Cinnamon Swirl French Toast


It is Sunday morning, the sun is shining, the snow is finally melting and I’m as happy as could be! Seems the perfect time to have a lavish, albeit easy, breakfast. Last night I took out my bucket of brioche dough, rolled in some cinnamon sugar and baked a gorgeous swirly bread. This morning I sliced it, soaked it in custard and made it into sublime French toast. Nothing better than that and with a bucket of dough on hand it is quick and easy.

Here are some other great breakfast ideas from our books/website:

Bacon & Egg in Toast

Homemade English Muffins

Aunt Melissa’s Granola

Almond Bear Claws

Fresh Fruit “Muffins”

Apricot Pastry

Breakfast Pizza

Cinnamon Swirl Bread:

2 pounds of Brioche dough

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

egg wash (one egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water)

For French Toast:

6 eggs

1 cup 1/2 & 1/2

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

pinch salt

To make the Cinnamon Swirl Bread:

cinnamon toast

Start with 2 pounds of brioche dough (page 189) or any other dough that you love. Form it into a ball to create a smooth surface.

cinnamon toast

Roll the dough with a rolling pin till it’s about 1/8″ thick.


Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Spread 1/3 of the cinnamon sugar over the surface of the dough. If you want more cinnamon or sugar, go for it, but save some for sprinkling on top of the cooking French Toast! If you want to add raisins here is a post on fabulous Raisin Bread.


Starting at the long end of the rectangle roll the dough,

cinnamon toast

pinch the seam shut.

cinnamon toast

Place in a well greased non-stick 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 Loaf Pan. Allow to rest for about 1 hour and 45 minutes, or until the dough no longer feels chilled.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

cinnamon toast

Paint the risen dough with egg wash using a Pastry Brush and dust with sugar before baking.

cinnamon toast

Bake for about 45-50 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes in the pan and then remove the bread to finish cooling.


Cut the loaf into six 1/2 inch slices and place into a shallow, flat dish. The dish needs to allow the bread to sit flat so it can soak up the custard.


Whisk the custard together in a bowl and then pour over the sliced bread.


Flip the bread over a few times to make sure that it is soaking up all the custard. You may have to soak the bread in batches if your dish is not large enough to hold it all at once.


I like to cook mine at 275 degrees on my new 22-Inch Jumbo Electric Griddle, so I can do many slices at once. Right before you flip the toast over to cook the other side, sprinkle it with more of the cinnamon sugar and it will caramelize as it cooks. Depending on how thick your slices are and how much custard they absorbed they will take between 8-12 minutes to cook. Be sure to cut a small hole in the center and press the toast to see if any wet custard comes out. If it is still wet then cook for a few more minutes.


Slather in butter and maple syrup or what ever you fancy, Enjoy!

Note: is reader supported. When you buy through links on the site, BreadIn5 LLC earns commissions.

116 thoughts to “Cinnamon Swirl French Toast”

    1. Hi Miss Ra’chel,

      No raisins in this recipe so you should love it. I left them out because my son is in a no-raisin phase! 😉

      Thanks, Zoë

  1. The cinnamon bread slices look perfectly beautiful! You must have rolled the cinnamon dough from both sides when you formed your loaf…My plain toast (homemade) breakfast looks pretty boring now!

    1. Hi Dianne,

      I rolled up the dough and then folded the ends under to form the loaf with the pretty swirl. I admit it was a happy accident! 🙂

      Thanks, Zoë

  2. Hi Zoe–I have a basic question I haven’t found anywhere (sorry if I missed). If you are planning to put the dough right in the fridge and not use for a couple of days, how important is the 2 hr. room temp rise. Can I just let it rise in the fridge? Or do I always need the 2 hr room temp rise no matter when I want to first use the dough

    1. Lisa: If you won’t be using it for a while, you can skip the two hour rise and do a pure cold rise. It might take up to 48 hours if you don’t start with lukewarm water. But if you start with lukewarm, should go fine overnight. Jeff

  3. Gorgeous loaf! Remember that double swirl thang! Cinnamon raisin bread is Himself’s flavorite. Me, I’d be smearing apricot butter on it instead of syrup.

