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Nov 11, 2023

100% Whole Wheat Cinnamon Swirl Bread

This 100% Whole Wheat Cinnamon Swirl Bread brings the sweetness of cinnamon rolls to whole wheat bread. 

100% Whole Wheat Cinnamon Swirl Bread slices on a blue plate.

This loaf is made with white whole wheat flour. It is a strain of whole wheat that has all of the nutritional value of regular whole wheat, but has a lighter color and a milder taste. 

It is milled from the whole berry, and nothing is removed. White whole wheat flour was first adapted by farmers in Kansas to U.S. soil and growing conditions from an Australian wheat. It's not as white as all purpose flour, but it is still lighter than whole wheat milled from hard red wheat. 

You cannot use it as you would all purpose flour, but you can introduce it into your cookie, bread, and other baked goods recipes that call for bread or all purpose flour with some adjustment to the liquids. I'd recommend subbing 25 percent of the flour and then experiment from there. 

If you don't have white whole wheat flour available, regular whole wheat flour works just fine.

100% Whole Wheat Cinnamon Swirl Bread on a cutting board, sliced.

You might also notice that this bread calls for orange juice as one of the liquids. Believe it or not, you will not detect any orange flavor. The orange juice is there to "mellow" any bitterness from the whole wheat flour. This is especially helpful when using regular whole wheat.

I've actually substituted Trader Joe's tangerine juice, and it works just as well (plus, it makes great mimosas). 

100% Whole Wheat Cinnamon Swirl Bread on a cutting board, sliced.

Ingredients Shopping List:

Besides the white whole wheat and the orange juice, you will need the following...

Milk: You can use either whole or 2 percent milk. 

Instant yeast: You'll need a tiny bit for the starter (a preferment you make the night before) plus more for the final loaf. 

Unsalted butter. 

Salt, sugar, and nonfat dry milk. 

Potato flour or potato flakes (instant mashed potatoes). 

For the filling: Sugar, ground cinnamon, an egg, and all purpose flour. 

100% Whole Wheat Cinnamon Swirl Bread cut loaf and cut slices on a round cutting board.

To make this bread, you will need a preferment/starter. Don't worry, you don't need a sourdough starter. Instead, the night before making the final dough, combine a small amount of the flour, some water, and a tiny bit of instant yeast. 

Mix the ingredients in a small bowl, cover it, and let it rise overnight. Don't worry too much about overproofing the starter, unless you go longer than about 16 hours. 

After that, mix everything else except the filling ingredients together in a stand mixer (you can knead by hand, but the first rise will take longer). Once you've fully kneaded the dough, let it rise until almost doubled. 

Roll out the risen dough into a rectangle, brush it with an egg wash, and sprinkle it with the cinnamon, sugar, and flour mixture. Roll up the dough into a loaf and let it rise for a second time in a loaf pan, until crested over the top of the pan. 

Finally, bake the bread! 

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Swirl Bread slices on a blue plate.

This bread makes amazing toast with butter or peanut butter. It's also great with butter and jam, or even more cinnamon sugar. 

Tip for Success:

My number one tip is to use the rising times as an approximation, not gospel. The rising time can depend on your method of kneading, the ambient temperature, the humidity, and other factors. 

I like to use a Cambro 2-quart container for a single loaf because it has volume markers on the side so you can tell when the dough has doubled. 

The final loaf should just crest over the top of a 9 inch by 5 inch loaf pan by 3/4 inch in the center. To test it, you can poke the dough lightly with your finger. If it springs back slowly, the loaf is ready to bake. 

100% Whole Wheat Cinnamon Swirl Bread Loaf uncut on a cutting board.

For an even heartier cinnamon swirl whole wheat bread, you might want to try whole wheat cinnamon raisin and pecan bread. It's a little more involved (with both a soaker and a biga), but totally delicious and satisfying. 

