Cinnamon-Raisin Bread

breadstackIs there anything better than homemade bread? I mean seriously. I’ve asked this question before. The answer is always no, there is nothing better than homemade bread. The smell and taste of this buttermilk, cinnamon-raisin bread has confirmed this assertion once again.

I mixed together this batch of dough before bed one night about five minutes after reading an email from a friend raving about the recipe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. The following morning I baked off two loaves of bread. One, I sliced and froze. The other, I sliced and ate and ate and ate and ate. And then I tucked the remaining heel in a ziplock back and stowed it in my cabinet. And then several hours later, I opened the cabinet and the bag and ate the heel for dinner. It was a quite a day.

Anyway, thank you, Darcy, for inspiring me to venture into the “enriched breads and pastries” chapter of Artisan Bread In Five. Readers, if you still haven’t taken a stab at bread making, pick up this book. Bread making has never been so easy and fun. And while you’re at it, order an 8-quart Cambro and lid (odd that the two aren’t sold together) for easy mixing and storing. And, if you happen to be ordering flours and other baking staples for the upcoming holidays, order a bulk bag of yeast. I store mine in a cylindrical, plastic tupperware-type vessel in the fridge.

Also, I must confess, I didn’t have raisins on hand when I set out to make this bread and so should have titled this post “Cinnamon Bread,” but that just sounds wrong. All I’m saying is that with or without raisins, this recipe is a winner. 

Also, I am very excited to report that I won an autographed copy of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day simply by leaving a comment on the blog Baking and Books. You, too, have a chance to win a cookbook every month. Stop by Baking and Books for more details.

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Cinnamon-Raisin Buttermilk Bread
Yield = Three 1½-lb. loaves (these are smallish loaves) or Two loaves (which I prefer)

2 cups lukewarm water
1 cup buttermilk
1½ T. yeast
1½ T. kosher salt
1½ T. sugar
6½ cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
butter for greasing the pan
1½ tsp. ground cinnamon (I tripled the amount of cinnamon the second time around, so make your cinnamon-sugar mix according to taste.)
1/3 cup sugar
¾ cup raisins (if you are using them)
egg wash (I egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water)

1. Mixing and storing the dough: Mix the yeast, salt and sugar with the water and buttermilk in a 5-quart mixing bowl or a lidded (not airtight) food container.

2. Mix in the flour without kneading, using a spoon, a 14-cup capacity food processor (with dough attachment) or a heavy-duty stand mixer with dough hook. If you’re not using a machine, you may have to use wet hands to incorporate the last bit of flour.

3. Cover (not airtight) and allow to rest at room temperature until the dough rises and collapses or flattens on top, approximately 2 hours.

4. The dough can be used immediately after the initial rise, though it is easier to handle when cold. Refrigerate in a lidded (not airtight) container and use over the next 7 days.

5. On baking day, lightly grease a 9x4x3-inch nonstick loaf pan. Set aside. Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 1½-pound (cantaloupe-size) piece. (Note: the original recipe yields 3 loaves. I prefer dividing the total amount of dough in half and making two larger loaves as opposed to three smallish loaves.) Dust with more flour and quickly shape into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go.

6. With a rolling pin, roll out the dough to an 18×16-inch rectangle (or about an 11×18-inch rectangle — just wider than the loaf pan) about ¼-inch thick, dusting the board and rolling pin with flour as needed. You may need to use a metal dough scraper to loosen rolled dough from the board as you are working with it.

7. Using a pastry brush, cover the surface of the dough lightly with egg wash. Mix together the sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle the mixture evenly over the dough. Distribute the raisins, if using.

8. Starting from the short side, roll it up jelly-roll style. Pinch the edges and ends together, tucking the ends under. Place the loaf seam-side down in the prepared pan. Allow to rest 1 hour and 40 minutes (or just 40 minutes if you’re using fresh, unrefrigerated dough.)

9. Twenty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 375ºF. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from pan and allow to cool before slicing.

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40 Comments

  1. Yeah, I agree. Good bread has a way of roping you in and forcing you to eat it. I’ve had my share of scarfing-down-bread parties. My favorite way to eat it is toasted, dripping (in places) with butter, with a cup of hot coffee alongside.

    -JJ

    Ps. I wish I could see your pics, but my connection is too dang slow. Grrr. I hate missing out.

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  2. I love it when breadmaking is made simpler and with less effort. I can only imagine the wonderful cinnamony smells coming from your kitchen.

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  3. Just recently I was looking for a good cinnamon-raisin yeast bread. Never did find one that I was satisfied w/ trying. I have this WONDERFUL bread book so I’ll be checking this one out. Thanks for sharing. Pics are beautiful as usual!

