Basic Sweet Dough

You all know I cannot bake. Cooking is my forte. Baking, not so much. But, I grew up with big, fluffy cinnamon rolls and one no-fail recipe that has given me courage and a false sense of baking talent. I love the recipe not only because it never lets me down, but I can make several treats with one dough. It will give me fluffy sweet rolls, or flaky pastries, and even soft bread. How’s that for magic!

Today I am going to use the basic sweet dough to make three different baked goods: Apple Danish, Cinnamon Nut Pastry, and Cinnamon Bread. You can use the basic dough and make a large batch of just one of these treats, but what’s the fun in that. Go big, or go home.

Basic Sweet Dough:

Everything starts with the basic sweet dough. Set out 2 cups of buttermilk, a stick of butter, and 2 large eggs and bring to room temperature, about an hour.


In a stand-up mixer bowl add 3 cups flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 teaspoons salt, and 2 tablespoons instant dry yeast and stir to mix. Add the stick of softened butter and the 2 eggs. With the mixer running slowly add 1/2 cup very warm water.

HINT: The water is important. Too cold and it will not activate the yeast. Too hot and it will kill the yeast. You want the temperature to be within 120° – 130°F.

Slowly add the 2 cups buttermilk and continue mixing for 1 minute. Add 5 cups of flour, a cup at a time. I normally shut the mixer off at this point and finish the rest by hand. It gets to be quite a job for the mixer.


Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead adding the remaining cup of flour a bit at a time. You may not use all the full cup. Stop when the dough is smooth and elastic.


Coat the inside of a large bowl with butter and place the dough inside, turning to coat. Cover with a towel and let the dough rise until double, about 1 hour.


When the dough is ready, punch it down and divide into three equal pieces. Now, let the fun begin.

Apple Danish:

Let’s start with the Apple Danish. A morning favorite around here and a nod to my German heritage.

On a clean lightly floured surface roll one of the pieces into a 16×9-inch rectangle. Cut into 16 1” strips. Take a strip and twist it forming a circle, almost like a rosette, tucking the end pieces underneath. Place on a lightly greased baking sheets. Repeat with remaining strips. Cover with kitchen towels; let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes.

Cinnamon Nut Pastry:

I love pulling this out for overnight guest to enjoy. They look impressive and who doesn’t love cinnamon.

On a clean lightly floured surface roll one of the pieces into a 16×9-inch rectangle. Mix 1/4 cup sugar with 2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Spread the rectangle with 2 tablespoons softened butter and sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar mixture spreading to the edges. Cut into 16 1″ slices and using your fingers gently pull the layers out and over one another. Place in a lightly greased baking sheet. Sprinkle rolls with chopped pecans. Cover and let rise until almost double, about 45 minutes.

Cinnamon Bread:

A delicious soft bread filled with a swirl of cinnamon. Good fresh out of the oven with melted butter or toasted and spread with Italian cheese and grilled apples. I will share the recipe in a later post.

On a clean lightly floured surface roll one of the pieces into a 12×7-inch rectangle. In a small bowl mix 1/4 cup sugar with 2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Set aside 1 tablespoon for the topping. Spread 2 tablespoons softened butter over the dough spreading to the edges. Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture over butter. Roll the dough into a loaf. Pinch dough at the seam to seal. Place in a lightly greased loaf pan. Spread 1 tablespoon softened butter over the top and sprinkle with the reserved cinnamon-sugar mixture. Cover the pan and let rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

Final Prep:

Once the apple danishes have risen properly, fill the center of each Danish with 1 tablespoon pie filling. You can use any flavor of pie filling. I had apple on hand, so I am using apple filling.



Preheat the oven to 375°F. All three use the same 375°F oven. The Danish and the cinnamon pastry both bake for 15 – 20 minutes. Therefore, I normally place these two in the oven at the same time.


When they are done baking. I place the bread in the oven and bake for 30 – 35 minutes, or until a golden brown. If the crust starts to brown too quickly cover with foil and continue baking until done.



I only use icing on the apple Danishes, but really all three can be iced if that is your preference. In a medium bowl, beat 3 cups powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons softened butter, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, a dash of salt, and enough milk to reach desired consistency. Drizzle over Danish.

Grab a good cup of coffee and enjoy a breakfast of freshly baked goodies. – Ella💙

Print the recipes here:

Apple Danish
Cinnamon Nut Pastry
Cinnamon Bread


Author: Ella

Just a girl who loves to cook farm-to-fork foods living the dream!

7 thoughts

  1. Same here as far as cooking over baking.
    I’m committed to baking more this year. Made a Bundt cake and Reeses Peanut Butter cupcakes so far and nobody got hurt!
    Mmmmmmm! Cinnamon! Everything is better with cinnamon.

    1. Reeses Peanut Butter cupcakes!? Awww, you’re killing me! And cinnamon, oh yeah! Start every morning with cinnamon in my coffee. I jones for it!

    1. LOL…I hear you. A co-worker dropped his on the floor today apple side down and still picked it up and ate it. There are limitations on the 3-second rule. But they are that good. Bahahaha!

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