Cinnamon Raisin Bread


Finished photoThis is truly a Cinnamon Raisin Bread to be proud of.  Based on my Basic Sweet Yeast Dough, it is tall, tender and terrific.

I was recently in Chicago visiting my family.  I saw a bag of cinnamon raisin bread on their counter and had a piece for breakfast one day.  To my surprise, it was the best cinnamon raisin bread I ever had.  When I asked where it came from, you can imagine my surprise when I was told, “Walmart”!  Unfortunately, when I returned home and went to my Walmart, no such cinnamon raisin bread was to be found that even came close to the one I had.

So my task was clear.  Make a better cinnamon raisin bread – and I took this very seriously.  There is nothing I like more than working with yeast breads.  There is something magical in combining ingredients and watching them grow.  Several years ago I wanted to come up with my quintessential sweet yeast bread.  I used honey for sweetness and instant mashed potatoes to keep it soft for days.  Vanilla is used to enhance the flavor and the basic dough is used in more than a dozen sweet yeast bread and roll recipes, some familiar and some new.

I knew right away what the base bread would be for this Cinnamon Raisin Bread.  I tried the traditional cinnamon sugar bread route with granulated sugar and cinnamon enclosed in yeast bread  but I didn’t think it offered enough of the sought after taste.  Brown sugar  which has so much more flavor than granulated was the answer and lots of cinnamon.  The other thing I did was fill two rolls of dough and twist them together to swirl the flavor throughout the bread.  If you prefer the jelly roll style, that’s fine also.

This Cinnamon Raisin Bread needs no sweet icing or pats of butter to enhance it.  The plus is that is truly will last for several days on your counter if well wrapped.  It also freezes beautifully.

So, if you are a cinnamon raisin bread fanatic, or not, this is the bread for you!

Basic Sweet Yeast DoughIngredients
1 cup milk
4 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces (60 grams or 2 ounces)
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup potato flakes (14 grams or 1/2 ounce)
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons, 7 grams or 1/4 ounce)
1/4 cup water (90 to 100 degrees)
3 cups bread flour (454 grams or 1 pound)

Heat milk to simmering.  Remove from the heat and add the butter; stir until melted.  Butter meltingAdd the honey  Honey being addedand potato flakes. Potato Flakes inLiquids mixed Whisk all together.  Let cool to lukewarm.

In the meantime, break the egg into the mixing bowl, add the vanilla Eggs, vanilla inand whisk to blend completely.   I just use a hand whisk here.    Add the milk mixture when cooled to lukewarm.Liquid in eggs

Dissolve the yeast in the water Yeast risen in cupand add it to the liquid in the mixing bowl.Yeast added to liquid in mixing bowlFit the mixer with a dough hook.  Add the flour and salt all at once Flour in wet ingredientsand mix on medium until it forms a dough; Mixing in bowlcontinue mixing to knead the dough for 3 more minutes.   The dough will clean the side of bowl.Kneading in mixer 1Kneading in mixer 2The dough will be very soft and may  more like a batter; this is as it should be.  Do not add additional flour.  Spray a bowl at least twice the size of the yeast dough with cooking spray.  Shape the dough into a ball and place it in the bowl and spray the top lightly.Dough in bowl, ready to rise Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, mark the time on it Covered with time on itand let rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours in a wam place or until doubled in bulk.Dough risen

Punch the dough down and reshape into a ball. Risen dough deflated At this point the dough can be used immediately or it can be punched down and refrigerated up to 2 days before using.  The dough will probably rise again in the refrigerator; punch down, cover the surface tightly and directly with film.   Then cover the bowl itself with film.   Use when cold.

Food Processor Version – A slight change in the way the dough is put together gets the job done in a matter of minutes. All of the ingredients remain the same.  However, the butter should stay very cold and be cut into about 8 pieces.  Keep in the refrigerator until needed.  Continue as in above recipe omitting the butter in the hot milk but keeping everything else the same.  Cool the mixture completely.  Add the egg and dissolved yeast.

