As I was testing this easy raisin bread recipe out for the second time, I decided at the last minute to add the cinnamon swirl. I mean why would you not? You can, of course, leave this stage out completely and just make raisin bread, but the swirl looks lovely and the cinnamon adds flavour.
This bread, as with most bread, is absolutely delicious fresh out of the oven (slathered in butter of course), but I loved it too once sliced and toasted. Pre-slice any leftovers and stash them in your freezer for later toast treats. It reminds me of my favourite stout hot cross bun loaf.
This cinnamon swirl raisin bread is enriched with butter and egg, so it teeters in the brioche realm but without the schlep. It’s easy to make and the dough is very soft and pillowy.
I know that technically you don’t have to activate instant yeast, but I like to see the bubbles appear before I add the other ingredients. In my experience, it makes a little difference and the dough seems to rise more enthusiastically and quicker when I do. You can replace the buttermilk with yoghurt if this is easier, just don’t preheat this and add it with the butter and egg.
For more delicious recipes with raisins:
Cinnamon swirl raisin bread recipe
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 1/3 cup 80ml water
- 1 x 10gm packet of instant yeast
- 3 Tbsp sugar
- 75 gms salted butter at room temperature and fairly soft
- 1 large egg at room temperature
- ½ tsp salt
- 380 g 3 cups bread flour or cake flour
- 1 ½ cups raisins
- 2 Tbsp softened butter
- 2 – 3 Tbs Muscovado sugar or any soft brown sugar
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- Milk buttermilk, egg or butter to brush (optional)
- Sugar water/honey and butter to finish once baked optional
- Heat the buttermilk and water to 43C / 110F (lukewarm).
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook add the lukewarm buttermilk, water, sugar and add the yeast. Whisk it and let it stand for 5 minutes until it starts to bubble.
- Add the butter, egg, salt, and about 1 cup of flour and mix until combined. Then slowly add the rest of the flour and beat with the dough hook for 2 minutes. The mixture should be pulled away from the sides and soft but not too sticky. Add the raisins then beat for a further 2 minutes.
- Decant from the bowl and briefly knead on a floured surface to ensure all the raisins are incorporated into the dough. If doing this by hand, stir the ingredients as per above with a spoon or spatula (it will be thick) then add the flour until you have a dough.
- Knead for about 5 minutes until you have a soft ball of dough, add the raisins and knead into the are well combined and evenly distributed and the dough is springy to the touch.
- Lightly grease a large bowl with a little oil or cooking spray and place the dough inside. Cover with cling wrap and a tea towel and place it in a warm place to rise. This will take about 1 – 2 hours depending on how warm it is. Do not put it directly in the sun.
- Once the dough has risen, tip it out onto a lightly floured surface and roll out into a rectangle with the shortest side being the width of your loaf pan. I used a 23cm x 13cm loaf tin. Line the loaf tin with baking paper.
- Spread the softened butter over the surface of the dough (A pastry brush makes this easier to do) and then sprinkle over the brown sugar and cinnamon. Use your fingers to spread this out evenly.
- Roll the dough up into a log with the seamed end underneath and lift and place this into the lined loaf tin. Brush the top with a little milk, buttermilk, butter, or egg wash, and then set aside in a warm place while you preheat your oven to 180C / 350F. If your oven heats up very quickly delay this so that the loaf has around 20 – 30 minutes to rise again in the tin.
- Bake for 40 – 45 minutes until golden brown. Loosely cover the bread with a piece of tin foil form about 20 minutes into the bake time to prevent over-browning.
- Brush the raisin bread with sugar water (2 tablespoons of sugar dissolved in a tablespoon of water) or melted honey and butter. Use the same buttered pastry brush as you did when making the swirl. This gives the bread a lovely glossy finish that adds a touch of sweetness too.