Kanelfläta: Swedish Cinnamon Braid

This is the first time I put my hands (and brain and heart) at Kanelfläta, a coffee cake which is a staple of Swedish baking. In Sweden there is no fika (afternoon coffee break) without its fikabröd, possibly coming from a good bakery. One can actually even get some pretty decent kanelfläta at supermarkets, if they have a freshly baked goods section. Many buy industrially produced kanelfläta, too, which I honestly try to avoid, but, oh well, even that can go great with coffee if you are, for instance, having an extemporary picnic to get as much as possible of the weak Swedish sun.

I always thought it was extremely difficult to make this sweet bread at home, with its regular ear-of-wheat shape, but it really wasn’t that difficult at all (scroll down for the step-by-step method).

The recipe I am going to give is for two loaves and I felt already like a proff by the time I shaped the second loaf (it is really that easy!). I used fresh yeast rather than sourdough because I wanted an easy dough to practice with shaping before venturing in converting the typical recipe (nowadays based on commercial yeast) into my dear sourdough formulae.

I also thought that, with the cute swirl created by the cinnamon filling, this sweet bread would have made a nice addition to the monthly collection of baked goods for Bread Baking Day, this time hosted by C Mom Cook, who has chosen swirly bread as the August’s theme. Thank you C mom, this was fun!


you need

dough:  50 g fresh yeast (or 20 g dry yeast), 150 g butter, 600 g milk, 75 g sugar (I used unrefined organic), 1 teaspoon ground cardamom, 840-900 g all-purpose flour (I used 50% organic stone-ground bread flour and 50% organic stone-ground all-purpose), 2 pinches of marine salt.

filling: 75 g butter, 75 g sugar (I used unrefined organic), 2 tablespoon ground cinnamon, 2 tablespoon powdered vanilla sugar.

finish: 1 egg, pearl sugar. NOTE: if you cannot find pearl sugar simply omit it and eventually brush the finished loaf with melted butter and sprinkle with granulated sugar.

how to

Dissolve the yeast in the milk and let stay for 5 minutes. Add all the other dough ingredients except for the butter. Knead by machine for 5 minutes at low speed (or 10 minutes by hand). Let rest for 20 minutes, covered. Add the butter little by little and knead at slightly higher speed for 5-8 minutes (about 10-12 minutes by hand) or until you see a medium gluten development. Let rest covered for about 45 minutes or until the dough has doubled its size (with dry yeast this can go very fast). Prepare the filling by adding the dry ingredients to the slightly softened butter (not liquid!). Place the dough on a floured working surface and divide in two parts. Cover the one you are not using right away. Directly on the parchment paper you will use to bake the bread (it is practical to spread some butter on the working surface so the paper will adhere to it), work quickly the first part of dough and make into a rectangle. Spread the filling lenghtwise, in the center of the rectangle.

With a dough cutter or a knife, make cuts sideways, so to form several stripes all around the filling. Gently fold each stripe over the cinnamon filling, alternating between right and left stripes, so to create a flattened braid.

This was really a lot of fun. The picture below is from the second braid (one can see that it is cut in a more regular fashion compared to the first one – pictures above).

Continue until the braid is completely folded and gently seal the ends. Repeat the same steps with the other piece of dough. Now prepare the egg wash by whipping the egg with a little milk or water, brush the egg wash over the braid and sprinkle with pearl sugar (if you have it, otherwise is fine to omit it – see note above). This can also be done just before baking. Let rest covered (easiest is to place the baking dish with the braid directly in a large plastic bag)for 1/2 hour or until you observe a rise.

Bake at 200 degrees (Celsius, 392 Fahrenheit) for 15-20 minutes, being careful not to brown the bread too much.

The finished loaf looks like a wheat ear, doesn’t it?

The crumb was extremely soft and moist. Butter is good for you (or at least does very good to sweet breads).

CONSIDERATIONS: After making this bread I feel like a true Swede. Ok, maybe I am taking too far the easy accomplishment of mastering a local loaf. But still… it has been a very happy baking. And the recipe makes so much cake that we did not have to fight over the last bite (for once). Instead, we could actually fill the freezer with cut slices of the bread, which taste just like freshly baked if only reheated and served with a favorite source of caffeine. Time for another one?

CONSIDERAZIONI: Mi sono divertita moltissimo a imparare a fare questo pane dolce svedese. Le dosi fanno due spigone giganti che possono essere mangiare nel giro di due giorni (se avete taaanti amici o una grande famiglia di golosoni). Oppure, se affettate e congelate presto, possono conservare la propria fragranza per settimane (anche mesi) e le fette sono meravigliose servite riscaldate con caffe o the’. Provare per credere.

This bread will participate to the weekly bread collection yeastspotting and to the monthly collection bread baking day.

Bread Baking Day #53 - Swirly Bread (last day of submission September 1st, 2012)

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  1. This Swedish cake sounds very fun to do! You’ve got a great result (I love the picture of the freshly baked Cinamon Braid). The autumn seems to be already started here in London, the kids and I are very often at home (oh mamma mia!), so I’ll try to make this Scandinavian delicacy, I’m sure my husband (Danish) will appreciate the effort.

  2. Looks delicious! Is pearl sugar a Swedish thing? Any suggestions for substituting it?

    • hi Anne, thank you for the visit. you are right, pearl sugar (perlsocker) seems to be a Scandinavian thing. I think you could simply omit it and eventually brush a little butter and sprinkle with granulated sugar after the baking.

