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- 🛠 Tools needed:
- 🍞 Ingredients Needed:
- Baker's Percentage Table
- 🧑🍳 How to Make Sourdough Cinnamon Raisin Bread:
- 6. First Proof: 2:30pm-6:30pm (about 5 hours at 78ºF)
- How to Serve Sourdough Cinnamon Raisin Bread:
- How to Store Sourdough Cinnamon Raisin Bread:
- Sourdough Cinnamon Raisin Bread FAQs:
- Sourdough Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread Recipe
- Other Recipes You May Enjoy:
Last Updated on September 27, 2023
The aroma of this sourdough cinnamon raisin bread is so intoxicating and cozy to me. The smell of warming cinnamon spice and rum-soaked raisins fill up the entire kitchen as this easy loaf bakes!
I associate cinnamon raisin bread with breakfast diners, where the warmly spiced soft bread is my go-to toast option. Hence, this cinnamon raisin sourdough bread is the recreation of my favorite diner toast. So, sit back in an imaginary booth with a cup of coffee and spread some softened butter on this delicious sourdough cinnamon raisin bread.
The secret to making this easy loaf bread is to get the cinnamon raisin swirl right. Swirl bread has the propensity to develop gaps or tunnels during baking. And after all of that hard work, it’s disappointing to slice into the swirl bread only to find that there are large holes. The recipe and guide has lots of helpful tips and tricks to help prevent gaps in swirl bread so it’s perfect every time.
Sliced and toasted with butter, this is my favorite breakfast toast. It’s only slightly sweet from the cinnamon sugar filling and balanced with the sourdough tang that comes from an overnight fermentation. The rum-soaked raisins are evenly distributed throughout the swirl so each bite has a burst of flavor.
👉 For another classic and easy sourdough sandwich bread recipe, check out this soft Sourdough Sandwich Bread recipe!
For cinnamon lovers, you’ll adore these Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting.
🛠 Tools needed:
Click the toggles below for more information, recommendations, and possible substitutes.
I always list ingredients by weight in grams because it is the most accurate way to measure ingredients. Use a scale and your baking will immediately be better!
I love my Escali baking scale and use it every day. The batteries last a long time, it’s accurate, and it comes in many different colors.
Stand Mixer (recommended)
Invest in a high-quality stand mixer and it will last a very long time. I’ve had my KitchenAid stand mixer for many years and it still works as new!
To develop enough gluten and thoroughly mix in the softened butter for this recipe, a stand mixer with a bread hook will do the best job for you. You can mix by hand, but kneading it will take at least double the time.
The Artisan KitchenAid is the one I use because its motor is strong enough for all of my baking projects, the bowl has a handle (the classic does not), comes in an array of colors, and looks great on any kitchen counter.
Bread Loaf Pan
This bread can be baked in the standard-sized bread loaf pan for this recipe (8.5″x4.5″) or a 9″x5″ pan. I prefer baking this in the 8.5″x4.5″ pan because it rises taller. Both work fine though! For the slightly larger size, the loaf might not rise as much above the rim of the pan during the final proof.
I use this simple, yet elegant J.K. Adams rolling pin. I prefer tapered, dowel, wooden rolling pins for baking projects because they allow you to pivot directions easily when rolling out doughs and pie crusts to keep the dough as even as possible. The J.K. Adams rolling pins are handcrafted in Vermont and is a family-owned business since 1944. The pins are made from sustainably grown American hardwoods and there is a 100% replacement guarantee.
This sourdough cinnamon raisin bread gets an egg wash on top as well as an egg wash on the dough before adding the filling. This Oxo pastry brush is very good. You could also use an unused paint brush if you don’t have or want to buy a pastry brush right now.
Optional but helpful: Brød & Taylor Folding Proofer
This folding proofing box by Brød & Taylor is a game changer to keep your sourdough starter and doughs at the perfect temperature while proofing. It folds up easily, includes a humidity tray, and can even be used as a slow cooker.
🍞 Ingredients Needed:
Click the toggles below for more information, recommendations, and possible substitutes.
I use King Arthur All-Purpose Flour for this cinnamon raisin bread recipe. At 11.7% protein content, King Arthur’s All-Purpose Flour is on the high end of protein for most all-purpose flours but still produces a lighter and soft crumb that I think is better for this type of bread.
Furthermore, you can use bread flour or whole wheat flour actoo, but you might want to increase the liquid in the recipe slightly to compensate.
