This homemade sourdough cinnamon raisin bread gets a noteworthy upgrade with tangy, active sourdough starter and vanilla soaked raisins. It’s so soft and scrumptious, just wait until you try it!
Admittedly: I grew up eating Pepperidge Farm cinnamon raisin bread for breakfast. My mom would make sandwiches, cut into triangles, with soft whipped cream cheese or melted butter slathered on top. I’d eat the whole thing- even the crust!
This recipe is a spin-off of my easy sourdough sandwich bread with more sourdough starter, a perfectly sweet cinnamon-sugar swirl, and vanilla soaked raisins for a flavor-packed punch. I’ll show you how to make it with step-by-step instructions and a simple video. I can think of nothing more satisfying to enjoy for breakfast!
Why This Recipe Works
- The stretch and fold technique + bread flour is used for optimal height and crumb structure.
- Raisins are incorporated into the dough (not into the filling) for easier rolling.
- Flour binds the cinnamon-sugar swirl together so it doesn’t leak out of the loaf!
Mix the Dough
In a stand mixer, combine the dough ingredients to form a rough, shaggy dough. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes. This resting period will make the raisins much easier to incorporate. Meanwhile, soak the raisins in vanilla extract. Drain, squeeze dry in a paper towel, and add to the bowl.
Knead the dough on medium-low speed for about 6-8 minutes. If you don’t have a stand mixer, I’ve included instructions in the recipe below to mix the dough by hand.
Bulk Rise With Stretch & Folds
Cover the bowl and let the dough rise overnight until double in size, about 8-12 + hrs @ 68 F.
To stretch and fold the dough, the first set can be done about 30 minutes into the bulk rise followed by another set 30 minutes later (2 sets total). You’ll get great height and a soft bouncy crumb following this technique!
How to Shape Cinnamon Raisin Bread
Gently pat and stretch the dough to remove some of the air bubbles. Roll into a 6 x 20-inch rectangle. These specific dimensions are important: the longer you roll the dough, the more swirls you’ll get! The 6-inch width will ensure the dough fits snuggly into the pan. I use a measuring tape for accuracy and smooth down the sides of the dough to keep the width within range (watch the video at the top of this post!).
Lightly score the dough around the tops and sides to create a border. Brush the surface with egg wash or plain water for the filling to stick. Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar in the center.
To finish, roll the dough into a log and place into a buttered 8.5×4- inch loaf pan.
A Few Helpful Tips…
When bread bakes, steam forms within the dough. Because this loaf is not scored on the surface (it will cut into the cinnamon swirl) the steam has no place to escape. As a result, the steam can sometimes form gaps between the cinnamon swirl and the bread.
To remedy this, Cooks Illustrated recommends adding powdered sugar to the swirl filling to bind the extra moisture. King Arthur brushes an egg wash onto the dough to make the swirl stick. I’ve had mixed results with both.
Several of my recipe tests revealed that gap preventative binders (i.e. egg wash, powdered sugar etc.) only work if the dough is shaped properly AND it is not over proofed after the second rise. If the dough is too puffy and over proofed, you won’t get gaps… you’ll get tunnels! Either way, not to worry- the gaps will not effect the final taste.
Cover the loaf pan and let rest at room temperature until the center of the dough rises to about 1-inch above the rim of the pan, about 1 1/2- 2 hrs. It should look soft and slightly puffy, and no longer dense.
Bake The Dough
Place on the center rack and bake @ 375 F for 45-50 minutes or until light golden brown. The aroma will tantalize you as it bakes! Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes or so, and then transfer to a wire rack to finish.
We love this soft sourdough cinnamon raisin bread served slightly warm, or toasted with melted butter. It makes great French toast the next day too!
How good does this look?!
More Sourdough Bread Recipes To Try!
- Sourdough Bread: a Beginner’s Guide
- Easy Sourdough Sandwich Bread
- Sourdough Focaccia Bread
- Soft Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls
A twist on a classic, this soft sourdough cinnamon raisin bread recipe gets a noteworthy upgrade with tangy sourdough and vanilla soaked raisins. We love it toasted with cream cheese or melted butter and it makes great french toast!
- 500 g (4 cups) bread flour
- 85 g (6 tbsp.) unsalted butter, softened, cut into cubes
- 24 g (2 tbsp.) sugar
- 9 g fine sea salt
- 100 g (1/2 cup) bubbly, active sourdough starter (100% hydration)*
- 240 g (1 cup) warm water
- 85 g (1/2 cup) raisins
- 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 egg + a splash of water, lightly beat (egg wash)**
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 tbsp. cinnamon
- 1 tbsp. flour
Notes & Substitutions
*For an even faster rise, use 150 g sourdough starter + 230 g warm water and keep the rest of the quantities the same.
**Water can be used instead of an egg wash to brush the dough.
Baking Schedule: this is an overnight dough which takes approximately 8-12 hrs to rise @ 68 F. Start the night before, in the evening, and plan to bake the following day. Alternatively, if you’re making this in the summer and it’s warmer than 68 F, the dough will take less time to rise, about 4-6 hrs @ 80+ F. Instead of the overnight option (which might lead to over proofed dough), let it rise during the day to bake later in the afternoon or evening.
Mix the Dough
Add the flour, butter, sugar and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Combine on low speed until the butter looks like crumbs. Add the starter and warm water. Mix until the flour is fully absorbed. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel and let rest for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, soak the raisins in the vanilla extract. Drain and squeeze dry in a paper towel before using.
After the dough has rested, add the raisins to the bowl. Switch to the dough hook and mix on medium-low (#3 on a KitchenAid) for 6-8 minutes. The dough will feel soft and supple when ready. If it’s sticky, add a little bit of flour.
Note: In lieu of using a stand mixer, knead the dough by hand without the raisins for 8-10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Cover and rest for 1 hour. Add the raisins during your first stretch and fold; they will be much easier to incorporate at this stage.
Bulk Rise with Stretch & Folds
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise overnight at room temperature (68 F) until double in size, about 8-12 hrs. Please refer to the Baking Schedule above for alternative rise time options.
To stretch and fold the dough, begin 30-minutes to 1 hour into the bulk rise. Grab a portion of the dough and stretch it upward. Fold the dough over toward the center of the bowl. Give the bowl a one-quarter turn and repeat: stretch the dough upward and fold it over toward the center. Continue until you have come full circle to complete 1 set, or 4 folds around the bowl. Rest the dough for 30 minutes and then do a second set. For step-by-step instructions and video click here.
Shape the Dough
In the morning, coat an 8.5 x 4-inch loaf pan with butter. Combine the sugar, cinnamon and flour in a small bowl; set aside.
Remove the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently pat, flatten and stretch the dough to release any large air bubbles. Roll the dough into a 6 x 20-inch rectangle with a rolling pin. Gently score a 1-inch border around the sides leaving a 2-inch border at the very top to seal the dough (you are not cutting through the dough just marking it). Brush the entire surface with the egg wash or water, if using. Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture inside the border. Slowly roll the dough into a log pinching the ends to seal. Place the dough into the loaf pan seam side down.
Cover the dough and let rest at room temperature until it has risen to about 1-inch above the rim of the pan, about 1 1/2- 2 hours depending on temperature. Check the height by looking at the domed center portion of the dough.
Preheat your oven to 375 F towards the tail end of the second rise.
Bake the Dough
Place the loaf pan on the center rack and bake for about 45-50 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes, and then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
This loaf will stay fresh for up to 3 days, stored in a plastic bag at room temperature.
Keywords: sandwich bread, cinnamon raisin bread, all purpose flour, sourdough, sourdough bread, easy bread, artisan sourdough, homemade