This Cinnamon Raisin Bread is easy for beginner bread makers and results in slices with the perfect cinnamon swirl. Feel free to leave the raisins out for a still delicious cinnamon bread!
(This recipe for Cinnamon Raisin Bread was originally published in September 2010, but was updated with new photos and content in 2019).
It's Friday, which means it's obviously confession time. This week's confession? I've ALWAYS been a rules girl. To the point where I'm pretty sure people have disliked me for being such a stickler (though parents lovee me!). If you give me a task with a set of rules, I will absolutely not break them. And if I do, I'll feel a HORRIBLE sense of guilt about it. In some ways, I think this makes me an excellent worker. Give me a job and I get it done, correctly. In other ways, it has me driving myself crazy and being all sorts of nervous to take creative steps. Which is bad since I consider myself a pretty creative person.
What did this mean when I was younger? I rarely got in trouble. I rarely disobeyed my parents or any form of authority. I didn't drink or party in high school and I most always turned homework assignments in when they were due. Because those were the rules! And what are rules, darn it, if they're not meant to be followed? Oh, they're meant to be broken? That never even crossed my mind.
What does being a stickler for the rules have to do with my cooking? It means that sometimes I follow recipes too closely. I tend to let the instructions and exactness of recipes get in the way of my creativity and freedom; and sometimes even intentions.
Which is exactly why I forgot to put raisins in my cinnamon raisin bread the first time I made this. Thus making it plain old cinnamon bread, instead. You see, the Pioneer Woman didn't have raisins in hers. But I wanted them in mine. However, when I got to the step where I should add the raisins I got way too excited that my dough looked just like her dough. And I rolled up my bread, sans raisins.
But still, this cinnamon bread was AWESOME. with a capital AWE. Actually, make that every letter capital. Because it was that good. But the next time I made it, I decided to add the raisins in and guess what? It was even better. Add them in or leave them out, it doesn't really matter because no matter what, your cinnamon (raisin) bread will be delicious!
CINNAMON RAISIN BREAD RECIPE
First, melt the butter with the milk in a saucepan. Heat it until very warm, but don't let it boil! Once the butter is melted, allow the mixture to cool until still warm to the touch, but not hot.Sprinkle the yeast over the top of the butter/milk mixture, stir it gently, and allow it to sit for 10 minutes.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour and salt and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix sugar and the 2 eggs with the paddle attachment until combined. Pour in the butter/milk/yeast mixture and stir to combine. Add half the flour/salt mixture and beat on medium speed until combined. Then add the other half and beat again until combined. Now, switch to the dough hook attachment on your mixer. I was kind of excited because I had never used my dough hook attachment before! Let this knead the dough on medium speed for about 10 minutes.
My dough was super sticky after 10 minutes, so I followed P-Dub's directions and added about another ¼ C of flour and beat for 5 more minutes. Much better.
Now it's time for some rising action! Pour some canola oil into a large bowl and toss the dough in the oil to coat and then cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Find a warm place to set the bowl for 2 hours.
Now, on a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a rectangle. Make it about 18-24 inches long and make sure it's not wider than the length of the loaf pan you're going to use.
Mix together ⅓ C sugar and 2 Tbsp cinnamon and smear some melted butter on your dough rectangle. Sprinkle the cinnamon/sugar evenly over the dough. Yum.
Here was also where you should add the raisins in if you're using them. I forgot them the first time because I was just so thrilled that I actually managed to roll the dough out into a semi-rectangle. And guess what? I came really close to forgetting them this time, too. I took this photo of my dough covered in cinnamon/sugar and legit started to roll it up before realizing I forgot the raisins. Not again!
I added them in just in the nick of time and then started rolling up my dough. Starting at the far end, roll the dough toward you, keeping tight and contained. Pinch the seam to seal it and place in a well-buttered loaf pan seam-side down.
Back to the adventures of rising. Cover your pan with plastic wrap and allow to rise for another 2 hours. Can we get some cinnamon (raisin) bread up in here, already?
Also, this is the point where I noticed the container of raisins sitting untouched on the counter. I briefly contemplated un-rolling the dough and adding them in. But that thought lasted about 2 seconds before I realized it was insane. So, I shed a few tears and went on with my cinnamon raisin bread sans raisins.
A couple hours later and it had risen!
Finally, we can bake! Heat the oven to 350 degrees and mix your last egg and some milk together to smear over the top. Bake it for 40 minutes on the middle or lower rack of your oven.
The first time I made this bread was the first time I ever made homemade bread. And I'm happy to report that, aside from all that waiting while it was rising, it was so, so easy. Oh and PS? It smelled SO good.
But what was I most excited for? To see the swirl in the slices of cinnamon raisin bread. Obviously.
Yay! The swirl is there! It worked! I don't know why it wouldn't have (especially since I followed the rules so exactly), but I was nervous. I guess following the rules paid off this time.
Of course, I toasted some slices of cinnamon raisin bread right up and devoured them for breakfast. Warmed in the toaster and spread with a little bit of butter and this bread is heavenly. Add a little cinnamon/sugar sprinkle on top and it's even better! I loved this bread the first time I made it, but I have to admit it is even better with raisins involved!
Of course, raisins can be quite a controversial subject and I totally get if you don't like them. It's obviously incredibly easy to just leave them out (maybe a little too easy!) thus making this cinnamon raisin bread a simple (but still delicious) cinnamon bread.
And this definitely won't be the last time I make this here cinnamon raisin bread. And now that I'm a better bread maker in general, I might even, gasp, attempt to break some rules. I can only imagine what the future will hold.
Are you a stickler for the rules?
If you love the flavors in this cinnamon raisin bread as much as I do, be sure to check out my homemade cinnamon rolls and my cinnamon bun Oreo cheesecake bars. I also can't wait to make this cinnamon roll monkey bread from Orchids and Sweet Tea!
Cinnamon Raisin Bread
- 1 cup + 2 Tbsp whole milk, divided
- 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, plus more for loaf pan
- 1 ½ tsp active dry yeast
- 3 large eggs, divided
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar, divided
- 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp cinnamon
- Add 1 cup milk and butter to a medium saucepan and heat until hot but not yet boiling. Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool until still warm to the touch, but not hot.
- Sprinkle the yeast over the top of the butter/milk mixture, stir gently, and allow it to sit for 10 minutes.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together flour and salt and set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat ⅓ cup sugar and 2 eggs with the paddle attachment until combined. Pour in the butter/milk/yeast mixture and mix to combine.
- Add half the flour/salt mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined. Add remaining half and mix again until combined.
- Switch to the dough hook attachment on your mixer and knead the dough on medium speed for about 10 minutes. If your dough feels too sticky at this point, add another ¼ C of flour and beat for 5 more minutes.
- Pour some canola oil into a large bowl and toss the dough in the oil to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and find a warm place to set the bowl for 2 hours.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a large rectangle, about 18-24 inches long. Make sure it’s not wider than the length of the loaf pan you’re going to use.
- Mix together remaining ⅓ C sugar and cinnamon and and smear some melted butter on your dough rectangle. Sprinkle the cinnamon/sugar evenly over the dough. Sprinkle raisins on if you're planning to use them.
- Starting at the far end, roll the dough toward you, keeping tight and contained. Pinch the seam to seal it and place in a well-buttered loaf pan seam-side down. Cover pan with plastic wrap and allow to rise for another 2 hours.
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix remaining egg and 2 Tbsp milk together and smear over the top of the loaf.
- Bake bread for 40 minutes on the middle or lower rack of your oven. Allow bread to cool before slicing.
- Recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman.