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    Cinnamon & date swirl loaf

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    Cinnamon & date swirl loaf

    • Vegetarian
    • Preparation time: 45 minutes + 2 hours resting time
    • Cooking time: 35 minutes + cooling
    • Total time: 80 minutes + 2 hours resting time + cooling

    Makes: 1 loaf (12 slices)


    7g sachet dried active or quick yeast
    1 tbsp clear honey
    8 pitted Medjool dates (see tip), chopped
    25g molasses sugar
    1 tsp ground cinnamon
    Grated zest of 1/2 lemon
    250g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
    100g wholemeal bread flour
    1/2 tsp fine sea salt
    Milk for brushing 


    1. Mix the yeast with the honey and 30ml warm water and set aside for 10 minutes to fizz and froth. Grease a 500g loaf tin. Blitz together the chopped dates, molasses, cinnamon and lemon zest in a bowl and set aside, covered.

    2. Sift the flours into a large bowl and add the salt to one side. Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour in the yeast mixture and 195ml warm water. Mix until you have a rough dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured or oiled surface and knead for 5 minutes until the dough feels elastic and bounces back when pressed lightly with a finger. Return to the bowl (clean the bowl if it’s messy) and leave to rest in a warm place, covered, for 1 hour.

    3. Knead the dough again for 5 minutes, then shape it (by pulling out the edges) into a rectangle, approx 16x25cm. Gently spread over the date and cinnamon mixture with a spoon. Slice the dough in half lengthways and lay one half on the other, date sides up. Repeat, so you have four long strips on top of each other. Keeping the layers together, gently fold and twist the strips into the greased loaf tin. Poke the ends in with your fingertips, then leave to rest, covered with a tea towel, for another hour.

    4. Preheat the oven to 200°C, gas mark 6. Brush the dough with milk and slide the tin into the middle of the oven. Bake for 35 minutes, or until the loaf is risen and golden. If the loaf starts to colour too quickly, or the dates begin to catch, cover with foil.

    5. Cool the bread in the tin for 5 minutes. It should come out of the tin easily and sound hollow when tapped on the base. Slice and serve.

    Cook’s tipIf your dates aren’t soft enough to blend, soak in a little water with a pinch of bicarbonate of soda.

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