- Active Sourdough Starter
- Sea Salt
- Granulated Sugar
- Whole Milk
- One Egg (plus one more for egg washes)
- Unsalted Butter
Cinnamon Sugar Filling Ingredients:
I let the raisins soak in just a little bit of rum so they have a slight rum-raisin flavor. I prefer a black rum like Gosling’s for this but any type of dark rum will work well. Only have bourbon? That’d also be fine!
If you want to skip or don’t have the alcohol, soak the raisins in black tea for added flavor. Water works as well.
- Granulated Sugar
- Ground Cinnamon
- All-purpose flour (helps prevent filling from leaking)
- Egg wash (binder to prevent gaps and helps the filling stick)
Baker’s Percentage Table
I include a baker’s percentage chart so you can easily scale a recipe up or down. With baker’s percentages, the total weight of all flour in the recipe is 100%. The other ingredients are noted in relation to the total weight of the flour. This is why the percentages below will add up to over 100%. The King Arthur website has a more detailed reference page on why and how baker’s percentages are calculated if you’re interested and would like to learn more.
|All-Purpose Flour||450 grams||100%|
|Sourdough Starter*||50 grams||11.1%|
|Water, room temperature||125 grams||27.8%|
|Sea Salt||8 grams||1.8%|
|Granulated Sugar||44 grams||9.8%|
|Whole Milk, room temperature||125 grams||27.8%|
|One Large Egg**||57 grams||12.7%|
|Unsalted Butter, room temperature||71 grams (5 TBS)||15.8%|
If you do not want to build a levain, use about 125-150g starter instead.
**Another egg is used for egg wash
|Dark Brown Sugar||50 grams||11.1%|
|Ground Cinnamon||6 grams||1.3%|
|All-Purpose Flour||8 grams||1.8%|
|Dark Rum*||40 grams||8.9%|
|One Large Egg, beaten**||57 grams||12.7%|
**Use about half of the egg wash for filling and reserve the other half for glazing the loaf
🧑🍳 How to Make Sourdough Cinnamon Raisin Bread:
I include a sample schedule alongside this sourdough cinnamon raisin bread guide. As always, adjust as necessary to fit your own schedule, ambient temperature, and rate of fermentation.
1. Build the levain: 9:00am
Mix together 50g of sourdough starter, 50g of bread flour, and 50g of warm water in an empty jar.
Cover and set it in a warm location (between 75-80ºF) for about five hours until bubbly and ripe. The levain should at least double in size during this time.
While waiting for the levain to double, set aside 75g water, 125g whole milk, and 71g (5 TBS) unsalted butter to come to room temperature.
Note: Please refer to my guide on How To Make A Sourdough Starter if you do not have a sourdough starter and the FAQ section on that page where I explain the difference between a starter and a levain.
I almost always use a specific levain for recipes. If you’d prefer to skip making a levain, use about 125-150g ripe sourdough starter when you add the wet ingredients.
2. Mix the Dry Ingredients: 2:00pm
Once the levain is ripe, mix the dry ingredients together in the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl:
- 400 grams of all-purpose flour
- 44 grams of granulated sugar
- 8 grams of sea salt
3. Add the Wet Ingredients: 2:05pm
Then, in the same bowl, add the wet ingredients:
- Ripe levain (125-150g)
- 125g room temperature whole milk
- 75g room temperature water
- One large egg
Note: If you forgot to bring the milk and water to room temperature, you can zap it in the microwave for a few seconds at a time. Just be sure that neither is hot or it can kill the sourdough yeasts.
4. Mix: 2:10pm
Using the dough hook attachment, mix together the wet and dry ingredients on low speed.
At first, the mixture will be dry until the flour starts to get hydrated. After a couple of minutes, the dough will be sticky, shaggy, and wet.
Next, increase the speed to medium and continue to mix for about five more minutes. When done, you should hear a slapping sound from the dough hitting the sides of the bowl, the dough should be smoother and more cohesive. The dough should not stick to the sides of the bowl.
5. Add Butter: 2:20pm
Slice the 71 grams (5 TBS) of room-temperature unsalted butter into at least five pieces.
When making most enriched bread like this loaf or my Sourdough Brioche Bread, it’s important that the butter be softened at room temperature (68-70ºF). Room temperature butter will incorporate easier into the dough. You’ll know the butter is soft enough when it leaves a slight impression or indentation if you press on it with your finger.