  4. Gorgeous! I made cinnamon swirl bread with the boule dough, but left it free form. Next time, I will use a loaf pan – LOVE IT :o)

  5. Do you think that you could do this same things with the GF brioche? I would really love to make this, but I am pretty much stuck with the GF loaves! 🙂

    1. Michelle: Absolutely. Only risk is that it might be hard to handle and result may be denser than this. Jeff

  6. Made your delicious Aunt Melissa’s Granola this afternoon. Used Craisins with orange flavoring along with raisins. Yummy. Also, made the Milk and Honey Raisin Bread….DELICIOUS!! Will look forward to making the Cinnamon Swirl Bread soon.

  7. I just made your Cinnamon Swirl Bread but instead of the cinnamon I used one of my berry jams. It turned out beautiful and I’d like to post pictures, your recipe (with credit), and a link to your website but wanted to get your permission first.

    1. Kristen: Take a look under the FAQs tab, there’s a question on there about copyright etc– we have to be a bit careful. Jeff

  8. Ooooo… This makes me want to conquer my fear of brioche and give it a go! We all LOVE French toast in our house – all 3 of my kids will chow down on it. And this recipe looks DIVINE! Thanks, Zoe!

  9. Maybe I am missing it, but I don’t see what temperature I should bake this. Is it 350? Thanks, can’t wait to try it.

  10. Hi,

    I love the brioche dough recipe and have used it several times but I was wondering if you have a lighter less bready type of pastry dough you can post. Or would you consider eventually writing a book focused on pastry dough and pastry. Maybe Zoe has done this already? Thanks – Ellen

    1. Hi Ellen,

      Eventually I would like to do a book dedicated to pastry, but Jeff and I have a lot more to say together before then! 😉 All of the doughs we have in the book are going to be bready, but the babka dough is quite rich and lovely. Be sure to check our error page before making it if you have an older copy of the book.

      What kind of dough were you hoping for?

      Thanks and enjoy! Zoë

  11. I’m having so much fun baking from your books. Thank you. I recently made Aunt Melissa’s granola and the granola bread. They were both delicious! As a teenager I babysat for a family that always had a huge container of homemade granola in the cupboard. I ate it by the handful after the kids had gone to bed. It had a unique flavor that I had never been able to replicate, until making your recipe. I think the secret is the sesame seeds. Awesome.

    1. Hi Michele,

      Thank you for the note, I’m so thrilled that you found our recipe and it reminded you of the granola you enjoyed so much!

      Happy baking! Zoë

  12. wow!
    I wish I had seen the fold over trick for the double swirl earlier! I, literally, just made the Apple Strudel bread from HBin5 but just kind of unceremoniously crammed it in the pan. It is currently resting on my counter. In my defense I had a toddler climbing on my work table (via chair) and a preschooler doing her darndest to pick of bits of dough and fallen filling. Needless to say, I was under the gun. They both like to help, which is wonderful, but it gets a little hairy, er doughy, at times. Love it. 🙂

    I think this beautiful cinnamon swirl is coming for our next dough ball out of this batch. YUM!

    Also, a quick thank you for making so many of your recipes dairy free or easy to modify. We love having treats and having something that is ready to go is wonderful!

    1. Thank you Christina,

      I think it is marvelous that you are baking with your kids! I am sure they will always remember it.

      Enjoy, Zoë

  13. OK….how’d you get the double swirl?

    (’cause the photo shown would result in only the “standard” swirl, or so it would seem to me)

    Many thanks!

    1. Hi Helen,

      I stretched the log and folded the ends of the dough under itself. It is essentially a happy accident! 😉

      Thanks, Zoë

  14. Hi! I just bought the book and I’m going to dive right in, but after reading through it, there was one thing I was surprised I didn’t see. Is there a way to use any of your doughs to make pancakes or waffles? I’m trying to eat healthier and have given these up until I can find a good, home-made, healthy way to make them. Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Jacki,

      I have actually used the brioche dough rolled thin in my waffle maker. All of our doughs are yeasted breads and they are typically not used for pancakes and waffles. You can make other breakfast treats as we show in this post.

      Thanks and enjoy! Zoë

  15. Jeff, Thanks for the info from the FAQ section. Having my own jam company I completely understand about the copyright and your intellectual property.

    I’m going to post the picture I took this morning of the berry swirl with a link to your website for the rest of the information. The loaf turned out beautifully and even though I shouldn’t eat wheat I simply couldn’t help myself and I was not disappointed. It was absolute heaven!

    You and Zoe are absolutely amazing and I can’t wait to try your other recipes.


