This appealing cinnamon raisin bread has super soft texture and very flavorful. Not to mention it is quite easy to make than it looks.
Everybody might have their own definition of 'best' soft cinnamon raisin bread. For me, it is all about the right amount of sweetness and the fluffiest (plus flavorful) texture.
The fluffiest texture only comes from a good structure bread. This is somewhat hard to achieve from this American classic cinnamon bread recipe due to its super rich dough.
However, nothing is impossible. After many failed attempts, I finally figured out how to keep this enriched cinnamon raisin bread dough's structure throughout the lengthy baking process.
With all that in mind, here comes the best and easy cinnamon raisin bread recipe.
- 9:00am - Gather ingredients
- 9:15am - Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients
- 9:20am - Let the dough rest in mixing bowl
- 9:30am - Incorporate butter to the dough
- 9:35am - Add raisins to the dough
- 9:36am - Shape dough
- 9:40am - First rest
- 10:40am - Roll out the dough and add cinnamon filling
- 10:45am - Braiding
- 10:50am - Second rest
- 11:50am - Brush with egg wash
- 11:51am - Bake at 350F for 25 minutes
- 12:26pm - Bake at 325F for 15 minutes (partially cover)
- 12:41pm - Let soft cinnamon raisin bread rest for 4-5 minutes
- 12:45pm - Unmold & serve after the bread cool down completely
- Bread flour - After many trials, only King's Arthur bread flour keeps the best structure (and flavor as well) for this soft cinnamon raisin bread .
- The high protein and gluten content of this bread flour are what you need for that soft and fluffy structure I've been bragging about.
- Butter - Always opt for unsalted butter since you can control the mount of salt in the recipe. Butter is where the richness of this dough coming from.
- Dry milk powder - Think of it as a MSG for baking. I used milk powder instead of whole milk in this recipe to limit the the wetness of the dough. Dry milk powder helps to bring out the terrific flavor for the bread.
- Yeast - I used Saf instant yeast, the red version. You can read more about choosing the right yeast and storing instructions here.
- Sugar, egg, and salt - the combinations are normally found in any bread (or cake) recipe. Flavor, sweetness, and balancing taste are what these ingredients brought to the table.
- Subsequently, salt helps to slow down the activity of yeast in the dough.
- However, you also don't want to add too much salt into the recipe. It can retard yeast fermentation and you'll end up with a flat bread instead.
- Raisin - I use Sun-maid in this recipe.
How to make soft cinnamon raisin bread
Time needed: 3 hours and 45 minutes.
- Misc en place
Gather all ingredients before starting mixing process
- Mix ingredients
Add wet ingredients (except for butter and eggs) to dry ingredients and mix until everything is incorporated. Then cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rest in the mixing bowl for 10 minutes. Resting helps enforce the dough structure before adding fat (butter & eggs).
- Add butter and raisin
On medium-low speed, gradually add soft butter into the dough. Make sure the dough does not stick to the sides of the bowl anymore before adding raisins (approximately 5 minutes).
- Fold & rest the dough
Transfer the dough to a lightly greased large mixing bowl, do a few folds by lifting and folding edge of the dough toward the middle. Then cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rest, seam side down until it is double in size. Approximately 1 hour.
- Make cinnamon filling
While the dough is resting, combine ingredients for cinnamon fillings in a small mixing bowl and mix well.
- Shape the dough
Press and roll the dough in to a rectangle. Lightly brush the surface of the dough with water to help with the adhesive process.
- Add cinnamon filling
Use a fine mesh sieve to dust the filling mixture from top to bottom of the dough surface. If you want a nice cinnamon swirl effect, use all of the filling. If you want to cut down the sugar, only apply 1-2 layers.
- Roll the dough
Carefully roll the dough into a log. Make sure the seam is down before proceeding to next step.
- Cut the log in half
Using bench scraper to cut the log in half lengthwise.
- Braid the dough
Arrange 2 strips of dough side by side and pinch one end together. Take left strip dough and lay over the right one. Repeat the step until 2 strips of dough completely twisted. Carefully pinch the end of the dough together.
