Sometimes when I make sausage kolaches or cinnamon rolls the bread layers pull away from the sausage or the filling and leave an open space inside. The separation is cosmetically unattractive, and can make the product more difficult to eat because it tends to fall apart when bitten.

This doesn't always happen and I don't want to go to the other extreme where the layers in a cinnamon roll are indistinguishable.

What causes this separation and, more importantly, how do I control when it happens.

3 Answers 3


The most recent Cook's Illustrated has a cinnamon swirl bread article that discusses this problem. According to them, the root cause is a lack of binding between the dough and filling. Gas from the yeast, and steam generated during baking, push into the spiral, creating pressure that compresses the dough and widens the gap.

In the specific case of cinnamon bread, they recommend using powdered (confectioner's) sugar instead of granulated, and using a large amount of cinnamon. The finer sugar dissolves more easily in moisture from the bread, quickly creating a paste that is reinforced by the cornstarch and by starches in the ground cinnamon. Misting the bread before adding the filling also helps.

In order to make a sausage filling adhere to the bread, you would need a sticky, water-soluble element. Cornstarch or powdered gelatin spring to mind immediately as possibilities.

The other tactic they employ is to actually expose the filling during proofing, preventing the yeast's gas (and later, steam) from building up alongside the filling. Once the filling is rolled into the dough, the loaf is cut in half lengthwise. With the two halves laid side-by-side, cut face up (exposing the filling), they are wound around each other, folding the left piece over the right until the end is reached (this is called a "Russian braid"). The ends are pinched together, and the loaf is placed in the pan to proof. This, obviously, should help with any kind of filling, not just cinnamon sugar.


Used to happen to me all the time, its very annoying. There's a few tips to get rid of it:

  1. If you're rolling something up, the bottom of the dough rolls into the inside. You often add flour or such on the bottom to keep it from sticking. If the surface dries out too much then you've got a 'skin' that is rolling up in the dough. When the dough come in contact with the filling, it won't 'adhere' well. Keep the bottom as moist as you can and try spritzing with a little water as you roll. Additionally, if the filling is wet, allow a slightly longer proof to hydrate the dough next to the filling.

  2. Combined with number one, if you have a very wet filling or anything that releases much steam, then it will steam against the 'skin' and puff up. Creating that air pocket. I find this is only really a problem when combined with number one. Given a good proofing and roll, this is less of an issue.

  3. Roll tight and even. If you roll slack, you'll end up with air pockets. Once those bake, the dough pushes further out and often appears to have a bit of a cascade effect. Make sure and roll tight to avoid air pockets.


Slash through the dough all the way to the filling. The slashes don't have to be large, but you do need to make sure that steam can escape. If you don't provide a vent for the steam, you're going to get a big pocket.

  • This totally depends on the filling.
    – rfusca
    Feb 24, 2012 at 23:13

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.