Cinnamon-Swirl Raisin Bread

I can’t imagine that there could possibly be anyone out there who doesn’t like cinnamon raisin bread. While I would agree that making it at home might seem like a daunting task, this was surprisingly easy. I am thankful that Lindsay and I decided to make this together because there is a lot of down time waiting for the dough to rise, and we each got a loaf!

Ingredients (makes 2 loaves)

  • 2 cups of dark raisins
  • Canola oil for greasing the bowl
  • 4 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour; more for dusting
  • 6 tablespoons of granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons of ground cinnamon
  • 1 packet (1/4 oz.) of instant yeast
  • 2 teaspoons of fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup of whole milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 7 tablespoons of unsalted butter, softened; more for greasing the pans

Mix the Dough

Put the raisins in a small bowl and add enough hot tap water to cover them. Let sit for 5 minutes; drain and set aside.

Lightly oil a large bowl. In a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour, 2 tablespoons each of sugar and cinnamon, the yeast, and salt. Combine on low speed, about 1 minutes. Add the milk, egg, 3 tablespoons of butter, and 3/4 cup room temperature water. Mix on medium speed, scraping the bowl as necessary, until the dough comes together, about 1 minutes. Increase the speed to medium high and continue to mix until the dough is smooth, slightly sticky, and clinging to the hook, about 5 minutes. Scrape down the dough hook with your hand, and remove the bowl. Gently knead in the raisins by hand, just until incorporated.

Let the Dough Rise

Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface, roll it into a ball, and put it in the oiled bowl. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature until the dough looks slightly puffy, about 30 minutes. Pour yourself a nice cup of coffee, and wait.

On a well-floured surface, use your hands to flatten and spread the dough out until it’s about 3/4 inch thick. Fold the dough in half from top to bottom, then in half again from left to right. Return the dough to the bowl, cover, and let sit until it has risen slightly, about 30 minutes more. Get that second cup of coffee ready.

Make the Cinnamon Filling

Generously grease two 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch loaf pans with butter. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 4 tablespoons each of cinnamon and sugar; set aside. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Divide the dough in half. Roll each ball into a rectangle large enough to fit into your pan when rolled. Once you have two rectangular pieces of dough, brush each with the melted butter and divide and sprinkle with the sugar and cinnamon mixture. Grease the bread pans. Roll the dough to form a log and place in each bread pan.

Let the uncooked loaves rest at room temperature for 60 – 90 minutes. By this time you might be getting impatient with all of the waiting. I suggest drinking something stronger than coffee to help pass the time, like a nice bottle of wine.

Bake the Bread

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375.

Bake the loaves, rotating and swapping the positions of the pans halfway through baking, until dark brown and hollow-sounding when thumped on the top, about 30 – 35 minutes. The bread will be very hard. Don’t get scared. Transfer the loaves in their pans to a rack and brush with the remaining 2 tablespoons of melted butter.

When cook enough to handle, remove the loaves from the pans.

Source: Fine Cooking Magazine – Feb/March 2012

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