Homemade cinnamon raisin swirl bread recipe that doesn't require a bread machine, with dairy free options, too. Incredibly soft and better than store bought

Homemade Cinnamon Raisin Bread

June 10, 2014 by Michelle

When we moved, I didn’t put my toaster in storage. We don’t use it very often, but I felt like it was one of those key appliances that shouldn’t go into storage. Silly me. It wasn’t until last week that I actually pulled it out and used it for the first time – and we finally move into our new house next week where everything will be out of storage. Of course, I was really grateful to have it when I needed it. I made cinnamon raisin bread from scratch, and it’s just not the same when it isn’t toasted. And slathered in butter.

Homemade cinnamon raisin swirl bread recipe that doesn't require a bread machine, with dairy free options, too. Incredibly soft and better than store bought

Little Miss originally didn’t want to try it because “I don’t like raisin bread.” Ha. I made her try a piece, and now it’s her favorite breakfast. Silly girl. And yes, she’s discovered that it’s quite delicious spread with coconut oil instead of butter since she can’t have dairy. In fact, I modified the entire recipe to use dairy free ingredients for her (almond milk for milk and coconut oil for the butter), and it worked beautifully, but since we’re in the minority with our dairy allergy, I’m keeping the recipe traditional for you. It’s a one to one switch, and because you add the flour to feel, it’s fairly forgiving, too.

I love that this doesn’t require a breadmaker because there’s just something about bread maker bread that doesn’t quite taste right to me. I haven’t figured out what it is, but I definitely prefer bread made by hand, as long as I get to use my stand mixer. This is one that I’ll be making again and again. The raisins are soft and plump. The cinnamon gives it a beautiful kick, and the eggs and fat in the dough make it a wonderfully moist bread that stayed fresh even after three days when I had it covered in foil.

Pull out your bowl, pop a slice in the toaster, and repeat after me: there’s no need for store bought cinnamon raisin bread ever again. And since this recipe makes 2 large loaves (or 6 small ones), that means you have extra to freeze – and this does freeze nicely once it has cooled and you’ve wrapped it tightly. It’s essentially no extra work to make more loaves, and you get to enjoy the bread longer, which is a win in my book! If you only want one loaf, simply halve this recipe.

Homemade cinnamon raisin bread, fresh from the toaster - heaven!

Cinnamon Raisin Bread
Ingredients:
2 c milk
10 T unsalted butter, divided
1/4 c honey
1 T yeast
5 eggs, divided
7-8 c flour
1 t salt
1 c raisins
1/2 c brown sugar
3 T cinnamon

Directions:
Start by plumping your raisins. Personally, I think there’s nothing worse than hard, chewy raisins in a beautifully soft cookie, cake, or bread. Plumping them is easy and quick. Simply place your 1 cup of raisins into a small saucepan and cover with water. Place on your stove over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes. Drain them, then pat them dry to ensure they don’t add extra moisture to your dough.

Plump your raisins before baking with them so they're as soft as the rest of your recipe

While the raisins are plumping, start your dough. In another small saucepan, add the milk and 8 tablespoons of butter (save the remaining 2 tablespoons for the filling later). Heat over medium low heat just until the butter is mostly melted. You don’t want this to get too hot so that it kills the yeast or you have to waste time letting it cool. Once the butter is mostly melted, add the honey and stir until the butter is fully melted and honey is incorporated. Add the mixture to the bowl of your stand mixer. Sprinkle the yeast atop it.

Add two cups of flour and stir until mostly combined. Add 4 of the eggs. saving the last egg for an egg wash once the bread has been shaped and risen. Mix until the egg is completely incorporated, then slowly add the remaining flour. You want the dough to be slightly moist more than a French bread loaf, but only slightly tacky to the touch, not falling apart moist. Depending on the humidity in your flour, you may need to add more or less. Start with 7 cups and work from there.

Add raisins once your dough is mostly kneaded

Once the flour is added, knead the dough either by hand or using your dough hook. If using your dough hook, knead for about 7-10 minutes, until it’s smooth and elastic. Kneading by hand will take 15-20 minutes. Add the plumped and dried raisins, and knead again just until incorporated. Cover the dough with a damp kitchen towel in the bowl and let rise for one to two hours, until it’s doubled.

Once it’s completed its first rise, flour your work surface and remove it from the bowl. Cut it into two essentially even pieces (or 6 if you’re making the small loaves). Roll your dough to the width of your bread pan as thinly as you can, making a long strip. If a raisin pops out, simply press it back in. Do the same for the rest of the dough once you’ve finished forming your first loaf.  Add flour as necessary to keep the dough from sticking to your work surface, but you don’t want it to be super smooth dough with no stick to it.

Cut your dough into two equal size pieces to make your cinnamon raisin loaves

Melt your remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. In a small bowl, mix together your cinnamon and the brown sugar. Once the butter is melted, use a pastry brush to spread it across your dough strip, leaving an inch or so untouched at the top, which is where you’ll form your seam. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture atop the butter, then roll it up, starting at the end that has cinnamon all the way to the edge. Roll that section tighter than you think you need to, which will help ensure that you don’t have a hole in the center of your loaf once it is baked. Place into a greased loaf pan. Repeat with your remaining dough.

