Even though we’re dodging the worst of today’s snow storm here in the usual “snow belt”, it’s still officially a snow day (school buses cancelled) and that means it’s time to bake some bread.
There is just something so comforting about toasted cinnamon raisin bread on a cold winter morning. The flavours and the smell of warm cinnamon, the snow falling out the window and a warm cup of coffee are about as close to perfection as I can think of at the moment.
This is my favourite cinnamon raisin bread recipe. It has a lovely texture and flavour and is unbelievably good toasted. I have recently discovered Saigon Cinnamon and used it in this bread. The cinnamon flavour is so distinct and pleasant, especially if you are a cinnamon lover. It is a bit stronger than regular cinnamon but with such pure flavour. I highly recommend it for this bread, where cinnamon is the star.
- 1 cup milk
- 2/3 cup warm water (110-115 degrees for active dry, slightly warmer for instant yeast)
- 3 tsp. active dry or instant yeast
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup white sugar
- 2/3 tsp. salt
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 2/3 cup raisins
- 5 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp. milk
- 2/3 cup white sugar
- 2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 1/3 Tbsp. butter, melted
- Warm the milk in a small sauce pan on the stove until it just starts to bubble, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let cool until lukewarm, about 120-125° F. if you have a thermometer.
- In a large bowl or bowl of stand mixer, dissolve yeast in warm water and let stand until yeast is frothy, about 10 minutes. Mix in eggs, sugar, butter, salt and raisins. Slowly stir in the cooled milk. Add the flour gradually, adding just enough to make a stiff dough (adding more if necessary).
- Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface (or in stand mixer) for a few minutes until smooth.
- Place in a large, greased, mixing bowl and turn dough in the bowl to grease the surface of the dough well. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine 2/3 cup white sugar with 2 Tbsp. of ground cinnamon. Set aside.
- Divide the dough into two equal pieces. Place one piece on a lightly floured surface and roll into a rectangle about 8 inches wide and 12-13 inches long. . Brush the dough with 1 Tbsp. of the milk. Sprinkle one-half of the cinnamon/sugar mixture evenly over the moistened dough. Sprinkle one half of the raisins evenly over the dough. Roll up tightly (starting from the short end). Seal seam and place into a greased 8x4-inch loaf pan. The roll should be about 3 inches in diameter. Repeat with second piece of dough.
- Spray a piece of plastic wrap with non-stick spray and cover loaves. Let rise in a warm place for about an hour, or until loaves have risen about an inch above the edge of the pans (measured in the centre).
- Bake in a pre-heated 350° F. oven for 40- 45 minutes or until loaves are lightly browned, sound hollow when tapped or reach an internal temperature of 200° F. (*Check at the 30-35 minute mark and cover loosely with foil if loaves are sufficiently browned at that point.)
- Remove from oven and let cool in pans on rack for 15 minutes. Brush tops of loaves with melted butter. After 15 minutes, remove loaves from pan and allow to cool completely on cooling racks before slicing.