    1. Kristen: Thanks so much for the kind words. One other place you can post pictures is on the Flickr site (may not be relevant for you), then you can paste the link here on this site (or anywhere you want), it’s on the FAQs page under the question “Photographs: Can I post pictures to this website?” Jeff

  16. Thanks so much for your books and amazing blog.

    Lately, my bread isn’t as perfect as before. The bottom rim (the ‘corners’?) right above where the bread touches the pizza stone, does not have a thick crust. The top still has a crust but that rim is soft and thin. I haven’t figured out whether this happens after cooling or before.

    Am I doing something wrong when I cloche or should I bake longer? Should I flatten the bottom more so more bread touches the stone?

    Thanks so much.

    1. Sarah: You’re saying that your result has changed, so we need to figure out what you’re doing differently. Ingredients? Resting time? Ambient temperature while the formed loaf rests? Is your oven temp suddenly off? Are you cloaking differently? Flattening the bottom won’t work. It almost sounds like your dough is suddenly drier and isn’t conforming well. Is that possible? Different flour (higher protein) would do that. Jeff

  17. I had some leftover Brioche dough this weekend after a double batch of awesome sticky buns.. so I rolled it out and spread 1/3 of it with nutella. Then I just rolled it up, sealed it and cut it into 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces. Placed each round into a greased muffin tin and BAM awesome easy chocolate hazelnut swirl buns! A little icing on top and this was a great suprise for my kids! It was easy and good! Try it!

  18. Oh my, that looks amazing! I have two questions. First, can I use the whole wheat brioche? Second, how do you think half a baked loaf would fare in the freezer for a while? There’s only 2 of us here, and while we could easily eat an entire 2-pound loaf quite happily, we probably shouldn’t. 😉

    1. Kimberly: Yes, this will work with whole wheat brioche, I just used some this weekend to demonstrate something similar to a class. Don’t skimp on the rising time; whole wheat can be denser, especially when manipulated after the initial rise this way.

      Freezing is OK, just wrap it well before it goes in. The sooner you use it (hopefully within two weeks), the less likely it’ll pick up freezer odors. Also, consider smaller loaf pans, like these on Amazon, which I love:“>Chicago Metallic Professional Mini Loaf Pan, Set of 4<img src=”″ width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;

  19. Jeff,
    Thanks. I’ll have to check the oven temp. I killed my oven thermometer last time I cleaned the oven and accidently left it inside. Also, I threw in a small amount of spelt flour in my last batch of dough and perhaps that changed the moisture content.

    Thanks so much for the reply.

  20. Will this work with other doughs? I have the buttermilk dough in the fridge… It sounds like it would be a good combination to me, but maybe you need an enriched dough. BTW, just made fresh pita for lunch, yummy!

  21. Hi there, I am making the whole grain bagels my question is I don’t have enough room on my stone to bake all the bagels at one time. is it alright to have the already boiled bagels sitting on my pizza peel waiting for their turn to bake. Will they turn out alright? By the way I love your books!

    1. Hi Deb,

      It may be best to stagger the boiling so that they don’t sit too long and get overly soggy. My fear is that they will stick to the pizza peel as they wait their turn.

      Thanks! Zoë

  22. My Challah comes out delicious but very homely. The ropes just separate and “burst”. What might I be doing wrong?

    1. Levana: That’s the trade-off with wet dough. You get the convenience but it’s not quite as a beautiful a Challah. I don’t think you’re doing anything wrong. Jeff

  23. Hi Jeff and Zoe,
    I have been reading and baking from your second non-stop since I got it from B&N. Everything keeps getting better and better. Er, a few questions though- My sister absolutely loves those Parker House yeast rolls but can never seem to not finish the entire tray. Is there any way to make yeast rolls healthier. Your second book is THE BOMB! Also, is there anyway I can avoid the rise prior to baking. Like can I shape the dough in the morning pop it in the fridge and bake it that night, or must I wait 90 minutes?

    1. Hi John,

      There are instructions for doing the refrigerator rise on page 48 of HBin5, which may work better for your schedule.

      The Parker House Rolls are a softer texture and crust, so I would use the whole wheat brioche dough to create a healthier version. Be sure to check the error page making the brioche, since we found some errors in the ingredients list.

      Thanks and enjoy all the bread! Zoë

  24. This is my first attempt at Brioche. It is too wet for me to handle. How long is it supposed to chill for?
    Thanks for the info.

  25. Howdy!
    I was actually coming in to ask the same thing as Ashley, but mine was the Whole Wheat Brioche form HBin5.

