There has been a cool breeze in the air all week and I have to say it’s getting me excited for fall! It’s funny how the change of seasons is always so exciting whether it be the first snowfall, the first sunny days in the spring, or the first scorching weeks in the summer. While summer is definitely one of the most enjoyable seasons in Canada (let’s face it….we don’t have too many enjoyable seasons here…especially in Ottawa when 4 months of frostbite rolls around :|), I have always had a soft spot for fall. While summer desserts tend to focus more around fresh flavours, fall brings back warm flavours and comforting ingredients like spices, apples, and pumpkin. I don’t doubt that I will have a boatload of pumpkin recipes to share with you soon, but for now I’ll begin to ease you into the new season with some cinnamon raisin swirl bread…aka the best bread EVERRR!
I actually made this bread for the first time sometime early this year. Despite my constant failures with yeast, I was determined to try again with this recipe, because I was dying to create a homemade version of one of my favourite childhood treats, cinnamon raisin toast. The recipe is not difficult, but does take a bit of time due to the rising time. The first time I made it I started it way too late and it didn’t come out of the oven until midnight. It didn’t seem to stop us from consuming almost half the loaf while it around was still warm though, this stuff is SOO good! I honestly couldn’t believe I made a loaf of bread that tasted and LOOKED like one from the store. It was way too good to be true. If I can do it, you can too!
I made this recipe again when we went to visit my Mom a few weeks ago. We couldn’t help but eat almost an entire loaf between 3 of us while it was still warm. I’m telling you, it’s dangerous! The recipe makes two loaves of bread, you can cut it in half to make just one, but you’ll regret it when you eat the whole loaf in 10 minutes! You can always wrap the second loaf in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil and freeze it for later…or you can just eat it and call it a day.
If you’re like me and nervous about baking with yeast, give this a try, you will be pleasantly surprised!! I’m planning to try a savoury cheese version of this bread ASAP. Next time maybe one cinnamon, one cheese? Mmmmm….make me some of this bread now pleaaseeee..?
*My notes are for kneading the dough by hand, but if you are lucky enough to have a stand mixer, you can use the dough hook to do the kneading and to incorporate the raisins, making it even easier!
Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread
From The Kitchn
- 1 cup raisins
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 tbsp active dry yeast
- 1 cup milk
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 2 tsp salt
- 5 1/2 -6 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 egg, beaten with 2 tsp warm water
Put the raisins in a bowl and cover with hot water. Let them plump for at least 10 minutes. Drain and set aside. Reserve soaking water.
Pour 1 cup of water (use the water used to soak the raisins, just make sure it’s cooled to room temp) into a large bowl. Sprinkle the yeast over top. Let it sit for a few minutes, then stir to fully dissolve the yeast into the water.
Add the milk, melted butter, and salt into the water. Add 5 1/2 cups of the flour and stir to form a shaggy dough. Knead by hand for 8-10 minutes to form a smooth, slightly tacky dough. If the dough is very sticky, add a tbsp of flour at a time just until it is workable. The dough is ready when it quickly springs back when poked.
Toss the raisins in a few tablespoons of flour to absorb any moisture.
Turn the dough out onto your work surface and press it into an oval. Sprinkle half the raisins over the dough and fold it like a letter. Press it into an oval again, sprinkle the remaining raisins, and fold it again. Knead the dough for a few minutes to distribute the raisins.
Return the dough to the bowl and cover with a towel. Let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about an hour. In the meantime, combine the sugar and cinnamon in a one bowl and beat together the egg and water in a another bowl.
Split the dough into two pieces. Working with one piece at a time, roll the dough out on the counter. Roll it slightly less wide than your baking pan and as long as you can make it.
Brush the surface of the dough with the egg wash, leaving about two inches clear at the top. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon and sugar. Starting at the end closest to you, roll the dough. When it’s rolled, pinch the seams closed. Transfer to a loaf pan seam-side down. Repeat with the other half of the dough.
Let the loaves rise until they pillow out over the top of the pans, 30-40 minutes. Halfway through rising, preheat the oven to 375° F.
Brush the top with some of the remaining egg wash. Bake for 40-45 minutes until golden brown.
Remove the loaves from the pans and allow them to cool completely before slicing (Good luck with that part!! haha)