Cinnamon Roll Sheepherder Bread

Yes, you read that right.

I took my grandma’s absolutely spectacular Sheepherder Bread – and I added a little cinnamon twist.

And I created heaven in a slice of bread.  (I can say it, because it’s true.)

Now, it wasn’t all fun and games to get there, but boy, oh boy, was it worth it.

The Recipe:

Grandma Nola’s World Famous Sheepherder Bread, Cinnamon Roll Style, adapted from my Grandma

(Makes 3 loaves)

3 c very hot water

1/2 c butter

1/2 c sugar

2 1/2 t salt

2 packages active dry yeast (or 4 1/2 t)

approx. 9 1/2 c bread flour, unsifted

salad oil or cooking spray


4 T butter, softened

2 T sugar

1-2 T cinnamon (to taste)


In a large bowl, combine water, butter, sugar, and salt.  Stir until the butter melts and let cool to warm.  Stir in yeast, cover, and set in a warm place until bubbly, about 15 minutes.

Add 5 cups of flour and beat with a heavy-duty mixer or a wooden spoon to make a thick batter.  With a spoon, stir in enough flour, about 3 1/2 cups, to make a thick dough.  Turn the dough onto a floured board and knead until smooth, about 10 minutes, adding flour as needed to prevent sticking.  Turn dough over in greased bowl, cover, and let rise until double in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.

Punch dough down, divide into thirds, and knead each third on a floured board to form smooth balls.

*For Cinnamon Roll style: Roll out dough into rectangle – you may have to gently pull on the dough to get it to a decent size.  Spread butter on top of dough.  Sprinkle liberally with sugar and cinnamon.  Roll into loaf shape, pinching ends together.*

Place each into a loaf pan and let rise in a warm place for about 1/2 hour.

Cook at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.  Let cool and enjoy slightly warm!

{Printable Recipe}

The Results:

So, let’s just say this recipe did not start out so well.  I was skimming again (BAD Courtney!), and I started out by putting the yeast in the bowl, adding the very hot water, butter, sugar and salt.  Now if you look in the directions, you add the yeast last – probably because the butter cools the water down a bit when it melts.  If you do it in the order I did, the very hot water does something very interesting, it kills the yeast.  Completely dead.

(Now, I probably should’ve taken a picture of the mixture with dead yeast to show you what it looks like, but I was too angry at myself and just tossed it down the drain.  But really, if your yeast doesn’t get bubbly at all – just stop what you’re doing and start over.  Otherwise you’re just wasting your other ingredients.)

Thankfully, I recognized that something was not right, and googled to find out my yeast was dead.  So I scrapped it and started on round two.  And this round went much better.

The yeast got frothy right away, and I could tell it worked really well after the first rise…

Yep, I'm thinking it rose.

Shaping/pulling the dough into a rectangle was a little tricky, but I got the job done.  After slathering it with butter and adding the sugar and cinnamon, I rolled it right up into a loaf.

Tell me that doesn't look amazing.

After the second rise and the baking (note – be sure to put a cookie sheet under the loaf, in case it, umm, overflows the pan and drips a bit), it came out looking like this:

My only, only regret, is that I only made one of the three loaves cinnamon bread.  (And it’s almost gone already.)

The sweet cinnamon/sugar complements the yeasty goodness of this light and delicious bread.

Seriously, this is one of the best bread recipes ever – with or without the swirl.  (Notice the bold and italics – that’s how much I mean it.)

I really hope you go out and make a loaf (or three).


16 thoughts on “Cinnamon Roll Sheepherder Bread

  1. Seriously, this is one beautiful loaf of bread!! I’m saving this for the next lazy weekend I have (those are my bread baking days!!) My son will love this…freshly baked bread but swirled with cinnamon and butter puts it over the top…literally!!


  2. Haha, I saw your Facebook status (or was it twitter) that you’d killed your yeast, sorry but it made me smile trying to imagine how that could happen… ( “It was Colonel Mustard in the kitchen with a knife”… That’s a game I used to play with the kids) anyway, I scrolled down and oh my gosh… The heft and beauty of that cinnamon loaf was really something… Gorgeous and I now must try your Gran’s recipe… With the cinnamon:)


  3. I’m sold. This is the next bread recipe I’m trying. It will get me out of my bread baking funk I just know it. 😉 That looks so dang good!!!!!! I’m pretty sure I’d have to make three cinnamon loaves – or maybe four, one for each of us. And I had never heard of sheepherder bread before this…learned something new today. 🙂


  4. DROOLING…large puddle of drool on my desk. It’s shameful. You are the bread QUEEN! 🙂 It is the most gorgeous paragon of bread-ness I have ever seen! Adding cinnamon and butter was pure genius my friend. Too bad we don’t live in the same town. I keep wanting to open a little retro-style bakery and you could be in charge of the breads. We could partner up. Have a very great and wonderful Thursday!


  5. Pingback: Sheepherder Bread Rolls « Misadventures in Cooking

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