Food and Drink

Cinnamon buns recipe: how to make Gail's iconic bake at home in lockdown

Posted by
Megan Murray
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Got nothing to do in lockdown? Gail’s sweet cinnamon buns are the ultimate autumnal bake, so we fully recommend spending the next few weeks perfecting them at home. Here’s the recipe, so you can waste no time in getting started. 

If April was anything to go by, we’re going to be doing a lot of baking in lockdown 2.0. And, now the evenings are getting colder and shorter, we’re gladly taking the excuse to snuggle up on the sofa with a cup of tea and a plate of freshly baked treats.

These doughy, sugary cinnamon buns are a Gail’s classic and there is literally no better time to enjoy them than the now, just as things are getting a little cosier and we’re craving something sweet and warm. 

so, if you’re as big a fan of these delicious buns as we are, then why not give making them a go at home? Below you’ll find an extensive, step-by-step guide straight from the cult bakery to ensure that yours taste just as yummy as Gail’s do. 

You could even combine your baking with our at-home pumpkin spice latte recipe too. Then you’ll really have seasonal scoffing nailed. 


  • Dough ingredients:
  • 35g fresh yeast
  • 170ml cold water
  • 300g plain flour
  • 640g strong white bread flour
  • 95g butter at room temperature
  • 70g caster sugar
  • 20g fine sea salt
  • 300ml milk 

For laminating the dough:

  • 400g butter, chilled

Filling ingredients: 

  • 170g light muscovado sugar
  • 85g caster sugar
  • 2 heaped tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 100g butter, melted

For the topping: 

  • 120g caster sugar
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon. 


To make the dough:

1. Mix the yeast, water and 150g of the plain flour with a wooden spoon in the bowl of a stand mixer to create a thick paste. 

2. Sift over the remaining 150g plain flour in a thick layer, and leave to sit for 15–20 minutes, until you can see the flour beginning to crack as the yeast works underneath it. Add the strong flour, butter, sugar, salt and milk, and knead on a slow speed using the dough hook for 5 minutes, until you have a soft but not completely smooth dough.

3. Tip the dough out of the bowl onto a clean surface and knead by hand for a few more minutes, forming it into a ball. Lightly flour a rolling pin and press the dough out into a rectangle measuring 20cm x 30cm x 5cm. Transfer it onto a baking sheet lined with non-stick baking paper, wrap it well in cling film, and freeze for 30 minutes.

4. While the dough chills, take the butter for laminating the dough out of the fridge and leave it to warm up for 15 minutes. Put it into a sandwich bag or between two pieces of plastic film and press it down to create a rectangle of butter, about 15cm x 20cm and 1.5cm thick. Chill until the dough is ready.

5. Roll the chilled dough into a long rectangle, 15cm x 60cm. Lay it in front of you on the largest surface you have, short edges at the side and long edges at the top and bottom. Press the chilled butter over the right side of the rectangle, then fold the left half on top of it, as if closing a book. Press the dough out with the rolling pin, working away from you, front to back only, not side to side – the direction you roll in is absolutely crucial. Create a rectangle that’s 1cm thick, and 1 metre long. One long side should be the folded edge, sealed up, the other should be open.

6. Mentally draw two lines across the long rectangle stretched out in front of you, dividing it into thirds. Fold the bottom third up, then the top third down over that, rather like folding a letter. Transfer the folded dough back to the baking sheet, wrap in cling film and freeze for another 30 minutes.

7. Remove from the freezer, unwrap, and sit the dough in front of you exactly as it was before, like a folded letter, then give it a quarter turn so that the long edges are at the sides and the short edges at the top and bottom. Roll it out again a rectangle 1 cm thick, and 1 metre long. Mentally draw a line half way up the dough, then fold the bottom edge up to meet the centre line, and do the same with the top edge. 

8. Finally, fold the entire top half of the dough back down over itself. Return to the baking sheet, wrap, and freeze for 30 minutes more.

9. Butter 12 large muffin cup tray, greasing the flat surface between the cups as well as the cups themselves.

10. Make the filling by mixing together the muscovado sugar, caster sugar and cinnamon until combined and set aside.

11. On the most spacious kitchen surface you have, roll the chilled croissant dough out to a 30cm x 80cm rectangle, 1–2cm thick. Lay it out in front of you so that the short edges are at the sides.

12. Use a pastry brush to brush the dough with melted butter, leaving a 4cm-wide border along the top long edges. Sprinkle the filling all over the melted butter, and pat it down so that it begins to dissolve into it.

13. Starting from the long edge closest to you, roll the dough up tightly, like a Swiss roll. Turn it so that it’s sitting on its seam. With a sharp, non-serrated knife, slice the log of dough into 12 equal buns. Take each bun and tug the loose end of the rolled dough out to stretch it very slightly, then tuck it under one of the cut ends of the bun to seal it up – this creates a base for them to sit on. Sit them in the buttered muffin cup tray.

14. Leave for 2 hours to prove, the best place to prove the buns is in a completely cold oven. Put them on the centre shelf, along with a small bowl of hot water on the floor of the oven, and shut the door until risen and springy to the touch. Remove from the oven along with the bowl of water.

15. Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6.

16. Place the buns in the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 180°C/gas mark 4. Bake for 25–30 minutes, until completely puffed and mushroomed over the edges of the muffin cups. They should be a dark, golden brown.

17. Remove from the oven and leave them for 5 minutes, then lift them and sit them slightly askew in their tins to cool further, so that the base of each bun isn’t touching the base of the muffin cup. This allows them to cool without sticking to the cups as the sugar solidifies.

18. Make the topping by mixing the sugar and cinnamon in a large, shallow dish, and when the buns are completely cooled, roll them gently in the topping to coat them in even more sugary, cinnamony goodness. Eat as soon as possible. 

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Images: Gail’s


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Megan Murray

Megan Murray is a senior digital writer for, who enjoys writing about homeware (particularly candles), travel, food trends, restaurants and all the wonderful things London has to offer.

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