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  4. I didn’t inherit my mom’s talent for bread baking so usually back off when I see yeast dough recipes. But this one looks so good I’m tempted to give it a try. Warm with butter, yum!

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  5. This is exactly the reason I don’t make home made bread – it looks fabulous and it’s the “can’t just have one slice” type of bread.

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  6. I would have eaten the whole thing too! I love homemade bread, you can’t beat it, put some cinnamon and raisins in it and I’d eat your’s and mine!! LOL!!!

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  7. You lucky duck! Good win! I love homemade bread but I usually suck at it, so instead my favorite are the ones from small/artisan shops that appear homemade but are actually very well done :)
    I love the Cinnamon-(Swirl) Bread! I’m a raisin fan, so I can just imagine how good it is!

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  8. Lovely cinnamon raisin bread, and I am going to get this book. I grew up in a home where bread was made in lieu of buying. Right now I barely have 5 minutes so quick is what I need. Always mouthwatering when I see what you have been up to in the kitchen.

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  9. I have asked for this book for Christmas and cannot wait to start baking with it. If no one gets it for me, I'm getting it for myself!

    To answer your question on J&J, they sell at a lot of markets up here in LA. I'm surprised they haven't made their way down to North County San Diego yet. If you're ever going to be in LA on a Saturday, let me know and I'll point you in the right direction!

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  10. So my New Year’s resolution will be to begin making my own bread. Your breads look absolutely amazing and you make it seem so easy.
    Are you using the little packets of dry yeast or the refrigerated cubes I tried to use in a recipe once but failed miserably?

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  11. Just finished making this and I have two questions/comments: 1) are the measurements for the sugar, cinnamon and raisins for 1 loaf or to be split up between the 3 loaves that the recipe makes? and 2) Rolling the dough into a 16×18 inch square and then trying to fit it into a 9 inch pan is difficult and folding the ends under is very awkward, is there a reason that the square is sized so much larger than the pan?

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  12. Jen — Very good questions. I made this recipe again yesterday with my mother and made a few adjustments, which I’ve just noted in the recipe:

    1.) The original recipe yields 3 loaves. I find that if you divide the dough into 3, the loaves are pretty small. I prefer dividing the dough in half and making two loaves.

    2.) I tripled (maybe even quadrupled) the amount of cinnamon relative to the sugar, b/c I found the taste to be too subtle the first time around. So, make your cinnamon and sugar mix according to taste.

    I found that this was enough for 2 loaves. I think if you divide the dough into thirds, you’ll need to make maybe 1.5 recipes of the cinnamon and sugar mix. To answer your question, however, I believe the quantity stated in the recipe for cinnamon, sugar and raisins is for only 1 loaf (1/3 of the dough).

    3.) You are absolutely right about the size of the rectangle. It should be more like an 11×18-inch rectangle. The small width should be just larger than the width of the loaf pan. If you start with a rectangle about this size, once you roll it all up, tucking the sides underneath should be less awkward.

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  13. I tried this recipe this weekend and it was fantastic. I made the dough Wednesday night and just pulled it out Saturday morning to finish it up. It was simple and delicious. My houseguests woke to the yummy smell of cinnamon, and enjoyed hot from the oven slices dripping in butter for breakfast.

    I failed to read the comments, but made the same choice to make two loaves instead of three, rolled it out to be less wide per my bread pan, and did the full 3/4 c raisins, 1/3 c sugar, and extra cinnamon for each loaf. It worked beautifully.

    My only complaint, and I have this problem with all of the bread recipies I’ve tried from this book, is that the texture isn’t nearly as good once it cools. The crust looses its crispyness and the bread seems a little tougher and chewier.

    It toasted beautifully, however, and made the most fantastic french toast on Sunday!

    As this is something like the third recipe I’ve tried (and loved) from this book on your recommendation, I suppose it’s time to pick up my own copy.

    Thanks!

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  14. LVH — I totally agree about how the crust changes texture once it cools. I think that’s probably just the reality of the home-cook’s oven. Our ovens just can’t compare to professional ovens. Baking loaves on stones or in covered heated pans just doesn’t do the trick in the end.

    I am so glad you liked the bread even so. It definitely toasts beautifully! I love the thought of using it for French toast, too, so thank you for that idea.

    Happy Baking!!

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  15. Drat! I bought raisins just for this and forgot to put them in the first loaf! Oh well, there’s always the second… and the raisin-less bread is still mighty delicious. Thanks=)

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  16. Hi,
    is the yeast you used active-dry or instant? Sorry I’m a complete amateur at bread-making – going to start with your peasant bread and your other no-knead ones at first – but I was just wondering :)

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  17. Thanks so much for this. I have literally made nearly a dozen loaves in the past month or so (oink oink). And I’ve given your recipe to several friends who enjoy it just as much as I do!

    Reply

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