The only times in life that I voluntarily eat raisins are in bagels, and cinnamon raisin bread. Don’t try sneaking them in with peanuts and m&m’s in trail mix either…I will waste precious eating-time picking them out. However, put them in a deliciously warm baked good and I’m on board. If only you could smell this bread baking, along with the sound of our squeaky screen door on this holiday weekend at our cabin, you’d want to eat the whole loaf also. If you’re feeling really reckless, top it with some Cinnamon Honey Butter (recipe follows), or make French Toast with it, or just eat it plain. It’s tastier than a cinnamon roll if you ask my Hubby, and he knows what he’s talking about. Most of the time. Enjoy!
Cinnamon-Swirl Raisin Bread
Credit: Bread, by Williams-Sonoma
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 ¼ cups warm water (105°-115°F)
1 cup warm milk (105°-115°F)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
1 tablespoon salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
6-6 ¼ cups bread flour, plus extra as needed
¾ cup golden raisins (I omitted these)
¾ cup dark raisins
For the filling:
2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar mixed with 4 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon (My favorite cinnamon is Vietnamese Extra Fancy Cinnamon from Penzey’s Spices.)
1. In a bowl, sprinkle the yeast and a pinch of the granulated sugar over ½ cup of the water and stir to dissolve. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. (Mine took 12-13 minutes)
2. In a heavy-duty mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the remaining water, the milk, melted butter, remaining granulated sugar, salt, egg, and 2 cups of the flour. Beat on medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Add the yeast mixture and 1/2 cup of the flour and beat for 1 minute. Add the raisins, then beat in the remaining flour, ½ cup at a time, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
3. Switch to the dough hook. Knead on medium-low speed, adding flour 1 tablespoon at a time if the dough sticks, until smooth and elastic, about 4 minutes. Transfer the dough to a greased deep bowl, and turn to coat it. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let it rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, 1-1 ½ hours.
4. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of two 9-by-5 inch loaf pans. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board. Divide the dough in half and roll or pat each half into an 8-by-12 inch rectangle. Lightly sprinkle each rectangle with half of the filling, leaving a 1-inch border on all sides. Beginning at a narrow end, tightly roll up each rectangle into a compact log. Pinch the ends and the long seam to seal in the filling. Place each log, seam side down, in a prepared pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until about 1 inch above the rim of each pan, 1-1 ½ hours.
5. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake until the loaves are golden brown and pull away from the sides of the pan, 35-40 minutes. Turn out onto racks and let cool completely. (If you don’t let them cool completely before slicing, you’ll have a sticky mess on your hands, albeit delicious, but you’ll have lost most of your cinnamon sugar filling.)
Cinnamon Honey Butter
This compound butter is amazing on rolls at Thanksgiving, or on waffles for breakfast, or on any of your favorite baked goods!
3 tablespoons good honey
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt