A close copycat of the Dollywood Cinnamon Bread purchased from The Grist Mill in the park, this buttery pull apart bread is coated generously with cinnamon and sugar and is a delicious substitute for the real thing!
Why You Should Make This Bread
If you've ever visited The Grist Mill at Dollywood, no doubt you have come into contact with their world famous cinnamon bread. The strong aroma of cinnamon, sugar, and yeast dough is impossible to miss as soon as you step inside. The bakers behind the camera are in plain sight, coating loaf after loaf with melted butter and cinnamon sugar before pushing giant pans of unbaked bread into the ovens. It's undeniably one of the park's most popular food options with over 200,000 loaves of Dollywood cinnamon bread being sold each year!
The bread is tender, elastic, buttery, and absolutely covered in a crunchy shell of cinnamon and sugar. Some folks choose to drizzle it with a simple powdered sugar glaze, and others eat it plain while it's still warm (I recommend the latter).
This copycat recipe is so close to the original and it's pretty simple to prepare in your home kitchen.
Where Did This Recipe Come From?
The recipe calls for using a pound of frozen bread dough, thawed out, but I really wanted that homemade taste and so I crafted this recipe using a simple from-scratch yeast bread that worked amazingly!
If you aren't familiar with working with yeast and want a shortcut, please feel free to use the pre-made bread dough and skip to the "topping" section of the recipe instructions (just ignore the part about punching down the dough).
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Warm water - it should be very warm to the touch, but not so hot that you can't hold your finger in it. This will help activate the yeast.
- Sugar & melted butter - mixed into the water to help feed the yeast.
- Active dry yeast - I buy the jars of yeast and used 1 ⅛ teaspoons. If you buy the packets instead, use half of the packet.
- Bread flour - bread flour is higher protein and will produce more gluten, resulting in a nice high rise and desirable texture in yeast breads. However, you can use all-purpose in this recipe as well.
- Salt - a bit of salt makes every dough a little tastier. If you choose to use salted butter, reduce the amount of salt and just use a pinch.
- Even more melted butter - the dough takes a big bath in melted butter, because of course the secret to Dollywood cinnamon bread is a ton of butter, right?
- Ground cinnamon and sugar - a match made in heaven, the butter-soaked dough gets a thick coating of this stuff for that unbeatable sugary crunch.
Make It Authentic
It's been over a year (thank you, COVID) since we've visited Dollywood, so I watched a couple of YouTube videos (like this one) to study the footage of the bakers in the grist mill creating Dollywood cinnamon bread.
In the videos, you can see that the bakers are using 8-inch disposable aluminum pans lined with plenty of parchment paper. Once the bread is baked, the loaves are transferred into classic red checked deli paper.
If you don't have those things, you can use regular loaf pans and grease them with oil or butter - it'll work fine!
Tips For Success
Here are a few tips to keep in mind to make sure your bread is the best it can be!
- Watch the flour! Start with less flour than is called for in the recipe and add it to the dough a little at a time, stopping just when a nice elastic texture is achieved. You want to be able to handle it without it being overly sticky, but you definitely don't want it too dry.
- Don't skimp on the butter. Use all of the melted butter to coat the two loaves. If you have any leftover, drizzle it down the sides of the dough in the pan before baking it. This recipe is all about that buttah!
- Don't overbake. This tip should be added to every baking recipe in the history of ever, but it's no less important here. Pull those loaves out of the oven when they're nice and golden but not too dark or dry.
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