Forget roller coasters and side shows, you must visit Dollywood for the food. Much like its namesake Dolly Parton, the theme park’s food offerings are larger than life. Just ask anyone who has eaten their way through the many food stops the park has to offer. From berries & cream to Beavertail pastries and tacos, Dollywood has it all.
But, perhaps the most popular stop is the Grist Mill where the park’s famous cinnamon bread is made. You can follow your nose, or the seemingly endless line, to the Mill where anywhere from 800 to 1500 loaves of the bread are baked daily.
So, what exactly is Dollywood cinnamon bread? According to their website, the sweet treat pretty much sounds like Heaven.
“Pre-made loaves are formed and sliced. With loving hands, each is expertly carved with three cuts and then dipped into a bath of buttery goodness. From that golden bath, the loaves are submerged in a sugary-cinnamon mixture and then quickly into its own pan to not lose a drop,” the website reads. “The queue moves a few steps forward, and the carousel ovens are in full view full of rising and glistening loaves of sticky goodness. Then the doors of the oven open to fill the display cabinets, the sweet aroma denotes your sweet treat will soon be yours.”
And if that doesn’t sound sweet enough to you, each loaf is served with your choice of sugary glaze or homemade apple butter.
The bad news is, you have to travel to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, to get your hands on an authentic loaf of Dolly Parton’s Cinnamon Bread. The good news is, it’s pretty darn easy to make your own…and you don’t even have to be a baker to have success with this simple recipe. Check out the recipe and get a glimpse inside the Grist Mill bakery in the video below.
Dolly Parton’s Cinnamon Bread
Serves 8; makes 2 loaves
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
1 1-lb loaf frozen bread dough, thawed
4 tbsp (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
2 tbsp water or fresh lemon juice, plus more as needed
1. Coat two 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2–inch loaf pans with vegetable oil cooking spray. In a shallow dish, combine the sugar and cinnamon and set aside.
2. Cut the dough lengthwise into two pieces. Make four shallow, crosswise slits in each piece. Brush the loaves all over with butter. Roll each loaf in the cinnamon mixture, packing it into the creases. Place loaves in the prepared pans and set aside in a warm place to rise for 30 minutes.
3. As the bread rises, preheat oven to 300 degrees.
4. Bake the bread, turning the pans around once, for 35 minutes or until the top is golden and a tap on the bottom of the pan yields a hollow sound.
5. Meanwhile, make the glaze. In a small bowl, vigorously stir together the powdered sugar and water (or lemon juice), adding more liquid as needed, until the mixture is smooth. Turn the breads out onto a rack while they’re still warm; drizzle with the glaze.