For three blissful yet slow-moving hours, my home was hugged by the warm scent of cinnamon and sugar and fluffy dough rising, baking, and finally, cooling on the counter. After those three hours, and after twenty painful minutes of pacing around the cooling bread, I sliced into it, popped a slice eagerly into my mouth, and proceeded to melt into a puddle on the floor.
This is the kind of bread that makes you feel like cozying up to a fire in the middle of summer, the kind that keeps luring you back into your kitchen and welcomes friends into your home with its toasty cinnamon aroma. It’s the kind that you just can’t keep your hands off of, whether you’re having a slice for breakfast with your morning joe or indulging in a little midnight snack, and it makes you feel all warm and fuzzy… even if it’s almost July.
It’s not quite hot enough in California to start putting caution tape all over my oven and forbid myself from using it, so I figured I’d squeeze in this delicious breakfast bread as a weekday treat. Unless I’ve been stockpiling recipes to try from my favorite food blogs, which is usually the case, I sometimes go searching on Google when a craving hits to cook or bake something specific. In this case, the first recipe that turned up in my search was for “The World’s Best Cinnamon Raisin Bread.” Quite a lofty promise, but I gave it a whirl.
I haven’t eaten very many cinnamon raisin breads in my life, or on different continents for that matter, but I’d definitely say this is one of the best I’ve ever had. The bread itself is fluffy and slightly sweet, and after it’s rolled up and baked to a buttery golden brown, a slice reveals a gorgeous cinnamon swirl dotted with juicy raisins… and that first slice, along with a few others, will mysteriously end up in your mouth.
I know you’ll just love this cinnamon raisin bread. It’s absolutely scrumptious, and in my opinion, smells and tastes an awful lot like Christmas. If you’d like to make multiple loaves, click here for the original recipe, which yields three. My interpretation yields one; otherwise, I’d be unstoppable with this stuff!
Yield: Makes 1 loaf
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup warm water (must be between 110-115 degrees)
1 (1/4 ounce) package active dry yeast
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/3 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup raisins
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon milk
2/3 cups white sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
Warm the milk in a small saucepan, or carefully in the microwave, until it just starts to bubble. Remove from heat and let cool until lukewarm.
Add warm water to a large bowl. Dissolve yeast in water and set aside, about 10 minutes or so. Mix in egg, sugar, butter, salt and raisins. Stir in the cooled milk slowly so you don't cook the eggs. Add the flour gradually to make a stiff dough. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for a few minutes, until smooth.
Spray the large bowl with nonstick cooking spray and add the dough. Turn to grease the dough evenly. Cover with a warm, damp cloth and let rise. Allow to rise until doubled, usually about 1 1/2 hours.
Roll out on a lightly floured surface into a large rectangle, half an inch thick. Moisten the dough with 1 tablespoon milk, and rub all over the dough with your hands. Mix together 2/3 cup of sugar and 2 tablespoons cinnamon, and sprinkle mixture evenly on top of the moistened dough.
Roll the dough tightly (the long way). Tuck under ends and pinch bottom together.
Place a piece of parchment paper inside the loaf pan (for easy removal), spray with cooking spray, and add the loaf. Lightly grease the top of the loaf. Let rise in warm place, uncovered, again for about an hour.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or until loaves are lightly browned and sound hollow when tapped. Remove from oven and let cool on rack. After about 10 minutes, remove the loaf from the pan. Allow to cool before slicing.
Store in a large Ziploc bag in the refrigerator for up to five days.
Adapted from Recipe Zaar