Even though I grew up in Tennessee, I haven’t visited Dollywood since I was a child. I’ve longed to go back in recent years, especially since my niece and nephew are old enough to enjoy theme parks. Everyone loves Dolly Parton, the patron saint of the South, so it’s hard to resist an attraction conceived by the legend herself.
Then I saw a photo of Dollywood’s famous cinnamon bread. It looked pillowy, buttery, cinnamony, and sweet. I was enchanted. Luckily, the park released the official recipe so far-flung fans like myself can recreate it at home.
Why Is Dollywood’s Cinnamon Bread Famous?
In the early ‘80s, Dollywood added a grist mill to the park, the first of its kind to open in Tennessee in over 100 years. The authentic (and operational) mill, while cool to see, also produces the park’s signature cinnamon bread on-site.
People line up for it, and I hear it is worth lining up for. The fluffy, tearable loaf is infused with brown sugar, butter, and warm cinnamon.
Making Dollywood’s Cinnamon Bread at Home
This recipe comes from official Dollywood sources, so you know it’s legit. However, if you’re hoping for a picture-perfect loaf that looks just like the one from the park, you will be disappointed. That is until you eat a bite. Then you’ll be fine with it.
This recipe makes two small, fairly flat loaves, rather than the tall, shaped loaf from Dollywood. While it’s not as pretty, I have a feeling the homemade version is much, much easier to make. The recipe is similar to making cinnamon rolls, but without having to roll out, roll up, cut, and arrange the dough.
If you have the patience to let the dough rise a couple of times, then you can make this recipe. While a bit flat-looking, the bread is fluffy and soaked in buttery cinnamon sugar.
How To Make Dollywood Cinnamon Bread
Adapted from the Dollywood website. To make two small loaves, you’ll need:
For the dough:
- 1/2 cup warm water (100 to 110°F)
- 3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 pinch granulated sugar, divided
- 1 1/2 cups bread flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
For the coating:
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
For the glaze:
- 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
- 1 pinch salt
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 3 to 5 tablespoons milk
- To make the dough, combine the warm water, yeast, and a pinch of sugar in a small bowl and let sit until bubbly, 5 to 8 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk the bread flour, remaining 1 tablespoon sugar, and salt together in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the yeast mixture and melted butter to the flour mixture.
- Stir together, then knead until the dough is smooth and elastic (using the dough hook of a stand mixer or your hands), about 8 minutes. Transfer to a lightly greased bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
- Punch down the dough, transfer to a work surface, and knead a few times. Cut in half and gently shape into two 3×6-inch loaves (do not overwork the dough). Place the loaves 3 inches apart on a baking sheet. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until puffy, 30 minutes to 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, make the coating. Whisk the granulated sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a small baking dish. Whisk the melted butter and corn syrup in another small baking dish.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two 9×5-inch loaf pans with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on the sides. Slice 4 deep slashes across the top of each loaf (the loaves will look deflated). Dip each loaf in the butter-corn syrup mixture, turning to cover, then coat with the cinnamon sugar, making sure to get the sugar in the crevices.
- Place the loaves in the prepared pans. Drizzle with any remaining butter mixture and sprinkle with any remaining cinnamon sugar. Bake until light brown and the dough springs back when poked, 25 to 30 minutes. Lift the bread out of the loaf pans using the parchment overhang and transfer it to a rack. Let cool on the paper for about 15 minutes.
- To make the glaze, combine the powdered sugar, salt, melted butter, and 3 tablespoons of milk in a small mixing bowl and whisk until smooth. Add more milk, if needed, to adjust the consistency. Drizzle over the warm bread or serve alongside for dipping.
My Tips for Making Dollywood Cinnamon Bread
This is a sweet, buttery, and cinnamony treat. It’s appropriately decadent, like something you’d have at an amusement park.
The next time I make it, I might try making one larger loaf instead of 2 small ones and adjusting the bake time accordingly. Regardless, I’ll try decreasing the butter and corn syrup mixture by about a third and decreasing the cinnamon-sugar mixture by a third, too. And I’ll likely skip the glaze altogether, you just don’t need it!
That being said, it was so deliciously warm and made my house smell amazing. My husband and I devoured it, and it’ll definitely help tide us over until we can finally visit Dollywood in person.