Have all your Christmas gifts ready yet? I don’t, although I’ve made good progress over the last few days. That coupled with my last event of the year for my business, a holiday farmers market, has been keeping me pretty busy around here. Still, I always make sure to set aside some time during the week to bake; I find it to be relaxing and especially so during a hectic holiday season. This week, I decided on this simple cinnamon raisin bread. I have a close friend who bakes cinnamon loaves for Christmas that I look forward to every year, but I’ve never actually made my own from scratch. I perfected my recipe from a mix of several others, including a few tips from my friend, and it turned out with a perfect crumb and wonderfully cinnamon-y throughout. I think you could easily double the recipe to make two loaves, something I definitely plan to try out the next time I make it. Enjoy!
For the dough:
- Raisin water (see instructions below)
- 1/2 Tbsp instant yeast
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 cup milk, lukewarm
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 1/2 cups flour
For the filling:
- 1 Tbsp cinnamon
- 1/3 cup granulated white sugar
- 3/4 cup dried raisins and/or currants
- 1 egg beaten with 1 tsp water
In a small bowl, combine the raisins with about a cup of water. Let them sit 5-8 minutes to absorb some of the water and plump up a bit.
Pour the raisin water into the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast over the top. Stir in the melted butter and milk. Add the salt and flour and with the dough hook attached, let stir on low to form a rough dough. (Add more flour if the dough isn’t coming together, or more milk if the dough is too thick.)
Knead on low until the dough is smooth and somewhat tacky and springs back when poked. I took mine out a little too soon, and it looked like this:
It definitely didn’t spring back when poked. So, I let it knead a little longer until it looked like this after poking:
Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover.
Let rise until doubled, about an hour.
In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon and sugar. In another small bowl, beat together the egg and water. When the dough is ready, roll it out to about 1/4″ thickness. It definitely wouldn’t fit into my pan this long, but I wanted lots of cinnamon layers.
Brush the surface with the egg wash, leaving an inch or so on each side. Sprinkle generously with the cinnamon-sugar mixture, and the sprinkle on the raisins.
Roll up the dough and when you get to the end, pinch the loaf closed. Since mine was too long, I just folded the ends under. Transfer the loaf to a greased loaf pan seam-side down. Let rise until it rises over the edge of the pan, about 30-40 minutes longer. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
When the loaf is ready, brush it with more of the egg wash if desired, and sprinkle with more cinnamon-sugar. Bake 35-40 minutes or until golden brown – you may need to cover the top with aluminum foil to prevent over-browning, especially if you do the egg wash.
Remove from the oven and let cool completely before slicing.