With the mixer on medium speed, add the butter one piece at a time until fully incorporated into the dough. Let the dough mix for at least a minute or two before adding in the next piece of butter.
After adding each piece of butter, continue to mix the dough for about five or so minutes until the dough is completely smooth, glossy, and supple.
Finally, when done, the dough should pass the windowpane test and easily slide off of the dough hook.
What is the windowpane test?
The windowpane test is a useful tool to know if enough gluten has been developed in a dough. To perform the windowpane test, gently pull up a small portion of the dough between your fingers. If the dough quickly tears, it has not developed enough gluten as seen in the photo below before kneading.
The dough passes the windowpane test if you’re able to stretch it into a thin, translucent film that light could pass through without breaking (like a windowpane!).
6. First Proof: 2:30pm-6:30pm (about 5 hours at 78ºF)
Transfer the dough to a medium mixing bowl, cover it, and place it in a warm location to proof.
Then, proof the dough for about 5 hours at 78ºF until it is about doubled, domed, and even smoother.
- Because this is an enriched dough, dough can take longer to proof. Ideally, the dough is placed in a warm & humid environment like a bread proofer or in an oven with the light turned on. 75-80ºF is the ideal temperature range for sourdough yeasts. If cooler, the dough will take longer to proof. If warmer, it will proof faster.
- Unlike My Everyday Sourdough Bread recipe, this dough is unlikely to overproof unless left in a warm environment for hours longer than called for (in which case the dough can spoil). You will degas the dough the next day, so getting this first proof exactly correct is less critical than making an artisan-style sourdough bread.
7. Cold Overnight Proof: 6:30pm
There are many benefits of chilling this dough overnight. First, the cold-proof, or retard, slows down fermentation and gives the sourdough cinnamon raisin bread a more complex flavor. Secondly, rolling out chilled dough is much easier than rolling out room-temperature dough. Lastly, proofing it overnight allows you to bake it at a later time that best fits your schedule.
With the dough covered, place it in a cold refrigerator for overnight proof and up to two days.
8. Soak raisins and make cinnamon raisin filling: Next day at 9:00am
Soaking the raisins in dark rum will hydrate them to make them plump & juicy for your cinnamon raisin bread filling. The rum is really excellent for a rum-raisin quality, but you’re welcome to replace it with black tea or water.
Make rum raisins
The next day, place 120g of raisins into a small saucepan. Pour 40g dark rum over the raisins and place over a stovetop. Turn on low until the rum just starts to boil and immediately turn off the stove and cover the pot with a lid. Allow the raisins to soak in almost all of the rum and cool in the saucepan while you make the filling (at least 30 minutes).
Make cinnamon sugar filling
In a small bowl, mix together 50g of dark brown sugar, 6g of ground cinnamon, and 8g of all-purpose flour.
This small amount of flour helps keep your cinnamon sugar filling from leaking from your swirl bread.
9. Shape: 9:30am
Next, take the chilled dough out of the refrigerator, and punch it down slightly with your hand to degas it. Then, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface.
Press the dough into a 6-inch square.
Roll out the dough
Lightly flour the top of the dough and use a rolling pin to roll the dough out evenly into a rectangle. The rectangle should be about 18″x7″.
As you’re rolling, generously flour the work surface and try to move quickly so your dough doesn’t stick to the counter.
Note: It’s okay to roll the dough out slightly longer (longer=more swirls), but try to keep the width near 7″ or even slightly less. As it’s rolled, it will get wider and you want to make sure it will fit in the pan.
Add cinnamon sugar and rum-raisin filling
Swirl breads have a tendency to create gaps or tunnels when baked. To help prevent gaps or tunnels in swirl breads, apply a light egg wash to the rolled-out dough. First of all, it will help your sandy cinnamon sugar filling stick to the dough. Secondly, the egg wash will act as a binder for the filling and help prevent gaps.
Beat the remaining egg in a small bowl with a fork or small whisk.
Apply a light egg wash to the rolled-out dough with a pastry brush. Leave about a half-inch border on the sides. Reserve remaining egg wash for topping later.
Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar filling evenly on top of the egg wash.
If there is any remaining liquid from soaking the raisins, strain it. Place the rum-soaked raisins evenly on top of the cinnamon sugar mixture.
Roll up the cinnamon raisin bread
Starting from one of the short ends of the dough, use both hands to roll it up into a swirl.
Try to roll the dough up snugly so no raisins or filling comes out. If a raisin plops out, just poke it back into the swirl, add it with the filling not rolled up yet, or have it as a treat!
