A buoyant loaf of Cinnamon Swirl Raisin Bread seems like a festive bread for the Easter season. It has the flavors of hot cross buns – raisins and cinnamon – with 30% stone-ground whole wheat for flavor and fiber. The dough comes together quickly then minds its own business rising for a few hours. I’ve been eating it toasted for breakfast every day. But it would be fun as the base for a ham or turkey sandwich or layered with pickled carrots and mashed avocado.

There are a few pointers for making this dough.  When adding dried fruits to bread dough it is important to condition the fruit.  Conditioning is done by soaking the fruit in boiling water. The short soak plumps the raisins so that they stay soft in the dough. Conditioning also keeps your bread dough from drying out.  Dried fruit sucks out moisture in the dough leaving gaps and hard spots throughout the bread.

Mix this dough using a stand mixer and give it a good workout because the whole wheat flour develops its elasticity with a thorough kneading.  You’ll get a springy dough with great promise.

You can see the plump raisins in this bucket of dough after 3 hours rising.

plump raisins in this bucket of dough

I prefer to work without added flour so I work on a silicone baking mat. (You run your hands under tap water, shake them off then gather the dough into a ball.) If you prefer, dust your work table with a mist of flour and lightly flour your hands before working with the dough.

work on a silicone baking mat

The soft dough shouldn’t be too sticky and is easy to pat out into a large rectangle.

easy to pat out into a large rectangle

Then you can sprinkle the dough with a generous layer of cinnamon sugar.  (Finely chopped walnuts could be added too.)

sprinkle the dough with a generous layer of cinnamon sugar

Roll the dough up into a tight log.

Roll the dough up into a tight log

Tuck the ends in before placing the dough into your loaf pan.

Tuck the ends in before placing the dough into your loaf pan

Because the risen dough gets sticky, I lightly dust its surface with rice flour. This make its easier to score the dough with a serrated knife before baking.

score the dough with a serrated knife before baking

Kitchen Notebook

I baked this loaf using and Emile Henry Covered Loaf Baker. It is a clay mold with lid. The lid traps steam giving the bread a thin crust.  You can read more about it here.


Cinnamon Swirl Raisin Bread

Yield: 1 Loaf

Cinnamon Swirl Raisin Bread

A buoyant loaf of Cinnamon Swirl Raisin Bread seems like a festive bread for the Easter season. It has the flavors of hot cross buns – raisins and cinnamon – with 30% stone-ground whole wheat for flavor and fiber. The dough comes together quickly then minds its own business rising for a few hours. I’ve been eating it toasted for breakfast every day. But it would be fun as the base for a ham or turkey sandwich or layered with pickled carrots and mashed avocado.

Ingredients

4 ¾ ounces (1 cup) raisins
9 fluid ounces (1 cup + 2 Tablespoons) water, 90°F
1 egg
1 Tablespoon dark brown sugar
2 Tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon instant yeast
5 ounces (1 cup) King Arthur stone-ground whole wheat flour
9 ½ ounces (2 cups) King Arthur all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons granulated sugar

Directions

  1. Cover the raisins with boiling water. Let them sit 5 minutes then drain the raisins in a colander.
  2. Place the water, egg, sugar, butter and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Stir just to break up the egg yolk and moisten the yeast. Add the flours and salt.
  3. Mix on medium speed for a minute or two until the dough comes together. Stop the machine. Scrape down the sides of the bowl then knead on medium speed for 4 to 5 minutes.
  4. Add the raisins and knead for another minute or two until they are blended into the dough.
  5. Place the dough into a bowl. Cover and let the dough ferment and rise for 2 to 3 hours.
  6. Lightly grease a 9-inch X 5-inch loaf pan.
  7. Scrape the dough out onto a silicone baking mat. Use moist hands to form the dough into a ball then flatten it out into a rectangle, about 10 x 12 inches. Combine the cinnamon and sugar. Sprinkle it evenly over the surface of the flattened dough. Roll the dough up into a tight log. Place it in the pan, tucking the ends under if the log is too long to fit into the pan.
  8. Let the dough proof until it has expanded 1 ½ times in size and crests the bread pan, for approximately 45 minutes to an hour.
  9. Thirty minutes before baking, place a small pan for water on the lowest oven rack. Position a second rack in the middle of your oven. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  10. Sprinkle the surface of the loaf with rice or all-purpose flour. Slash the top of the dough in one long stroke with a serrated knife.
  11. Place the pan on the middle rack in the oven. Pour about ½ cup of hot water into the pan on the bottom of the oven. Bake until well risen, golden brown, for 40 to 45 minutes. It will make a hollow sound when tapped on the bottom.
  12. Cool on a wire rack before slicing.

Notes

I baked the loaf pictured here in an Emile Henry Covered Loaf Baker. It gives the bread a golden crust. Because there is a lid, you don’t need to add steam to the oven. When using the covered baker, preheat the oven to 450°F. Butter the mold and dust it lightly with flour before using.