You know how sometimes you have a slice of bread that’s so good that you eat the entire loaf in one sitting? This is that kind of bread.

Soaking the raisins in liquid, preferably overnight, is key. I do this any time I bake with raisins and it takes them to a whole new level. They get outrageously plump and soft and I always add some dark rum to give it a little kick. They’re raisins, AMPLIFIED! Extreme raisins! None of that dry, wrinkly bullshit.

In short, make this bread. Eat boozy raisins. Enjoy life.

Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread

Pepperidge Farm ain’t go nothing on this bread

Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread

Adapted from The Kitchn

Makes 1 10×4.5″ loaf

Bread:

  • 1 cup raisins (soaked in rum and hot water overnight)
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1 cup milk, whole, 2%, or skim
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 5 1/2 – 6 cups all-purpose flour (I used equal parts white and whole wheat)

Filling:

  • 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1 large egg beaten with 2 teaspoons warm water
  1. Put the raisins in a small bowl and cover them with hot water. Let the raisins plump for at least 10 minutes. Drain and set aside. (I put these in a mason jar with a couple splashes of rum and filled the jar with enough hot water to cover the raisins and let sit overnight.)
  2. Pour a cup of water into a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle the yeast over top. (You can use the water from soaking raisins for some extra-awesome flavor in your loaves, but just make sure the water has cooled to room temperature.) Give it a few minutes, then stir to fully dissolve the yeast into the water.
  3. Stir the milk, melted butter, and salt into the water. Add 5 1/2 cups of the flour and stir to form a shaggy dough. Knead into your mixer on low speed with a dough hook or knead by hand for 8-10 minutes to form a smooth, slightly tacky dough. Check the dough halfway through; if it’s very sticky (think: bubble gum), add a little more flour. The dough is ready when it forms a ball without sagging and quickly springs back when poked.
  4. Toss the raisins with a few tablespoons of flour to absorb any residual moisture from when they were plumped. With the mixer on, gradually add them to the bowl and continue kneading until they are evenly distributed.
  5. If kneading by hand, turn the dough out onto your work surface and pat it into an oval. Sprinkle about half the raisins over the top and fold the dough like a letter. Pat it into an oval again, sprinkle the remaining raisins, and fold it again. Knead the dough by hand for a few minutes to distribute the raisins through the dough. (Alternatively, you can reserve the raisins and sprinkle them over the dough along with the cinnamon-sugar.)
  6. Return the dough to the bowl and cover. Let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about an hour. Meanwhile, combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and beat together the egg and water in a second bowl.
  7. Roll the dough out on the counter. It should be slightly less wide than your baking pan and as long as you can make it. The thinner the dough, the more layers of cinnamon swirl you’ll end up with. If the dough starts to shrink back on you, let it rest for a few minutes and then try again.
  8. Brush the entire surface of the dough with egg wash, leaving about two inches clear at the top. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon and sugar. Starting at the end closest to you, roll up the dough. When you get to the top, pinch the seam closed. Transfer the loaf to your pan seam-side down.
  9. Let the loaf rise until mounded over the top of the pan and pillowy, about 30-40 minutes. Halfway through rising, preheat the oven to 375F.
  10. Brush the top with some of the remaining egg wash. If desired, sprinkle some of your remaining cinnamon-sugar over the tops of the loaf as well. Bake for 40-45 minutes until golden brown.
  11. Remove the loaf from the pan and allow it to cool completely before slicing. Baked loaves can also be frozen for up to three months.
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