A sweet, glazed cinnamon raisin bread, with a pretty cobblestone effect. Easy and delicious!
I have a sweet spot for cinnamon raisin bread. It’s such a comforting bread and delicious eaten out of hand with butter or toasted.
Of course, toasting is a little difficult with glaze. I just couldn’t help myself though. This bread was calling out for it! It adds a delicious sweet note, too. And when I want to toast this bread, I just remove most of the glaze before toasting.
The pretty cobblestone effect is made by cutting the jelly-rolled dough (with the cinnamon/raisin mixture inside), into small chunks and then layering them in the loaf pan. The finished loaf retains the cobblestone look, but bakes up into a solid, sliceable bread.
When making bread, the amount of flour specified is always an approximate amount. I always hold back 1 cup and add only as much as is needed to make a smooth, moist (not sticky) dough.
If you have an instant read thermometer, rather than guess if your bread is cooked through, use it to test your bread for doneness. Simply insert the probe in the centre of the bread. It should read in the 190-200F range when done.
My Best Tips for Baking with Yeast
I think most of the problems people have with baking with yeast, is treating yeast-based recipes like say, a cake recipe, where you just measure the ingredients, mix them all together and bake.
Yeast-based recipes just can never be that precise. Things like temperature, moisture in the flour your are using, the season your are baking in and rising time can differ from one kitchen to the next. All that makes yeast recipes less consistent from one kitchen to the next.
Now that you know this though, that's more than half the battle :) Baking with yeast isn't just measuring, mixing and baking, like a cake, for example. You'll need to add to the mix a little trust in what you see (it looks sticky, so it needs more flour, regardless of how much flour the recipe says should go in), and a feel for the dough (does it feel smooth like a baby's bottom when you're done kneading?) and watching much it has grown in size as it rises (rather than watching the clock). Do that, and all will be good!
- Be careful with the temperature of your proofing liquid before adding the yeast, so you don't compromise the yeast from the start. If the liquid is too cold, the yeast won't activate. Too hot and it will die. The best temperature range for proofing liquid is 105-110F for Active Dry Yeast. Instant yeast is a bit more forgiving and can take temperatures up to 120F. All yeasts die at about 140°F. An Instant Read thermometer is handy to have on hand to check.
- Always treat the amount of flour specified in yeast-based recipes as "approximate". Flours will vary from kitchen to kitchen and by season, so the amount needed to make a smooth, soft dough will vary.
- Given tip #2, I always hold back 1/4-1/3 of the flour specified in a recipe and add in only as much as is needed. If you dump all the flour in at the start, you may find that it is too much and it's difficult to adjust well after that.
- Use a large glass measuring cup to proof your dough. It's easy to see when the dough has doubled.
- Be patient. Rising times are also "approximate" and will vary as well. Trust what you see and not the clock.
Glazed Cinnamon Raisin Cobblestone Bread
- 1/2 cup warm whole milk , (110° to 115°F)
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp. instant yeast
- 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
- 2 1/4 cups bread flour , (approx.) or unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, very soft (but not melted)
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
- 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1 cup icing/confectioners' sugar
- 2-3 Tbsp. milk
- 1/4 tsp. vanilla
- For the dough: Combine the warm milk and sugar in a large bowl or the bowl of the stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast over the top. Stir to blend well. Let the mixture stand for 5 to 10 minutes, until the yeast is activated and foamy or bubbling. Add the egg and yolk and whisk by hand until well blended. Stir in the flour and salt with a spatula. Attach the dough hook and knead on low speed for 2 minutes. The dough may look ragged at this point. Increase the speed to medium and knead for 1 minute. With the mixer running, add the soft butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, allowing each addition to blend in before adding the next. Once all the butter has been added, decrease the speed to medium-low and continue to knead for 5 to 6 minutes longer, until the dough looks soft and silky.
- Remove the dough to a lightly buttered or oiled bowl. Brush the surface of the dough with a little butter or oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until doubled, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
- Turn the dough onto a floured work surface. Press down firmly to expel some of the air. Dust with flour and roll into a 12 by 15-inch rectangle. Position the dough so that one of the long sides is parallel to you.
- Brush the dough thinly but evenly with beaten egg, leaving a 1-inch border along the long edge of the dough opposite you. In the small bowl, mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle this mixture over the egg glaze, then spread it with your fingers into an even layer. Scatter the raisins evenly over the top.
- Beginning with the long edge closest to you, roll the dough into a tight roll and pinch together a seam at the end. Roll the dough so that the seam is facing upward. Use a sharp knife to slice the roll in half lengthwise, then cut crosswise into about 12 pieces. Generously butter a 9x5 loaf plan and transfer the pieces to the pan. Try to arrange the bottom layer dough-side down to make it easier to remove the bread from the pan after baking and to prevent the sugar from burning on the bottom of the pan. Otherwise, just toss them in every which way. Level the top the best you can, but a rugged look is fine.
- Cover the pan loosely with greased plastic wrap and allow to rise until the dough reaches about 1/4-inch below the rim of the pan, about 1 - 1 1/2 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F, with a rack in the centre of the oven. Bake the loaf for 35 to 45 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer registers 190°F. Transfer to a rack and cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn the loaf out of the pan onto a piece of parchment paper to cool completely.
- Prepare glaze (if using) by mixing together the glaze ingredients until smooth. Drizzle over cooled loaf.
Nutritional information provided for general guidance only and should not be relied upon to make personal health decisions.