  3. Really, you ought to bake sweet things more often… this looks amazing, and I can only imagine what it tastes like. Well, actually, I am not going to imagine it, I’ll just have to make it for myself! I have no excuse since I can freeze it :-)

  4. Gorgeous! I wish I had some for breakfast. I’ve had my eye on a very similar cardamon-scented, cinnamon-filled recipe for Kanelbullar (Swedish cinnamon rolls), and after seeing this braid now I HAVE to make them!

  5. What a beautifully made swedish braid. It looks like it was prepared by a Swede to me. Job well done.

  6. This is a lovely loaf, Barbara, and the photos are stunning! You must be a very poised and proficient baker indeed to be able to pause whatever what you are doing, including something as complex as weaving dough into a braid, and take such perfect shots! The story brought me back to long ago family evening teas in Denmark (my mother-in-law was half-Danish and we used to spend part of each summer there every year when the kids were little…) Thank you!

  7. Looks delicious! I would love to try it!

  8. Oh my word. BEAUTIFUL! I love Kanelfläta but would have never ever tried making it before now. Your pictures really help. I thought a shape like that would be extremely difficult but you make it look so simple. :) You are most definitely the bread master. And amazing pictures as well.

    • you gals are all so nice. thank you for supporting my baking :) and the bread was truly as easy as it looks in the tutorial. no master baker needed (but you are one anyway).

  9. bellissima! io l’ho fatta salata, è bella da vedersi, la tua è perfetta! mi piace il ripieno! adoro la cannella! pensavo fosse cioccolato! un dolce tradizionale davvero profumato! salvo la ricetta! devo provare! :D ciao cara!

  10. That looks divine. I’m thinking about making kanelbullar since days, but maybe I will make your kanelflata instead!

  11. This has turned out so perfect!

  12. I am so going to try this as soon as I find the pearl sugar. It’s bookmarked. Thank you so much for this recipe!!!

  13. AnnaMagnani says:

    This looks wonderful. Congratulations! I’ve seen many sweet breads with braided tops, but never one with a cinnamon filling, which I always have the ingredients for. Yum! I’m going to make it this morning. I will use coarse sugar on top.

    • thank you Anna! coarse sugar on top will do just fine! let me know how you like it if you make this braid. ciao

      • AnnaMagnani says:

        I made this right away and it’s so beautiful! I might not have made this, but you made it sound easy. Thanks, Barbara.
        The bottom was very pale, so when it was almost cool I popped it back in the oven, on parchment, onto my baking stone. Five minutes browned the bottom perfectly, and since it was cool the top did not brown any further.

        • Anna, how happy you made me with your comment!
          things like this, and enthusiast people like you, are the exact reason why I blog. thank you so much for letting me know about this successful baking experience (feel free to send pictures!). really smart the oven trick, going to use it next time a bread or cake cooks unevenly.

  14. Ana Rocha says:

    I’m in love with home bread baking (I’m a beginner)… And this recipe is great and beautiful! In Portugal this sweet bread would be a sucess, we (portuguese) love cinnamon. I’m your fan now!!

    • Ana, thank you so much for stopping by and for all your nice words. did not know about Portugal and cinnamon, any particular dish in which is generally used? Portugal has always attracted me, even if I still did not manage to visit your beautiful country. so nice of you to be following my blog. looking forward to new inputs from you (and let me know if you try this fläta, is really easy!). ciao

  15. Wow, so gorgeous! I would love a slice or two now! That is a great idea to save some in the freezer, too. I always have that intention, but then always end up eating it all! :)

    • eheh, the doses for this made so much cake that it would have been impossible for one person to eat it at once. even for me :) thank you for stopping by!

  16. What a gorgeous braid and absolutely fantastic looking bread! It’s the perfect swirly bread! :) I am so glad you participated, and I love this recipe – I can’t wait to give it a try!

    • hi Shelley, you make me so happy with this comment! I was indeed a little doubtful about calling this a swirly bread, so nice you think it actually is! and thank you so much for stopping by, hope you try this bread, is really addictive.

  17. Hello

    this is a wonderful braid and I will definitely try my luck with this, maybe with a sligthly different filling – not being bound to swedish tradition (g) . So, thanks a lot from Germany

  18. Help my nana was 100% Swedish and I love Swedish braid how do I convert this recipie to American baking? Ie cups , tea table spoon ?

  19. L’ho fatto questa mattina. E’ buonissimo! Io poi sono cinnamon addicted…..

  20. Domani pubblico la ricetta ;) ho inserito anche una tuo foto mettendoci i credits ovviamente

  21. It looks amazing. ..it is in the oven right now. …


  1. [...] קפה כלשהי, עוגה שהיא קצת לחם. את זה למדתי מהבלוג של  Barbara  שמצאתי בשיטוטי האינטרנטיים.  המתכון הנפלא שלהלן מצא [...]

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  3. [...] dort Rezepte, die “Back mich, back mich auf der Stelle” schreien. Ein solches Rezept war der Kanelfläta von My Italian [...]

  4. [...] questo tipico dolce svedese il “Kanelfläta”. L’ho conosciuto tramite il blog di Barbara, italiana in Svezia. Sono subito stata attirata dal suo blog e da questa meraviglia con  ripieno [...]

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