This Swirled Cinnamon Raisin Bread is soft and sweet with plenty of warm spice flavor. Because the dough is made with milk and butter the bread stays fresh for days. And it makes the most amazing French Toast.
A slice of warm raisin bread schmeared with butter is like a comforting hug. The soft and luscious crumb, the beautiful swirl of cinnamon sugar, bursts of sweet raisins – it’s pure comfort food.
Even better, the dough comes together easily and the recipe can be adapted to your schedule.
You can mix and bake the bread all in one day and it will still be soft and delicious the next day.
You can also hold the dough in the refrigerator then shape and bake it in the morning to enjoy it fresh from the oven for breakfast. (See the timeline and FAQ sections below for more information.)
A timeline for making Raisin Bread from scratch:
- If you plan to bake the same day, start the sponge early in the morning. The sponge develops the gluten in the dough which will help hold in the raisins and allow the dough to rise beautifully.
- If you start the dough in the morning your bread should be ready to bake by early afternoon.
- To start your bread the day before, start mixing the dough late in the afternoon or early evening.
- Let the dough rise 1x then knead the dough and return it to the bowl.
- Cover the dough tightly and put it in the refrigerator overnight.
- The next morning you can shape the loaf and set it aside to rise. The rising time will be a bit longer if the dough is cold from the refrigerator.
Scroll through the process photos to see how to make the best Raisin Bread:
FAQs for making homemade cinnamon swirl raisin bread:
Yes. After the first rise the dough can be held in the refrigerator for 1 day.
Yes. You can use either brown or granulated sugar for the filling.
I don’t recommend pre-shaping the loaf for this recipe. The cinnamon sugar swirl in the loaf can melt in the moist environment of the refrigerator. The melted sugar can leak out and cause the bread to stick to the pan.
Because the dough is enriched with milk, butter and a little sugar the bread will stay soft and fresh at room temperature for 2-3 days.
No, raisin bread should not be refrigerated. The bread should be stored in a paper or plastic bag at room temperature for 2-3 days.
Yes. Slice the bread and store the sliced loaf in a freezer bag. Individual slices can go straight from the freezer to the toaster.
If you love this recipe as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.
Cinnamon Raisin Bread Recipe
- 12 oz whole milk (1 ½ cups)
- 4 oz unsalted butter (divided)
- 4 oz granulated sugar (divided)
- 2 1/4 teaspoons instant dry yeast (1 packet)
- 15 oz all purpose flour (3 cups)
- 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon (divided)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
- 5 oz raisins (1 cup)
- Warm the milk in the microwave to about 110°F. Stir 2 tablespoons of the butter into the warm milk to melt.12 oz whole milk
- In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl, combine the milk, 2 tablespoons of the sugar, the yeast and 2 cups of the flour. Mix to form a loose batter. Cover the bowl and set the sponge aside for 30-60 minutes.2 1/4 teaspoons instant dry yeast, 15 oz all purpose flour
- Uncover the bowl with the sponge. Add 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon and the salt. Stir to combine. Use the dough hook if working on a stand mixer.1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
- With the mixer running, slowly add the remaining flour until the dough gathers on the hook and clears the sides of the bowl. If mixing by hand, stir in as much flour as you can then turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead in the remaining flour. Knead for about 5 minutes to develop the gluten in the dough.
- Remove the dough from the bowl onto a lightly floured surface. The dough should be soft and slightly sticky. Knead the raisins into the dough then form it into a smooth ball. If the dough is very sticky sprinkle a little more flour as you knead.5 oz raisins
- Place the dough in an oiled bowl, turning once to coat the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm spot to rise for about 1-1.5 hours hours, until doubled in size. (At this point the dough can be refrigerated overnight and continue with shaping the loaf in the morning.)
- Melt the remaining butter. Lightly brush a 9"x 5" loaf pan with some of the melted butter. Combine the remaining granulated sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.4 oz unsalted butter, 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 4 oz granulated sugar
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and roll it into a 8"x16" rectangle. Brush the dough with melted butter then sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar. Roll the dough from the short side to form a log. Pinch the seam to form a tight seal.
- Set the dough into the pan, seam side down, brush the top of the loaf with melted butter and cover with plastic wrap. Set in a warm place and rise until the dough fills the pan and comes about 1" over the top, about 1 hour (may take a little longer if the dough had been refrigerated).
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake about 40 minutes until golden brown and the interior temp is 200°F.
- As soon as the pan comes out of the oven, brush the top of the loaf with melted butter. If any raisins on the surface look burnt you can pluck them off the loaf. Cool in the pan about 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack. Finish cooling to room temperature before slicing,
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