Whole Grain Recipes:

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Interior of Whole Wheat Cinnamon Swirl Bread

100% Whole Wheat Cinnamon Swirl Bread

100% Whole Wheat Cinnamon Swirl Bread
Yield: 16 Slices
Author: Karen's Kitchen Stories
Prep time: 20 MinCook time: 55 MinInactive time: 4 HourTotal time: 5 H & 15 M
This 100% Whole Wheat Cinnamon Swirl Bread brings the sweetness of cinnamon rolls to whole wheat bread.


For the Starter
  • 113 grams (4 ounces/1/2 cup) water
  • 113 grams (4 ounces/1 cup) white whole wheat flour (or regular whole wheat flour)
  • 1/8 teaspoon instant yeast
For the Final Loaf
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 113 grams (4 ounces/1/2 cup) lukewarm (about 110 degrees F) milk
  • 113 grams (4 ounces/1/2 cup) orange juice
  • 71 grams (2 1/2 ounces/5 tablespoons) melted butter
  • 9 grams (1 1/2 teaspoons) salt
  • 35 grams (1 1/4 ounces/3 tablespoons) sugar
  • 28 grams (1 ounce/1/4 cup) nonfat dry milk (I used King Arthur Flour's Baker's Special Dry Milk)
  • 46 grams (1/4 cup) potato flour or 46 grams (1/2 cup) potato flakes
  • 312 grams (11 ounces/2 3/4 cups) white or regular whole wheat flour
For the filling
  • 1/2 of whisked egg
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour


  1. The night before baking, mix the starter ingredients in a small bowl or container until thoroughly moistened, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to sit out at room temperature overnight. It should be quite puffy the next day.
  2. Add all of the dough ingredients, including the starter, to the bowl of a stand mixer and knead on low (KA speed 2) for about 7 minutes. You can also knead by hand or bread machine. If the dough seems a bit dry, add a tablespoon or two of orange juice.
  3. Place the dough into an oiled bowl or dough rising bucket, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise for about 90 minutes, until almost doubled (it may not fully double in size).
  4. Gently deflate the dough and roll out to a 9 inch by 16 inch rectangle on your work surface.
  5. Mix the sugar, cinnamon, and flour for the cinnamon swirl.
  6. Brush the dough with the egg wash (you won't use a whole egg) and sprinkle with the cinnamon mixture.
  7. From the short end of the rectangle, roll the dough into a log and pinch the seam and the ends closed. Place the log in an oiled 9 inch by 5 inch loaf pan, seam side down.
  8. Cover the loaf with oiled plastic wrap and allow to rise until it has crested the pan by 3/4", approximately 90 minutes.
  9. While the loaf is rising, heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  10. Bake the loaf for 50 to 55 minutes, tenting it loosely with foil at the 15 minute mark. The loaf is done when the interior reaches 190 degrees F with an instant read thermometer.
  11. Turn the loaf out onto a rack and cool completely before slicing.

Nutrition Facts



Fat (grams)

5 g

Sat. Fat (grams)

3 g

Carbs (grams)

31 g

Fiber (grams)

4 g

Net carbs

27 g

Sugar (grams)

8 g

Protein (grams)

6 g

Cholesterol (grams)

16 mg
whole wheat, cinnamon
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Recipe adapted from King Arthur Baking. 

Originally posted April, 2014, updated November, 2023. 

Would you like to comment?

  1. What a nice bread with a beautiful swirl!

    1. You are too kind about my "swirl" Medeja!

  2. beautiful swirl bread !! love it

  3. I think your cinnamon "squiggle" bread looks very inviting. I loved learning that trick with the orange juice.

    1. I love a person who appreciates a squiggle! =)

  4. Love the interesting swirl. Why be boring!

  5. Your bread looks great, squiggly notwithstanding :-). You are right about not being able to detect the orange flavor.

  6. Oh my goodness! Yet another delicious looking bread. I love that swirl. I bet it's perfect for French toast!

  7. Cinnamon swirl is one of my favorite breakfast breads.

  8. So interesting that the OJ mellows it out, I had no idea. I don't know what I love more, the crumb, the crust or that swirl!

  9. My little loves swirl bread. I have to buy it so often Love finding this recipe and it being wholewheat too!!

    1. And your little will never know it's whole wheat =)


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