Two things in particular will thrill you about The Sunday Baker Mark Beahm’s cinnamon raisin bread recipe: First, you’ll love how the bread tastes, of course. Second, you’ll love how it looks. This gorgeous rolled loaf of sweet and tasty bread is as much a delight to the eye as the taste buds — it’s one of those foodstuffs that will have your friends and family deeply impressed you made it yourself, if not outright incredulous you did so!
Speaking of taste, don’t write cinnamon raisin bread off as a sweet treat that must be reserved for a dessert or for tea time. "[Cinnamon raisin bread] toasted with butter is classic, but it’s also really good with cream cheese or peanut butter," says Beahm. "Peanut butter may not be the first thing that comes to mind for some, but I love peanut butter and cinnamon together." So you can enjoy this tasty loaf as a treat or snack but also as a part of breakfast or lunch. And of course if you want to spread on a bit of frosting or sprinkle on powdered sugar and embrace it as a sweet, that’s just fine too. As the recipe takes a few hours all in, what with some resting periods as the dough rises, let’s get to the baking now, and you can choose how and when to enjoy it later.
Gather the ingredients
There’s a very good chance you already have everything needed for this take on cinnamon raisin bread there in your kitchen already — it’s a perfect example of a recipe coming out great not because of any rare, fancy, or unusual ingredients, but rather because of how you use everyday ingredients.
For this bread, you’ll need bread flour, instant yeast, ground cinnamon (of course), raisins (ditto), salt, whole milk (which will be heated to 105 degrees Fahrenheit when you incorporate it into the recipe, for the record), an egg, honey, a good deal of unsalted butter, melted and divided, and some dark brown sugar.
Make the dough and then let it rest
As with so many fine bread recipes, most of the time involved with this one is spent waiting patiently for the dough to rise and proof properly. So plan ahead!
First, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment (or in a large mixing bowl), add the flour, yeast, salt, and 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon and stir to combine them all. Then add the milk, egg, honey, and 2 tablespoons of the melted butter, and mix everything on low speed to combine it fully, which will take about 30 seconds.
Now knead the dough until it’s smooth and elastic, which is about 5 minutes by mixer or about 8 minutes by hand. Once that’s done, add the raisins and continue to knead until they are evenly distributed.
Now transfer the dough to a clean mixing bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, and let the dough rise at room temperature until it has doubled in size, which will take about 1 hour.
Stretch then roll the dough into loaf shape
At the start of this step, carefully and completely grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan with butter. "Be sure to grease the loaf pan," says Beahm, as "some of the filling from the bread will leak out and can cause the bread to stick."
Next, lightly dust your work surface with flour. Now stretch the dough out to a rectangle about 8 inches by 16 inches in size, with the short side closest to you.
In a small bowl, combine the remaining 3 tablespoons of melted butter with the dark brown sugar and the remaining 2 tablespoons of cinnamon. "Using cinnamon in the dough and in the filling really ensures that the bread is infused with warm cinnamon flavor," Beahm says. Spread the cinnamon filling over the dough, leaving a 1-inch margin at the top.
Now roll the dough snugly into a log and pinch it together along seam, then place the dough seam-side down into the prepared loaf pan. Cover it with plastic wrap, and let the dough rise at room temperature for about 45 minutes. It should be about even with the rim of the loaf pan when ready. To check, "poke the dough with your finger," Beahm says. "If the dough springs back right away, it needs to proof longer. If the dough springs back slowly and leaves an indentation, then it’s ready for the oven."
Time to bake the bread
Shortly before the dough seems ready for baking, go ahead and preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and make sure a rack is placed near the center of the oven.
Once the oven is warmed, bake the loaf for 30 minutes, or until it is golden brown. Remove the bread from the oven and then use a knife or offset spatula to loosen the edges and turn the loaf out onto a wire rack. "Remove the loaf from the pan soon after taking it out of the oven," advises Beahm, adding: "Otherwise the filling that has leaked out will have a chance to set and make removing the loaf more difficult."
Allow the bread to cool completely before slicing it, and as for enjoying it, Beahm says: "The bread is best the day it is baked, but will keep for a few days at room temperature in a bread box or wrapped in foil. It can be frozen for up to 3 months as well."
- 2 ½ cups bread flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 ¼ teaspoons instant yeast (1 packet)
- 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon cinnamon, divided
- ⅔ cup whole milk, heated to 105 degrees Fahrenheit
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, divided
- ½ cup raisins
- ⅓ cup dark brown sugar
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, or in a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, yeast, and 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon.
- Add the milk, egg, honey, and 2 tablespoons of the melted butter, and mix on low speed to combine, about 30 seconds.
- Knead the dough until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes by mixer or about 8 minutes by hand.
- Add the raisins and continue to knead until evenly distributed.
- Transfer the dough to a clean mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let the dough rise at room temperature until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan with butter and lightly dust your work surface with flour.
- Stretch the dough out to a rectangle about 8 inches by 16 inches, with the short side closest to you.
- In a small bowl, combine the remaining 3 tablespoons of melted butter with the dark brown sugar and remaining 2 tablespoons of cinnamon, and spread the cinnamon filling over the dough, leaving a 1-inch margin at the top.
- Roll the dough snugly into a log and pinch together at the seam.
- Place the dough seam-side down into the prepared loaf pan, cover with plastic wrap, and let the dough rise at room temperature for about 45 minutes. It should be about even with the rim of the loaf pan after time has elapsed.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Bake the loaf for 30 minutes, or until golden brown, then remove the bread from the oven and use a knife or offset spatula to loosen the edges.
- Turn the loaf out onto a wire rack and allow it to cool completely before slicing.
- Serve slices of the cinnamon raisin bread with the topping of your choosing and enjoy!