Place the flour and salt in the food processor fitted with the steel blade.  Pulse 3 or 4 times to mix.  Place the cold butter in a circle over the flour and process until it is so finely cut in it is indistinguishable.  With the machine running, pour the liquid mixture down the feed tube; process until mixed.  Process for 1 minute to knead.  Remove the dough and knead 10 to 15 times by hand to smooth out.   Place in a sprayed bowl and continue as directed.

Cinnamon Raisin BreadCinnamon Bread Ingredients 3/4 cup packed brown sugar (150 grams)
2 tablespoons cinnamon
3/4 cup raisins
3 tablespoons butter, melted (45 grams or 1 ½ ounces)
1 recipe Basic Sweet Yeast Bread, above
2 teaspoon butter, melted, optional

Spray a 9×5 loaf pan and line the bottom with parchment.  Spray the parchment.  Set aside.

Divide the brown sugar into two bowls (75 grams or 2 1/2 ounces each) and mix thoroughly with 1 tablespoon cinnamon each.  Set aside.Cinnamon Sugar in bowl

Cinnamon Sugar mixedDivide the dough in half (about 445 grams so just short of a pound each).  Roll one piece into a 11×14 inch rectangle.  Dough Rolled outBrush with half the butter and Brushing with butterspread  half the sugar/cinnamon and Cinnamon sugar spreadsprinkle with half the raisins.  Raisins onRoll tightly from the short end.   Rolling up 1Rolling up 2Rolling up 4Rolling up 5Pinch the edges togetherPinching 1Pinching together 2Pinched 3Pinched and also the ends. Pinching end Place in the refrigerator while you repeat this with the rest of the ingredients.

Place the two rolls next to each other and pinch the top edges together.  Pinching ends togetherTwist the two rolls togetherTwisting 2Twisting 3 Twisting 3and pinch the ends together.   Pinching twisted ends togetherPlace in the pan. In pan 3 Flatten the roll to fill out the pan.  Pressed in pan 3Cover with a towel Covered 3

and let rise for 1 to 1 1/2  hours until doubled.Shaped risen bread

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until the top is deeply brown and the loaf sounds hollow when thumped.  You can also use a thermometer to make sure it is 180 degrees inside.  Tent the top lightly if it is browning too much.

Brush the top with the 2 teaspoons of butter if desired.  Cool in the pan for about 30 minutes, release and cool on a rack completely.

This freezes well.   Wrap well  to freeze.Finished whole loaf

Pastry has not only been my profession, but my passion. If there is anything in particular you would like to see or any questions about baking or pastry, please let me know. Be sure to subscribe so you don't miss a post!
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12 thoughts on “Cinnamon Raisin Bread

  1. Paul Thomas

    Wow, what an incredible loaf! I love baking bread of any description and this will certainly go down a treat with the customers I cook/bake for daily. The one ingredient I’m not familiar with are potato flakes. What could I substitute with this? Many thanks

    1. hfletcher Post author

      Hi Paul: thanks for the kind words. The potato flakes are instant mashed potatoes. Instead of boiling a potato and mashing it, I simplified it by using instant mashed potatoes.

  2. Kim

    Such a beautiful loaf! I too like lots of cinnamon so this should be a winner. Very smart to twist the two together. Thanks for the post.

    1. hfletcher Post author

      Thanks Kim – One of the reasons I like yeast breads is there are so pliable. I hope you do try it – I think you will love it.

  3. Hilda

    Quantity on the raisins? They aren’t on the list of ingredients. Looks to be about 1/2 cup from the photo.

  4. Mari gold

    I have to make this for my grandson who is a cinnamon bread fanatic. Looks like making a babka. This looks like I need to make it for our cool day tomorrow. Thank you

    1. hfletcher Post author

      Hi Mari: Have fun with our grandson. I know I do with mine. Hilda pointed out I forgot the raisins so if you printed out the recipe, be sure to add 3/4 cup raisins to it.

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