Note: The dough should be pliable and shouldn’t stick to the counter as long as it was floured enough and isn’t too warm. If the dough sticks, flour your hands and use a floured bench scraper placed under the dough to help roll it up.
I’ve found this dough to be quite forgiving, so if it slightly tears, sticks, or isn’t a perfect cylinder, it will probably work itself out during the final proofing.
10. Final Proof: 9:45am (about 4-5 hours at 78ºF)
Grease the interior of a 8.5″x4.5″ or 9″x5″ bread loaf pan with butter or a non-stick cooking spray. Gently place the dough into the pan with the seam down.
Place the dough in a warm location for its final proof like a bread proofer or an oven with the light turned on.
At 78ºF, proofing typically takes between 4 to 5 hours.
At the end of proofing, the dough should double, be about an inch above the bread pan, feel poofy, and pass the “finger poke test”.
What is the “finger poke test”?
One way to tell if your dough is fully proofed is to do “the finger poke test.” Take a floured finger and gently poke the dough. The dough is underproofed if it immediately springs back. If the dough leaves a small indentation and slowly springs back, it is likely proofed! Does your poke leave a big crater that doesn’t spring back? It might be overproofed.
11. Bake: 2:00pm
Preheat oven to 375ºF.
Then, brush the top of the dough with the reserved egg wash.
Bake the bread for 40-45 minutes until it is a deep brown. The internal temperature should be between 190-200ºF.
Finally, let it cool completely on a wire rack before removing and slicing into it!
How to Serve Sourdough Cinnamon Raisin Bread:
I think this sourdough cinnamon raisin swirl bread is great on its own. The interior texture is soft and somewhat reminiscent of store-bought white bread (in a good way!). That’s all balanced by the warming cinnamon spices and bursts of raisins in the swirl filling.
However, in my opinion, it’s even better as breakfast toast. With a morning coffee and a slab of butter, it’s one of the coziest breads I bake. The swirl is mesmerizing even when it’s not perfect which makes it even more rustic!
I haven’t made this bread into French Toast, but I imagine it would also be lovely as a cinnamon raisin French Toast if sliced thickly. If you’re into French Toast as much as I am, I have a great sourdough challah recipe that makes the perfect French Toast.
How to Store Sourdough Cinnamon Raisin Bread:
To store this sourdough cinnamon raisin bread, wrap it in a tea towel or paper bag for a couple of days. It will start to stale after a couple of days but you can still toast it up.
Furthermore, the cinnamon raisin bread also freezes well if you slice and place it into a freezer-safe bag. Use it within a couple of months so it doesn’t get freezer burned.
Sourdough Cinnamon Raisin Bread FAQs:
Why is there no cinnamon in the dough itself?
If you use too much cinnamon, it will inhibit sourdough fermentation. Cinnamon has anti-fungal properties (if you have houseplants or a garden, you might know that!) which will prevent your dough from fermenting or at an extremely slow rate. I’ve kept the dough for this loaf quite simple and added all of the cinnamon sugar and rum-raisin flavor for the filling itself.
Can I add more or less raisins?
You’re welcome to add more raisins to your filling if you’d like. I think the proportion in this recipe is nice enough to get a raisin or two in each bite and is balanced to not be too sweet. Just know that the more raisins you add likely increases the chances of gaps forming.
Alternatively, you can use fewer raisins or you can substitute with chopped dates as well.
Why do I still have gaps or tunnels in my swirl bread?
If you followed this recipe using the egg wash and flour in the filling to prevent gaps/tunnels, then the gaps could be because of a couple issues:
- The dough could be over proofed. Over proofed dough has a tendency to form large gaps or tunnels near the edges and top of breads.
- The dough might not have been rolled up tight enough. Make sure when you roll up the dough that it’s snug and not too loose. Create a little tension but not so much that it feels tight.
- Always allow your breads to cool completely before slicing. Slicing while still warm (I know it’s tempting) releases steam and moisture from the bread before the crumb is set. It will dry out faster and the sugar swirl might not be fully set.
Can I double this recipe?
Certainly. Simply double all of the ingredients. The only difference in steps would be to divide the dough in half before rolling it out.
Why did my bread burst on top or the sides?
Because this bread is not scored like artisan sourdough bread, when the dough hits the hot oven, it causes it to rise very quickly (oven spring). With that initial burst of energy, the bread might burst slightly on the sides or top. This isn’t uncommon with loaf breads and does not effect the final flavor.
