Cinnamon-Raisin Swirl Bread

September  9, 2015
7 Ratings
Photo by Yossy Arefi
  • Prep time 1 hour
  • Cook time 1 hour
  • Makes one 9- by 5- by 3-inch loaf
Author Notes

A lot of cinnamon bread recipes use simple white bread dough (without any dairy or eggs), but I prefer sweet breads with a bit of richness. For this version, I started with a brioche-inspired dough with a generous amount of butter. Then, I tossed in a handful of raisins because I love their texture—raisin avoiders can, of course, leave them out. I was tempted to add butter to the filling, but in a loaf like this, the butter will create gaps between the dough and filling and eventually leak out of the dough and burn in the oven. Instead, I brushed the dough with milk before sprinkling cinnamon-sugar over the top.

Make sure to roll up your loaf tightly, and be careful to not let the loaf rise too much in the pan or you will get big gaps between the filling and dough. —Yossy Arefi

What You'll Need
  • For the bread dough:
  • 1/2 cup water, at 110° F
  • 1/2 cup milk, at 110° F
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened but cool
  • 1 1/4 cups raisins
  • For the filling:
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 5 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 splash milk, for brushing
  1. Combine the water, milk, and yeast in a bowl. Let sit until foamy.
  2. Add 4 1/4 cups of the flour and the salt to the bowl of a standing mixer, then use the dough hook to stir the flour into the yeast mixture on low speed. Stop the mixer a few times and use a spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl. The dough will be very shaggy and dry.
  3. Add the eggs. Mix gently to combine, then add the sugar. Turn the mixer up to medium-low and mix for about 4 minutes. The dough should be soft and sticky, but if is more batter-like than dough-like in texture, add more flour, a couple tablespoons at a time.
  4. Turn the mixer back down to low and mix the butter into the dough in 2-tablespoon chunks, beating until each piece is almost completely incorporated before adding the next piece. Make sure to take this step nice and slow to ensure that the dough is evenly mixed and kneaded. To ensure even mixing, stop periodically to pull the dough from the hook and scrape the sides of the bowl. The dough will be very soft and billowy.
  5. Once all of the butter has been incorporated, continue to knead the dough until it pulls away from the sides of the bowl a bit, about 10 minutes. Add the raisins.
  6. Transfer the dough to a clean bowl and refrigerate overnight. The dough will double in size, then will eventually stop rising once it is chilled.
  7. When you are ready to bake, grease a 9- by 5- by 3-inch baking pan. Mix the sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and pat it into a rectangle, then use a rolling pin to roll it into a roughly 8- by 18-inch rectangle, with the short edge facing you.
  8. Brush the dough with milk, then sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar over the top, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the far edge. Starting at the short edge closest to you, tightly roll the dough into a loaf. Pinch the edges together to seal. Tuck the sides of the loaf in so that none of the cinnamon sugar is exposed. Transfer the loaf to the prepared pan and let it rise until it is about 1-inch over the edge of the pan, about 1 hour.
  9. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 350° F. Bake the loaf until golden brown and cooked through, about 40 to 50 minutes, or until the internal temperature is 200° F.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Carol Diamond
    Carol Diamond
  • christinajean
  • Jessica Johnson
    Jessica Johnson
  • AntoniaJames
  • mcs3000
Yossy Arefi is a photographer and stylist with a passion for food. During her stint working in restaurant kitchens, Yossy started the blog Apt. 2B Baking Co. where, with her trusty Pentax film camera, she photographs and writes about seasonal desserts and preserves. She currently lives in Brooklyn but will always love her native city of Seattle. Follow her work at &

18 Reviews

nicoletta May 11, 2020
My raisin bread came out beautiful! The result of the recipe far exceeded my expectations. I proofed the yeast very carefully and weighed the flour, as was suggested in earlier reviews. I used bread flour. The loaf rose to a lovely height. I added chopped pecans to the swirl filling. Yes, the dough was much easier to roll after you chill it overnight. Definitely something I will make again.
Theresa E. June 1, 2017
Do you have to let it rise in the refrigerator overnight or can you let it rise the conventional way?
Carol D. October 23, 2016
Oh, well. Did everything to the letter, but I don't think the yeast, which was instant, proofed properly. Very little rise in the frig, the counter or the pan. Baked it up, and it was very dense and heavy.
JuJu April 30, 2017
Carol, if you do see this thread, the culprit may be too much flour, given that you stated "dense and heavy."

If not already doing so, use an accurate kitchen scale for weighing flour, and also note the weight on the side of the flour bag, as weights may vary per manufacturer.

Yossy's thread below mentioned she uses 125g flour.

Hope this helps.
camila July 18, 2016
may i use instant dry yeast instead of active yeast?
Asphoura January 3, 2021
They are interchangeable, instant might be even quicker!
christinajean March 13, 2016
No issues with the recipe -- it's one of my favorite things I've baked so far! Sliced and freezed my loaf so I could eat throughout the week. It toasts beautifully.
Jessica J. January 9, 2016
My loaf didnt rise once I had it in the loaf pan. It doubled overnight in the fridge though the night before. Any ideas?
Aaron October 8, 2015
Yossi, my loaf "split open" along the top left edge so the top crust was in the middle and to the right. Any ideas why this would happen?
Rachel December 23, 2015
I've made this loaf twice and had the same splitting problem both times. I'd love to know how to prevent it.
JuJu April 30, 2017
Two factors that can contribute to a loaf splitting along the sides are under-proofing, and/or in shaping the loaf, as not sealing the seam securely.
JuJu April 30, 2017
Two factors that can contribute to a loaf splitting along the sides are under-proofing, and/or in shaping the loaf, as not sealing the seam securely.
Asphoura January 3, 2021
This happened to me also, I think the fault was in not dealing my dough properly.
AntoniaJames September 17, 2015
Yossi, how much does a cup of flour weigh in your kitchen? (I ask because the Food52 test kitchen runs the gamut from 120 g per cup to 144, based on a random survey of recipes posted by Food52 editors that include both mass and volume metrics.) Thank you. ;o)
Yossy A. September 20, 2015
I measure a cup of flour as 125g
AntoniaJames September 17, 2015
Those are good tips, Yossi. (I so appreciate headnotes full of useful information.)

I haven't made cinnamon bread in ages, but plan to try this one soon. I'll double and freeze the second for French toast when my sons are home during the holidays. Also, my family loves to snack on toasted homemade bread. This will be perfect. ;o)
mcs3000 September 16, 2015
made this - came out beautifully.
Yossy A. September 17, 2015
so glad to hear you liked the recipe! thanks for making it.