The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Cinnamon and Yeast?

MichaelH's picture

Cinnamon and Yeast?

I recently baked and enjoyed the Pecan Cherry Pain au Levain posted by Mountaindog. It is an excellent bread that I intend to bake again; however, I was intrigued by Dave Snyder's comment that it might be good with apricot in place of sour cherries. I decided to try this, and thought of adding a pinch of cinnamon and maybe a touch of honey. I seem to recall reading somewhere that cinnamon and yeast do not get along.

Has anyone had experience with this combination?


LindyD's picture

The combination never seems to cause a problem with my cinnamon rolls.  

I had never heard of the issue until I read about it on another thread.  I did a bit of research and think that you have to use large quantities of cinnamon in the dough to affect the yeast.  I don't believe the spice used as a filling has much, if any, effect.

So, you're quite safe with that pinch of cinnamon. 

MichaelH's picture

Thanks Lindy, I'll go ahead and try this.


virginiann's picture

I just discovered this issue. The last two batches of cinnamon bread I made did not rise well and the only thing I did differently was add cinnamon to my dough prior to rolling it out. It took me the second batch to realize that cinnamon and yeast did not get along well.

Now, I'm off to try a new recipe. 


SylviaH's picture

This yeast can be ordered from King Arthur Flours.  This yeast is specially formulated for breads such as cinnamon rolls or doughs containing higher sugar/cinnamon.  This yeast gives better results.  Most noticable is I've had my sweet dough cinnamon rolls get a nice rise to the dough instead of remaining nearly unrisen and baking up hard and very nice results with other pastries and breads.


LindyD's picture

Your tweaks to the recipe sound great.  Hope you post about it when it's baked.

Edith Pilaf's picture
Edith Pilaf

I make Reinhart's Cinnamon Raisin Bread every weekend.  It calls for 1 1/4 tsp cinnamon in the dough plus 2 tablespoons cinnamon rolled into the swirl.  It comes out looking and tasting great every time.  So go ahead and add that pinch or more.  Sounds great!

Gorm2's picture

Hamelman's book may be where you read that.  On page 237 he says that when mixing cinnamon into the dough, the amount of yeast used will need to be increased.  This is due to cinnamon having a compound that inhibits yeast growth.  Hope this helps.

MichaelH's picture

I think you're right about the source, I'll take that into account. Thanks.


ananda's picture


It's quite simple really;

spices are generally acidic and bakers yeast does not thrive in an acidic environment.   Mr Hamelman is quite correct; as always

Best wishes


LindyD's picture

Not surprisingly, Mr. Hamelman goes into detail on the cinnamon issue, noting that the chemical compound cinnamic aldehyde impairs yeast activity, as do tree bark spices in general when used in "appreciable amounts" in the dough.

Using it on the dough (sprinkling it on top) doesn't bother the yeast a bit.

I checked the BBA and there's no mention of such an effect. PR's cinnamon raisin walnut bread formula uses 1 percent cinnamon and 1.4 percent yeast, both mixed in the dough.

I wonder what constitutes an "appreciable amount."  

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven
LindyD's picture

I swear, Mini, that you're a keyboarding encyclopedia!

Interesting reading, but I still can't figure out what amount would be considered inhibitory.  

Gee, just imagine what a great game of Trivial Pursuit we could create around bread!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

There are references at the bottom and refer to the spices listed. could be that they lead to exact amounts in the lab studies.  I'm not sure if they are available without a fee, didn't go that far, went off on a tangent about the author of the write up and into the program he teaches and sponsors for home healthy preparation of foods stuffs in Minnesota, a pamplet.  The details on the parasites and bugs, preventing contamination and all killed my appetite for lunch but with all the recently posted pictures, I'm getting hungry again. 

I suppose there are studies done somewhere.  Need to use some kind of scientific titiel to find them... I kept running into tree fungus and yeast attact in agriculture, uses to kill unwanted yeasts in grain storage, etc., but no specific amounts.   A test could be done.  The mad scientist in me thinks about making small amounts of bread dough; flour, cinn., water & yeast, test tube like liquor glasses.   With a chart: rising time vs % of cinn to flour.    If 1% doesn't seem to affect dough then use 0%  5% 10%  as a first round and then narrow it down a bit in the next test.  I think I could (giggle & boil) with a more exact scales.  I cant measure under 5g.   The less yeast, the more accurate the test.  1% yeast measurement might be good.   That would mean for 50g flour 0.5g of instant yeast. 

I was in the Supermarket yesterday and needed eggs.  Was comparing prices, cost of 100g egg mass, and looking at the price slips,  grabbed a box of the cheapest ones... and They, um, what?  Garlic eggs?  Now that's Korean!  Pick up a box of normal eggs too.  Boiled some up last night.  I had so much garlic going, cooking, I couldn't taste or smell any difference.  What do you suppose they do, feed the chickens garlic?  Little garlic bulbs all over the cover.   "Best Garlic Eggs"   I think I will go eat one now... They ought to be great in omelets!


Ricko's picture

I have tried this recipe as written, with the only changes being the use of craisins and a good doubling of the amount of cinnamon. We really like the new Penzey's 3 cinnamon blend. Unfortunalely, this amount of cinnamon tends to greatly inhibit the action of the yeast in allowing the dough to rise. Therefore, I have gone to the use of a rolling pin and the jellyroll method as suggested in the recipe.

The taste results are great, with the only problem being that the jellyroll method provides for a tight center, but as the roll becomes larger, it loosens and allows for a circular void beneath the outer layer. This void allows for some of the filling to fall out when sliced and toasted.

I've been sprinkling the craisins and walnuts onto the dough before jellyrolling. Perhaps I should use the rolling pin to press the fruit into the dough before rolling? Also, using a smaller walnut piece might help too.

As for the circular void seperation close to the outer edge, how would you tighten this up?

After the rolling is complete before going into the pan, the results are a great smelling massive log of fruit, dough and cinnamon!

Boatguy's picture

I've made 100's of loaves of cinnamon bread, based loosely on Hammelman.

Cinnamon definitely inhibits yeast activity if the cinnamon is mixed into the dough.  Where a white bread might require .25% instant yeast, I use 1.8% in my cinnamon bread.

It also varies with the quality of yeast.  When I switched from grocery store mass market cinnamon to Penzy's best Vietnamese cinnamon, I had to up the yeast.

If the cinnamon is sprinkled on, as when a dough for rolls is rolled out, cinnamon, sugar and raisins sprinkled on, then rolled up, there is little if any effect.  But in a bread dough, you'll need to add more yeast.