    My dough was also too wet and I chilled it for nearly 18 hours. It tasted great, but man I had an awful time trying to shape it into a ball and had to use tons of flour to roll it. I am not sure if I just added too much water or what happened.

    1. Christina: Assuming you’re sure that you used all the right measurements, we sometimes never figure out why someone gets wetter results than we do. Flours differ, so do other ingredients, and the best thing to do is simply to use a quarter-cup more flour next time. I’m guessing you’ll be happy with the result. Jeff

  26. Thanks Zoe,

    I’ll definitely try the Babka. As far as what type of pastry dough, I was looking for something a bit more moist, a bit softer in texture, just a little less bready. I definitely look forward to the day you write the pastry book! You’ve got a fan for life here.

    1. Rae: Go to “Search Site” near the top of our website, and type in “hot cross buns.” It’s the first to come up. Jeff

  27. I made it with the whole wheat brioche dough last night. I let it rise an extra half hour since it was still a bit chilly. Yum yum yum! My cinnamon swirl wasn’t quite as pretty but it tasted fantastic. We used local honey, and next time will use local eggs.

    1. Susan: Longer rest is often a nice thing, especially when ambient or refrigerator temperature is known to be low. Jeff

  28. Hi Jeff & Zoe– I have a question about the Tapenade Bread in the Healthy Breads book. Does the olive tapenade that you make get mixed in with the dough? It says it makes 1-2 cups of tapenade, but I don’t see a specific direction for how it gets incorporated. Am I being too picky and you just add the whole batch to your dough bucket? I could see rolling out a rectangle, slathering it with tapenade, and then rolling up like a cinnamon bread.
    I am having such a good time trying the many varieties of doughs– love the Betsy’s Oatmeal Seed Bread and the Olive Spelt bread, too. Also the European Peasant dough from 1st book.
    Thanks for looking into this.
    –Lois Parker, Minneapolis

    1. Hi Lois,

      Do you mean the Tapenade Bread on page 55 of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day? If so, the amount of Tapenade is listed in with The Dough ingredients. Use 1 cup in the dough. But, your idea of rolling it in is a great way to incorporate the Tapenade.

      Enjoy, Zoë

  29. I have a different brioche-dough recipe related question…actually, I guess it’s a chocolate ganache question. I want to make the chocolate ganache brioche recipe from the first book, but am loath to use the corn syrup listed in the ingredients…can I substitute honey? Or something else? Thanks! I’ve been enjoying trying all the savory recipes in the book and am excited to try the sweeter side…

  30. Oh your swirls look so perfect, I can never get mine to turn out right they always end up blending together. Oh well here I go to try again, wish me luck!

    1. Hi Patty,

      I stretched the log a bit longer and folded the two ends all the way under the loaf, it essentially had three layers. I’ll take a picture of that step next time!

      Thanks, Zoë

  31. I just wanted to send you a note that I’ve made the cinnamon bread twice since you posted this and my family LOVES it! I can’t believe how easy it is to do. I used to buy cinnamon bread for $4 a loaf! Thank you for saving us money.

  32. I’ve heard about about your book all over the internet and plan on looking at it (and maybe buying it) today. I’d love to make a good cinnamon bread like this one but I cannot have any dairy products in my diet because my nursing infant is extremely allergic to it. Do you think substituting rice milk for milk and dairy free margarine for butter will work in your recipes? Or do you have another suggestion that would work and taste better?

    1. JoAnn: The taste will change, but should be OK, so long as the liquid-solid-fat ratios stay the same. Let us know how it turns out . Jeff

  33. I tried this out using the Soft American Style White Bread from the first book. That turned out super yummy as well! We didn’t end up making French toast, but instead just sliced it up, popped it in the toaster, added some jam… YUMMY!

  34. have you ever thought of making “monkey bread” with a plain dough? some recipes call for butterscotch pudding and some just for butter, cinnamon and sugar. I think I will try it!

  35. Hi Zoe and Jeff,
    Do you know if I can use the refrigerator-rise trick (HBin5, pg. 48) to make cinnamon raisin bread from whole wheat brioche? Will it work since the bread will rise and bake in bread pans?

    I used the fridge trick with white olive oil bread yesterday and it turned out fabulous. You’re the best. Thank you.

  36. Hi,

    Love baking from your books!!! I do have a special question. Since we love baking from your recipies, but my husband has fibermyalgia, gluten-free breads are the best for him. Do you have any recipies that are gluten free or book about gluten free bread.

    Advice or response would be greatly appreciated!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.