Cinnamon Raisin Bread
This Cinnamon Raisin Bread is one of the simplest breads you can make at home from scratch, and it’s loaded with wonderful cinnamon flavor and juicy raisins. It’s completely free of preservatives and dough conditioners, and is wonderful simply sliced or toasted with butter.
Homemade bread takes a bit of work and time, but to me it’s always worth it. I’d rather make my own instead of buying one of those 3-week shelf stable loaves that has 50 unpronounceable ingredients instead of 5.
What I do to make things easier is have a “bread baking day” from time to time where I’ll bake several different loaves at once, then store them in the freezer. It lasts me quite a while.
To those who read my Apple Pie Panini post, this is my recipe for Homemade Cinnamon Swirl Raisin Bread that I used for the sandwich. This cinnamon raisin bread is adapted from my plain sandwich bread post.
If you’re not a fan of raisins, feel free to leave them out and simply enjoy the cinnamon sugar swirl. It won’t affect the baking results at all!
What’s really nice about this cinnamon raisin bread recipe is there’s not a lot of special requirements. We’ll use all-purpose flour instead of bread flour, and other ingredients that are probably already in your pantry.
Tips for Best Results
Resist the urge to add more flour – The more flour you add, the denser your cinnamon raisin bread will be. This is true of all bread. The dough here will be slightly sticky, but this is what gives us a lighter crumb, so be mindful about adding more flour.
Don’t rush the initial rise – You will need about an hour for the dough to double in size, but if your kitchen is cool, it could potentially need two hours. Be patient. This is the time the yeast needs to put the gas bubbles in the dough, which helps the end result be lighter rather than denser.
Get the good cinnamon – Ground cinnamon varies hugely in quality and potency, and ideally you want a good quality Ceylon cinnamon for this so the aroma and flavor really sing. My absolute favorite is King Arthur Flour’s Vietnamese cinnamon.
Step by Step Overview:
Start by stirring together warm milk, butter, yeast, and a little honey, and let it sit for 10 minutes until foamy:
Instant yeast is preferred, but you may also use active dry yeast if that’s all you have.
Also, I prefer honey for its flavor, and I love its qualities for bread. However, you may also substitute white sugar or maple syrup instead.
Combine this liquid with all-purpose flour, eggs, salt, and raisins in the bowl of a stand mixer, and knead with the dough hook attachment for 10 minutes:
Go Fancy with the Raisins
This recipe works great with the standard, smaller raisins that you find at any grocery store. However, feel free to go fancy with the raisins if you’d like! You can try a medley, use jumbo golden or flame raisins, or whatever variety you prefer. Trader Joe’s has some great choices.
Let this soft, sticky dough double in size, covered, and ideally in a warm place. This doubling should take an hour or two (and if your kitchen is as cold as mine is right now, it will take two)!
I also do this right in the stand mixer bowl, instead of transferring to a greased bowl.
Once the dough has risen, it should look stretchy and strand-like, like this:
Remove the dough and stretch it out into a rectangle on a lightly floured surface, trying to add as little flour as possible:
Make the cinnamon filling by mixing together melted butter, brown sugar, and tons of good cinnamon:
Spread the cinnamon filling all over the rectangle, then tightly roll it up:
Pinch the seam shut at the end, then place the dough roll in a standard 9×5 butter greased loaf pan:
Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let the dough rise for about an hour, until it rises above the top of the pan:
Into the oven it goes until it comes out a deep golden brown on the top:
If at any point the top of the bread starts to look too golden, you can either cover it with aluminum foil or parchment paper, or move it down to a lower rack.
If you have a thermometer, check that the internal temperature is at least 190F. It’s fully baked when it’s between 190 and 200 degrees F.
After baking, let the bread cool completely on a wire rack before slicing it. If you slice into it too early, the bread will not cut as cleanly, and it may be gummier than it should be on the inside. The cooling stage is an essential part of the process.
How to Serve
Once your delicious cinnamon raisin bread has cooled, you can slice it up and eat it toasted with salted butter, which is such a nice contrast to the sweet raisins and cinnamon. Or make this glorious Apple Pie Panini with it. When I have it, I like spreading it with Homemade Orange Honey Butter.
Recipe Tips and FAQ
Keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days, in the fridge for 10 days, or in the freezer for 3 months.
Store in an airtight container for up to 3 months. To thaw, leave in the fridge overnight, or on the counter for 1 to 2 hours.
The toaster is best, cut in slices. However, you may also re-warm the whole loaf in a 300F oven for about 10 minutes, until warmed through.
Certainly not all of it, though you may be able to get away with swapping out half of the all-purpose for whole wheat. Expect the crumb to be much denser. You cannot develop as much gluten with whole wheat flour, so it’s not recommended.
Cinnamon Raisin Bread
For the dough:
- 1 cup whole milk
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter melted
- 3 tbsp honey
- 2.25 tsp instant or quick rise yeast (you may also use active dry)
- 17.5 ounces by weight all-purpose flour (3.5 cups, measured)*
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup raisins**
- butter for greasing the pan
For the cinnamon filling:
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 tbsp ground cinnamon***
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter melted
- 1/8 tsp salt
- Combine the milk, melted butter, and honey in a microwave safe glass.
- Heat the liquid in the microwave**** to 110 to 115 degrees F, then stir in the yeast. Let this mixture sit for 10 minutes, until foamy.
- Pour the yeast liquid into the bowl of a stand mixer, and add the flour, salt, eggs, and raisins.
- Stir it around with a wooden spoon or the dough hook of the mixer until roughly combined.
- Fit the stand mixer with the dough hook, and knead for 10 minutes on medium low speed.
- Cover the dough bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise for one to two hours, until doubled in size.
- Lightly flour your countertop and spread the dough into a rectangle that is the length of your loaf pan (I use a standard 9x5inch pan). It doesn't have to be perfect.
- Make the cinnamon filling by stirring together the brown sugar, cinnamon, butter, and salt.
- Spread this mixture all over the top of the dough rectangle, then roll the dough up like a cinnamon roll, and pinch the seam shut.
- Grease a 9×5 loaf pan with butter, and place the bread roll seam side down into the pan.
- Cover the loaf with plastic wrap and let it rise for 60 minutes, until the dough has risen past the top of the loaf pan.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F, and place a sheet pan on the lowest shelf of the oven. Add enough boiling water to cover the bottom of the sheet pan, then bake the bread on the shelf above the water for 40-50 minutes until the inside registers 190 to 200 degrees on an instant read thermometer.
- Let the bread cool completely on a wire rack before slicing it. Enjoy!
- Storing: since there are no preservatives, the bread will only keep for a few days at room temperature. I recommend freezing any unused bread.
Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.
Post updated in September 2018. Originally published November 2013.