter has been incorporated into the sugar and mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle evenly on top of rested dough and press the mixture down into the dough with your fingertips. You do not need to try to stir in the topping, but leave the dough with deep “dimples” all over the surface. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 15 more minutes
Preheat oven to 350F. Bake for about 30 minutes, until bread is lightly browned at the edges and the center of the bread springs back when lightly pressed. The sugar mixture on top may still be bubbling.
Cool for at least 30 minutes before whisking the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla together to form an icing and drizzling it onto the bread.
Serve warm or at room temperature.