Somehow, against all the odds, it did work. In fact, it worked really really well. It made a great big beautiful puffy loaf. It filled the house with wonderful smells and produced the most amazing grilled cheeses and convinced me that maybe this whole make-bread-at-home thing is actually doable.
What I forgot to mention is that I made more than just cheesy jalapeno bread with that recipe. I also made this sweet, cinnamon swirl bread. That’s the beauty of this recipe–it makes two loaves of bread, so if you want one cheesy and one cinnamon-y or one garlicky and one herby, you can totally do that. You can make two completely different loaves of bread with one simple recipe.
I have this thing with Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread. I love it. I crave it. I don’t buy it often, but when I do, it’s all I want for breakfast, snacks, and dessert. There’s just something so incredibly homey and comforting about a slice of toasted cinnamon raisin bread. It’s nostalgic–the soft, doughy bread giving way to plump, juicy raisins and spicy cinnamon. The butter melting into every pocket, the heady smell of yeast mingling with cinnamon. Gah! I’m getting hungry just talking (writing) about it.
You’ll follow the same methods of this bread as for the cheesy jalapeno bread. The only change you’ll make is to sprinkle the dough with cinnamon and sugar and raisins and butter rather than jalapenos and cheddar. This version seems to behave a little better than the jalapenos and cheese. For the most part, the raisins stay in place and don’t go flying when you start braiding the dough. If they do, you can just tuck them on top at the end, but be sure to give them a good scolding first.
I always like to soak my raisins before I bake with them so they don’t get dry and chewy. For this bread, I soaked them bourbon, because, well, I like bourbon. The flavor isn’t strong at all once it’s baked, but you can always just use hot water to soak the raisins instead.
Give this one a try. I don’t know if there’s anything better than enjoying a slice of sweet cinnamon bread, lightly toasted, and slathered with butter. And if you want to sprinkle a little extra cinnamon sugar on top, I won’t judge. In fact, I think I’ll join you.
Note: This recipe makes 2 loaves of bread. If you're just doing the cinnamon raisin for one loaf, divide filling ingredients in half, and experiment with different fillings for the other loaf.
794 grams (6½ cups) bread flour
2 tsp. fine salt
5 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 cup lukewarm water
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. lukewarm milk
1½ Tbsp. fast rise yeast
¼ cup melted, unsalted butter
1 cup raisins (I used a mix of golden and regular)
1 cup bourbon and water for soaking
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 stick butter, softened
Cinnamon (approximately 2 Tablespoons)
Place the raisins in a bowl with the water and allow them to soak while you make the bread. Drain before adding to the recipe.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together the flour, salt and sugar. (I usually don’t weigh my ingredients, but for bread I like to. If you don’t have a scale, hold back one cup of the flour until the end then add if needed).
In a large measuring cup, combine the water and milk. Whisk in the yeast until dissolved. Add the yeast mixture and the melted butter to the dry ingredients. Use the dough hook to beat the mixture until it begins to form a cohesive structure or about 2 minutes. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes.
Continue to mix the dough, adding additional flour or water if needed. The final texture should be soft and springy. If you touch it with you finger, it should feel tacky, but you shouldn’t have to struggle to get your finger out.
Place the dough on a generously floured surface and knead for a couple of minutes, then form dough into a ball. Place the dough in a large lightly oiled bowl and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Put in a warm spot to rise until doubled in size (usually 60-90 minutes). Alternatively, you can refrigerate the dough and allow it to rise overnight. If you refrigerate, be sure to remove the dough and allow it to come to room temperature before proceeding with the remaining steps.
Divide the dough in half. Turn it out onto the floured surface and use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll each portion into a 10 by 16 inch rectangle. If the dough springs back, just allow it to rest for 5-15 minutes then come back and try it again.
Spread each half of the dough with 2 Tablespoons of the softened butter, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1/2 cup drained raisins. Sprinkle each half with cinnamon (I am very generous with the cinnamon because I love it!)
Use a knife to slice the dough down the center lengthwise.
Turn the dough so the cinnamon side is facing up, and both strands are side by side. Pinch one end together then carefully drape one strand over the other, alternating each time so you’re essentially “braiding” the two sides together. Pinch the opposite end together.
Do the same thing for the other half of the dough, or experiment with different fillings.
Grease two 8-inch by 4-inch loaf pans. Carefully lift the loaves into the prepared pans. Sprinkle any raisins that fell out on top. Cover loosely with saran wrap and allow to rise until the dough is about an inch above the pans.
Preheat oven to 350° F. Bake for 45-50 minutes total, covering with foil halfway through.
Remove from the oven and cool in the pans for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the outside and carefully remove the loaf. Allow to cool completely or slice off a chunk right away because you’re impatient like me. 🙂 Enjoy.
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