- Rest the dough again
Transfer the braided dough to lightly greased to a one-quartered hotel pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let the dough rest until double in size, approximately 1 hour. Ideally, the dough should only rise 1 inch above the sides of the pan.
- Brush with egg wash
When the dough is ready, gently brush it with egg wash mixture.
- Bake cinnamon raisin bread
Bake at 350F for 25 minutes. Rotate the pan half way through the process.
Then reduce the oven temperature to 325F. Cover the top loosely with aluminum foil and bake until the top of turned golden brown, approximately 15-20 minutes.
How to store enriched bread
Without preservative, it is somewhat tricky to store homemade bread to prevent it from turning stale.
Luckily, due to the generous amount of butter (and dry milk powder's support), this enriched, soft cinnamon raisin bread is last longer than their artisan cousins.
This homemade raisin bread can be wrapped in plastic wrap and store in a cool, dry place at room temperature for up to 2 days.
Soft Cinnamon Raisin Bread
- ¼ hotel pan, 4" deep
- pastry brush
- Bowl scraper
- Rolling Pin
- Fine mesh sieve
- 20 oz bread flour ~ 1lb 4oz
- 2 oz dry milk powder
- 1 tbsp yeast
- 1 oz sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 large egg
- 12 oz water
- 4 oz unsalted butter cut into small pieces, room temperature
- ½ c raisin prefer Sun-maid
- 1 large egg
- 1 tbsp water
- ½ c confectioner's sugar
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp salt
For the cinnamon filling
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together all ingredients½ c confectioner's sugar, 1 tbsp ground cinnamon, ¼ tsp salt
For the bread
- In a mixing bowl of a stand mixer, combine all dry ingredients.20 oz bread flour, 2 oz dry milk powder, 1 tbsp yeast, 1 oz sugar, ½ tsp salt
- In a medium size bowl, lightly mixing all wet ingredients together.1 large egg, 12 oz water
- Use a dough hook, on medium low speed, slowly add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Scraping the sides of the bowl if necessary. Mix until every is incorporated.
- Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
- On medium-low speed, gradually add soft butter into the dough. Mix until the dough starts pulling from the side of the bowl. Approximately 5 minutes.4 oz unsalted butter
- Reduce the speed to low and slowly add raisins and mix just enough to incorporate them into the dough.½ c raisin
- Transfer the dough to a lightly greased large mixing bowl. Flour your hands and do a few folds by lifting and folding edge of the dough toward the middle. Then cover the bowl, let it rest and double in size, seam side down. Approximately 1 hour.
- Press down the dough to deflate. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface.
- Press and use a rolling pin to roll the dough in to a rectangle.
- Lightly brush the surface of the rolled dough with water to help with the adhesive process.
- Use a fine mesh sieve to dust the filling mixture from top to bottom of the dough surface. If you want a nice cinnamon swirl effect, use all of the filling. If you want to cut down the sugar, only apply 1-2 layers.
- Start to roll the dough away from you into a log, seam side down. Using bench scraper to cut the log in half lengthwise.
- Arrange 2 strips of dough side by side and pinch one end together. Take left strip dough and lay over the right one.
- Repeat the step until 2 strips of dough completely twisted. Carefully pinch the end of the dough together.
- Transfer the braided dough to lightly greased to a one-quartered hotel pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let the dough rest until double in size. Approximately 1 hour
- Ideally, the dough should only rise 1 inch above the sides of the pan.
- Pre heat oven to 350F
- When the bread is ready, lightly brush the loaf with egg wash mixture and bake until the top turns to golden brown or deep golden brown color. Approximately 25 minutes. Remember to rotate the pan half way of this process.1 large egg, 1 tbsp water
- Turn down the heat to 325F. Cover the top of the bread loosely with foil or parchment paper, then bake for another 15-20 minutes.
Cooling and serving
- After finish baking let the bread cool down in the pan at room temperature for 5 minutes. Then carefully unmold the loaf from the pan and let it cool down completely on a wire rack or any clean flat surface before serving.