After eating the yummy Raisin Bran Cereal, we were inspired to bake some cinnamon raisin bread. We searched for some recipes and most require you to rest the bread over night. Being too excited to bake and eat it immediately, we found recipes that you can make that day. We found two nice recipes, combined both and made our very first cinnamon raisin swirl bread! It yields two loaves and we gobbled it up in two days! Sooooo yummy~! We baked this when my sister came to visit us and since it’s one of my dad’s fave breads, we decided we’d bake him one for his birthday! You can use your hands or a stand mixer for this recipe. Whenever we see recipes that say you can use a stand mixer, we are reminded to add onto our wish list: Kenmore Titanium Major KMM023.
3½ cups unbleached bread flour
4 teaspoons granulated sugar
1¼ teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1¼ teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 large egg, slightly beaten
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup buttermilk at room temperature (I make my own version of buttermilk by filling the measuring cup about 98% full, then adding 2% of vinegar in it. I usually use rice vinegar because that’s what I always have on hand.)
¾ cup water, at room temperature
1½ cups raisins, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 large egg beaten with 2 teaspoons warm water
1. Put the raisins in a small bowl and cover them with hot water. Let the raisins plump for at least 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
2. Stir together the flour, sugar, salt, yeast, and cinnamon in a mixing bowl. Add the egg, shortening, buttermilk, and water. Stir together with a large spoon (or mix on low speed with the paddle attachment) until the ingredients come together and form a ball. Adjust with flour or water if the dough seems too sticky or too dry and stiff.
3. Sprinkle flour on a counter, transfer the dough to the counter, and begin kneading (or mixing on medium speed, switching to the dough hook). The dough should be soft and pliable, tacky but not sticky. Add flour as you knead (or mix), if necessary, to achieve this texture. Knead by hand for approximately 10 minutes (or by machine for 6 to 8 minutes).
4. Toss the raisins with a few tablespoons of flour to absorb any residual moisture from when they were plumped. We recommend that you finish kneading by hand to distribute it evenly without crushing the raisins too much. Turn the dough out onto your work surface and pat it into an oval. Sprinkle about a third of the raisins over the top and fold the dough like a letter. Pat it into an oval again, sprinkle half the remaining raisins, and fold it again. Pat it into an oval again and sprinkle the remaining raisins. Knead the dough by hand for a few minutes to distribute the raisins through the dough. (If you’re using a mixer, with the mixer on, gradually add them to the bowl and continue kneading until they are evenly distributed.) You can also choose to save some raisins and sprinkle them over the dough along with the cinnamon sugar later. The dough should pass the windowpane test and register 77 to 81 degrees F.
5. Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Ferment at room temperature for approximately 2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size. Meanwhile, combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and beat together the egg and water in a second bowl.
6. Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces and form them into loaves. Working with one piece at a time, roll the dough out on the counter. It should be slightly less wide than your baking pan and as long as you can make it. The thinner the dough, the more layers of crazy-good cinnamon swirl you’ll end up with. If the dough starts to shrink back on you, let it rest for a few minutes and then try again. Brush the entire surface of the dough with egg wash, leaving about two inches clear at the top. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon and sugar. Starting at the end closest to you, roll up the dough. When you get to the top, pinch the seam closed. Transfer the loaf to your loaf pan seam-side down. Repeat with the other half of the dough.
7. Place each loaf in a lightly oiled 8½ by 4½-inch pan, mist the tops with spray oil, and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Proof at room temperature (fancy way of saying let the loaves rise) until the loaf has mounded over the top of the pan and pillowy and is nearly doubled in size. It can take around 30-40 or 60 – 90 minutes. It’s winter and our home is drafty so it’s taken longer. When we made it at my parents, it took a lot shorter because it’s quite warm in the home. Halfway through rising, preheat the oven to 375° F with the oven rack on the middle shelf.
8. Brush the top with some of the remaining egg wash. If desired, sprinkle some of your remaining cinnamon-sugar over the tops of the loaves as well. Bake for 40-45 minutes until golden brown. Depending upon your oven, you may need to bake the loaves for 20 minutes, then rotate the pan 180 degrees and continue baking for another 20 to 30 minutes for even baking. The finished breads should make a hollow sound when thumped on the bottom. (This is my husband’s role!) It should be golden brown and look scrumptious!
9. Immediately remove the breads from their pans. Mix together the granulated sugar and ground cinnamon for the topping in a shallow plate. Brush the tops of the loaves with melted butter as soon as they come out of the bread pans, and then roll them in the cinnamon sugar. Cool loaves on a rack for at least 1 hour, preferably 2 hours (cool completely) before slicing or serving.
We love baking and freezing homemade bread. It goes into our freezer as a “reserve” so when we’re too busy or super hungry, we can pull it out and eat it! This particular bread, baked, can be frozen up to three months.