This tends to happen more with underproofed doughs or if there is a shaping issue (possibly rolled too tight). You could also try baking the bread in a slightly larger pan (like a 9″x5″ pan if you used a 8.5″x4.5″) to see if that helps.
Can I use sourdough discard for this recipe?
Sourdough discard is acidic and typically used in non-yeasted recipes since the sourdough starter has broken down. Thus, sourdough discard is not appropriate for this recipe and you should you an active sourdough starter.
See more sourdough discard recipes.
Sourdough Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread
Sourdough Cinnamon Raisin Bread Dough
- Build the Levain:Mix the active sourdough starter, all-purpose flour, and warm water in a clean and empty jar. Cover and let sit in a warm location for about five hours until doubled, bubbly, and ripe.Alternatively, use 150g of active sourdough starter when you mix the dough.50 grams Sourdough Starter, 50 grams All-Purpose Flour, 50 grams Warm Water
- When your levain is ready, mix the all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, and salt in the bowl of the stand mixer (or a mixing bowl if kneading by hand).In the same bowl, add all of the levain, whole milk, water, and egg.400 grams All-Purpose Flour, 44 grams Granulated Sugar, 8 grams Sea Salt, Levain, 125 grams Whole Milk, 75 grams Water, 1 Egg
- Using the dough hook attachment on a stand mixer, mix together the wet and dry ingredients on low speed until it begins to form a shaggy dough.Increase the speed to medium and mix for about five more minutes. When done, you should hear a slapping sound from the dough hitting the sides of the bowl and the dough should be smoother and more cohesive.
- Slice the room temperature butter into five pieces (about 1 TBS each).With the mixer on medium speed, add one piece of butter at a time until it is fully incorporated into the dough. Let the dough mix for at least a minute or two before adding in the next piece of butter.Once all the pieces are added, continue to mix for at least five more minutes until the dough is completely smooth, glossy, and supple. The dough should pass the windowpane test.71 grams Unsalted Butter
- Transfer the dough to a medium mixing bowl, cover it, and place it in a warm location to proof.Proof the dough until it is about doubled, domed, and smoother. This takes about 5 hours at 78ºF. The dough will need to proof longer if cooler and will proof faster if warmer.
- Place the covered and proofed dough in a cold refrigerator for overnight proof and up to two days.
- The next day, place the raisins into a small saucepan on a stovetop. Pour the rum over the raisins. Turn on low heat just until the liquid begins to boil. Turn off, remove from heat, and place the lid on top of the saucepan for the raisins to soak. Let them soak with the lid on for at least 30 minutes or until cooled.120 grams Raisins, 40 grams Dark Rum
- In a small bowl, mix together the dark brown sugar, ground cinnamon, and all-purpose flour into a sandy mixture.50 grams Dark Brown Sugar, 6 grams Ground Cinnamon, 8 grams All-Purpose Flour
- Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator and punch it down to degas it. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and press into a 6-inch square.Flour the dough and with a rolling pin, roll it out into a rectangle about 18 inches long and 7 inches wide. Flour underneath the dough if needed so it does not stick to the counter. It's okay if the dough is longer than 18 inches (this will make more swirls) but try to keep the width under 7 inches so it will fit into the pan.
- Beat the remaining egg. Use a pastry brush to apply a light egg wash to the surface of the dough leaving a ½ inch border on the sides. Reserve the rest for later.Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture evenly on top.Strain any liquid remaining in the rum-soaked raisins. Place the plump raisins evenly on top of the cinnamon sugar mixture.1 Egg
- Starting from one of the short ends of the dough, use both hands to roll it up snugly into a swirl. If the dough is warm or sticky at all, flour your hands and underneath the dough if needed. Grease the interior of the bread loaf pan with butter or non-stick cooking spray. Place the rolled dough into the bread loaf pan with the seam down.Keep the dough covered in a warm location for its final proof. The final proof should take about 4-5 hours at 78ºF.When finished proofing, the dough should be doubled, be about 1 inch above the pan, feel poofy, and pass the "finger poke test."
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Brush the top of the dough with the reserved egg wash.Bake the bread for 40-45 minutes until it is deep brown. The internal temperature should be between 190-200ºF.Allow the sourdough cinnamon raisin bread to cool for at least an hour on a wire rack. Remove from the bread pan. Slice & enjoy!