Add cinnamon sugar mixture to your rolled out dough

Cover the shaped loaves with your damp kitchen towel and let rise another hour. At the end of an hour, preheat your oven to 375 degrees, making sure you have an empty pan on the bottom for water (add water to the hot pan when you add your bread, which helps to form a perfect crust with all your yeast breads where you want a nice crust).

Brush your risen cinnamon raisin dough with an egg wash just before baking

Once the oven is preheated, mix your last egg with a tablespoon of water to make an egg wash. Brush the tops of your loaves with the egg wash, recognizing that you won’t use all of it. Once the loaves have been prepped, add them to the oven. Add one cup of water to your hot pan on the bottom of your oven, and let your loaves bake for 40-50 minutes for the large loaves and 30-35 minutes for the smaller loaves. When they are golden brown and sound hollow when thumped, they are done.

Remove from the loaf pans and let cool completely on a rack before cutting into them. Cutting into a fresh loaf of bread while still hot lets the moisture escape and leads to a dry loaf. If you’re eating all of it in one sitting, feel free to enjoy immediately of course. This will keep nicely on your counter for three to four days, wrapped in foil, without going stale. If you plan to save it for later, you can also wrap it well and freeze it for up to a month.

Homemade Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Prep Time: 4 hours

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 2 large loaves or 6 smaller loaves

Homemade Cinnamon Raisin Bread

An easy and delicious homemade cinnamon raisin bread that requires no bread machine. It makes a yummy loaf that stays soft for 3-4 days after making it, and it can easily be made dairy free by substituting almond milk and coconut oil for the dairy ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 2 c milk
  • 10 T unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/4 c honey
  • 1 T yeast
  • 5 eggs, divided
  • 7-8 c flour
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 c raisins
  • 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 3 T cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Start by plumping your raisins. Personally, I think there's nothing worse than hard, chewy raisins in a beautifully soft cookie, cake, or bread. Plumping them is easy and quick. Simply place your 1 cup of raisins into a small saucepan and cover with water. Place on your stove over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes. Drain them, then pat them dry to ensure they don't add extra moisture to your dough.
  2. While the raisins are plumping, start your dough. In another small saucepan, add the milk and 8 tablespoons of butter (save the remaining 2 tablespoons for the filling later). Heat over medium low heat just until the butter is mostly melted. You don't want this to get too hot so that it kills the yeast or you have to waste time letting it cool. Once the butter is mostly melted, add the honey and stir until the butter is fully melted and honey is incorporated. Add the mixture to the bowl of your stand mixer. Sprinkle the yeast atop it.
  3. Add two cups of flour and stir until mostly combined. Add 4 of the eggs. saving the last egg for an egg wash once the bread has been shaped and risen. Mix until the egg is completely incorporated, then slowly add the remaining flour. You want the dough to be slightly moist more than a French bread loaf, but only slightly tacky to the touch, not falling apart moist. Depending on the humidity in your flour, you may need to add more or less. Start with 7 cups and work from there.
  4. Once the flour is added, knead the dough either by hand or using your dough hook. If using your dough hook, knead for about 7-10 minutes, until it's smooth and elastic. Kneading by hand will take 15-20 minutes. Add the plumped and dried raisins, and knead again just until incorporated. Cover the dough with a damp kitchen towel in the bowl and let rise for one to two hours, until it's doubled.
  5. Once it's completed its first rise, flour your work surface and remove it from the bowl. Cut it into two essentially even pieces (or 6 if you're making the small loaves). Roll your dough to the width of your bread pan as thinly as you can, making a long strip. If a raisin pops out, simply press it back in. Do the same for the rest of the dough once you've finished forming your first loaf. Add flour as necessary to keep the dough from sticking to your work surface, but you don't want it to be super smooth dough with no stick to it.
  6. Melt your remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. In a small bowl, mix together your cinnamon and the brown sugar. Once the butter is melted, use a pastry brush to spread it across your dough strip, leaving an inch or so untouched at the top, which is where you'll form your seam. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture atop the butter, then roll it up, starting at the end that has cinnamon all the way to the edge. Roll that section tighter than you think you need to, which will help ensure that you don't have a hole in the center of your loaf once it is baked. Place into a greased loaf pan. Repeat with your remaining dough.
  7. Cover the shaped loaves with your damp kitchen towel and let rise another hour. At the end of an hour, preheat your oven to 375 degrees, making sure you have an empty pan on the bottom for water (add water to the hot pan when you add your bread, which helps to form a perfect crust with all your yeast breads where you want a nice crust).
  8. Once the oven is preheated, mix your last egg with a tablespoon of water to make an egg wash. Brush the tops of your loaves with the egg wash, recognizing that you won't use all of it. Once the loaves have been prepped, add them to the oven. Add one cup of water to your hot pan on the bottom of your oven, and let your loaves bake for 40-50 minutes for the large loaves and 30-35 minutes for the smaller loaves. When they are golden brown and sound hollow when thumped, they are done.
  9. Remove from the loaf pans and let cool completely on a rack before cutting into them. Cutting into a fresh loaf of bread while still hot lets the moisture escape and leads to a dry loaf. If you're eating all of it in one sitting, feel free to enjoy immediately of course. This will keep nicely on your counter for three to four days, wrapped in foil, without going stale. If you plan to save it for later, you can also wrap it well and freeze it for up to a month.
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