Cinnamon Swirl Raisin Bread

A while back I posted my standard cinnamon raisin bread, a recipe mostly gleaned from a standard bread machine book, and a good recipe it is.

But this one is a little prettier with a finer crumb and an elegant look.

(And now Cassie cannot complain about not seeing a new recipe. At least I know 1 person keeping me on task.)

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It also takes a longer to make with seemingly more complicated steps for who-knows-what good reasons. But sometimes baking goes beyond reason and into crumb madness. Into toothsome nirvana. Into that priceless satisfaction of seeing something come out of the oven that is entirely your creation, that just a few hours before was bland dry elements and ingredients and is now something utterly different. Magic!

This recipe uses a kind of enriched sweet dough with a different kind of filling.

You should use your standing mixer for this one to incorporate the butter pieces. Somehow combining the butter into the dough after it comes together makes for some kind of textural drama.This instead of just adding melted butter or oil.

The first step is making the dough.

Then the filling.

Then the shaping and baking.

Then just eating. And eating. And eating.

Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread


  • 8 Tablespoons (1 stick) butter
  • 3 3/4 cups bread flour, plus some extra
  • 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon yeast
  • 1 cup  milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Filling:
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • egg wash

1) Cut the cube of butter into lots of little pieces and toss with about 1 Tablespoon of flour. Set aside to soften.
2) In a small saucepan, heat the milk until steamy. This helps scald the milk, which kills enzymes that might inhibit yeast growth. (This is why the original recipe calls for dry milk, which I do not regularly carry. Dry milk is missing this enzyme.) Pour in the cool water which will help cool the milk. You want to make sure the milk is not over 110 degrees or it will kill the yeast.
3) In the mixing bowl, put the flour, sugar and yeast and whisk. Add the cooled milk/water mixture with the egg. Using a wooden spoon, start mixing the liquids with the dry goods. Add the dough hook and let it run on medium low until it is a cohesive mass, about 2 minutes.
4) Cover with plastic wrap and let sit 20 minutes.
5) Prepare 2 8″ Loaf pans by oiling the pans.Set aside.
6) Set your oven rack to the middle. Put another loaf or cake pan on the bottom rack. (This mystery will be revealed soon.)
7) Now wake the dough up again. Turn the mixer on, mixing on medium low and mix until the dough is smooth and elastic, anywhere from 7-15 minutes. It should be clearing the sides of the bowl.
8) Then start adding in the butter, bits at a time as it continues to mix. The original recipe actually said to break the butter up into 32 pieces! Really? They counted? I just  cut it down the middle, turned and cut again, the diced it from the end. Whatever. Oh, wait. 4 x 8 is 32, huh. Okay. You can add flour as needed to keep it supple and just clearing the sides of the bowl. Resist adding too much. It will make a tough dry crumb if you add too much.
9) This will take 3-5 minutes to incorporate the butter fully. Then add the raisins and mix for another minute.
10) Using a bowl scraper, or rubber spatula, fold dough over itself by gently lifting and folding edge of dough toward middle. Turn bowl 90 degrees; fold again. Turn bowl and fold dough 6 more times (total of 8 folds).         11) Cover tightly with plastic and transfer to the middle rack of the oven.
12) Pour 3 cups of boiling water into the cake or loaf pan on the bottom rack, close the oven door and let the dough rise for about 45 minutes. (No other loaves of bread I make call for this. Wonder why?)
13) Take dough out and gently deflate. Repeat folding steps 8 times, cover and let rise again 45 minutes. This is going to give it a fine crumb.
14) Whisk filling ingredients together and set aside. (I have never seen powdered sugar used in filling before. But it has corn starch in it, which would help keep filling in-tact.
15) Divide the dough into 2 pieces.
16) Now here is the Chinese puzzle part of this. “Working with 1 piece of dough, pat into rough 6 by 11-inch rectangle. With short side facing you, fold long sides in like business letter to form 3 by 11-inch rectangle. Roll dough away from you into ball. Dust ball with flour and flatten with rolling-pin into 7 by 18-inch rectangle with even ¼-inch thickness.”
Or skip this and just roll into a rectangle.

17) Use a water spritzer to mist the dough. Spread with half the filling into it. Spritz more water. Just  a light speckling, not a drenching.
18) Roll up starting at short edge. Pinch edge shut so it wont unravel. Dust lightly with flour and let sit while you do the other loaf. (Whew! Are you still with me?)
19) Take one loaf and you are going to cut it in half, down the long way and lay it cut side up, hoping it wont open up too much. Gently stretch to about 14″ long.
125) Lay the pieces side by side and pinch one set of ends together. Now you twist. Lift one side over the other and keep going, round and round, pinching the ends when you get there. Tuck in or remove any wayward raisins. Lay into the bread pan. Might I suggest, now that it’s too late, that you could put some parchment in the pan, overlapping at the sides, to make it easier to remove later, what with sticky filling leaking and all. (Helpful huh?)
151) Do other loaf. Let rise about 45  minutes in cool oven. Remove it  so you can preheat oven at this point, removing the water pan on bottom rack as well (you wont need any more) and continue to let rise another 45 minutes on  your counter top until it is about 1″ over the top of the pan.
200) Crack another egg in a bowl with a pinch of salt or sugar and mix. This is an egg wash. You could also add a teaspoon of milk or water, whisk it together and it is also still called an egg wash.
201) Wash the loaves with this egg wash. (Brush it over the loaves).
202) Bake until well browned, about 25 minutes. Lower heat to 325 and continue another 15-20 minutes, until the loaves are about 190-200 degrees.
6) Let cool for 5 minutes, then remove from pans. Let cool before slicing, if you can.

I kid you not, it would have taken me less time to make this danged bread than it did to type this all up. Since I do not have a cool recipe format on this theme, I have to use another application that kept mysteriously erasing my directions. Like they were not already the longest directions ever given in one of  my posts.

I really do not  expect anyone of the planet to make this bread from this recipe.


But it does make amazing bread. If you could understand my writing, it would work. It was wonderful bread. But then, for the average everyday sort of bread, this cinnamon raising bread from the dough cycle of the bread machine would make do. It usually makes us very happy. I just had to make one that was much longer and more complicated as well. Maybe to prove that I could. Perhaps to challenge myself. Or because I am just nuts.

I am keeping in mind that this evening I burnt to death the onion strings that I meant to use on our french dip sandwiches (just meant to keep the warm and crisp), cut the dickens out of my finger (am afraid to look under the band-aid) and then burnt the first batch of buns I was broiling. (Now don’t even try to tell me you’ve never done that!)

Perhaps tonight was not a night to do anything more complicated than brushing my teeth and going to an early bed. Its 9:23. I will take my mangled finger and trot off to bed now that I have put this post to rest.

I hope you all had a good night.

The sandwiches  and fries and salad turned out fab though. I just had to caramelize up some red onion, hence the cutting of the finger.

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