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If you’re a fan of cinnamon raisin bread, you’ll have to try this homemade sourdough version. It’s soft and cinnamon-swirled with all the flavor and benefits of a long ferment. Serve it soft and warm, toasted and buttered, or whipped up into some French toast.
My kids’ eyes light up when I tell them we’re having cinnamon raisin bread for breakfast!
This bread is nice and soft with the slightest bit of chewiness. The texture contrasts nicely with a swirl of cinnamon sugar and raisins.
I soak the raisins in water and vanilla extract ahead of time to make them plump and flavorful before pressing them into the dough.
The sourdough starter adds a complex flavor to the loaf as well, but without sourness.
The cinnamon sugar swirl stays in place thanks to the addition of flour and egg wash. The crust bakes up to a lovely golden brown and is brushed with melted butter out of the oven for shine and softness.
You’ll find a printable recipe card at the end of this post. The recipe can easily be doubled to make two loaves at once, and since it freezes so well, why not?
When you’re finished here, you may also want to visit these posts for Homemade Sourdough Croissants, Sourdough Danish Pastries, and Soft Sourdough Potato Rolls.
Why refrigerate the dough overnight?
As with many of my sourdough recipes, I do part of the bulk ferment at room temperature to give the dough a head start. Then I finish with a long stretch in the refrigerator.
I do this for multiple reasons. I like how easily I can work the sourdough-baking process around my schedule. The dough needs at least 12 hours in the fridge, but I can let the dough go up to three days.
I find the gluten development in the bread is better, the flavor is more complex yet less sour, the crust is thinner, and the dough is cold for easier shaping.
If you’re short on time, though, you can do the entire bulk ferment at room temperature. You can start the dough in the morning and shape it about 8 hours later. Proof and bake, and you can be done in the same day.
- kitchen scale (optional)
- stand mixer fitted with a dough hook
- lidded glass bowl
- rolling pin
- pastry brush
- 9×5-inch (1lb) loaf pan
How to Make Sourdough Cinnamon Raisin Bread
Step 1 – Mix the Dough
I recommend you weigh the dough ingredients for consistency, but I’ve included cup measurements as well.
We’ll start by adding the active starter, whole milk, beaten egg, sugar, salt, softened butter, and 2 3/4 cups (374g) of bread flour to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix on low speed for a couple of minutes until the dough comes together.
If the dough is still sticking to the bottom and sides of the bowl, you can add an additional 1/8 cup (17g) flour. Keep in mind the dough should be quite tacky. It will become less sticky after kneading.
Knead the dough on low speed for 8-10 minutes until it’s very smooth and passes the windowpane test. This means if you stretch it gently with wet fingers, you can stretch it far enough to see light through it before it tears. The gluten in the dough is well developed at this point.
Step 2 – Ferment the Dough
Form your dough into a smooth ball and place it in a lightly oiled, lidded bowl.
Prop the lid on so air can still escape without the dough drying out. Allow your dough to ferment at room temperature for 4 hours.
I like to ferment in my oven with the light on, though I’ll have to eventually have to crack the oven door so it doesn’t get too warm in there. 75-80°F is ideal.
After the 4 hours is up, place your lid on securely and refrigerate for at least 12 hours. You can go a day or two extra, before shaping and baking, if you would like.
At this point, the dough should have risen considerably.
(Alternately, ferment for 8 hours at room temperature, or until the dough has doubled in size. Shape, proof, and bake as normal.)
Step 3 – Soak Raisins and Make Filling
About an hour before you intend to bake your sourdough cinnamon raisin bread, put your raisins in a small bowl and stir in your vanilla extract and water. Set aside.
In another bowl, stir together your brown sugar, cinnamon, 2 tablespoons of four, and salt. Set this aside as well.
Step 4 – Shape the Loaf
Remove your dough from the fridge and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Press it flat to degas it and form it into the shape of a rectangle with your hands.
Use a rolling pin to roll it to a 22×6-inch rectangle, making sure it isn’t sticking to your counter underneath.
Whisk together your egg and water to make an egg wash, and brush a layer over the entire surface of your dough.
Sprinkle the brown sugar/cinnamon mixture over the egg wash. Use your hands to spread it evenly over the surface of the dough.
Distribute the soaked raisins evenly on the surface (avoid pouring any leftover liquid from the raisins on the dough) and press them into the dough with your hands.
Starting from a short side of the rectangle, begin rolling the dough into a log. Roll tightly, stretching the dough slightly as you go, and make sure the edges line up.
Pinch the seam and the ends together, and place the loaf seam-side down in a buttered 9×5-inch nonstick loaf pan.
Step 5 – Proof, Bake, and Brush Loaf with Melted Butter
Cover your loaf with a tea towel and set it in a warm place to proof until it has filled the pan and passes the poke test. (Wet a finger and poke the loaf. If the indent bounces back only slightly, you’re ready to bake.)
Bake in a 350°F oven on the center rack for 20 minutes, then tent the top of the loaf with a piece of foil and bake for 15-20 more minutes until the top is golden.
After it’s done baking, gently run a table knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the loaf. Remove the loaf and place it on a cooling rack.
Use a pastry brush to coat the crust with the melted butter for a soft exterior. Allow the loaf to finish cooling before you slice into it or store it.
How to Store Sourdough Cinnamon Raisin Sourdough Bread
This bread will store well in an airtight container at room temperature for at least 3 days. As I mentioned before, you can easily freeze an entire loaf, or freeze the loaf sliced. Simply microwave the frozen bread until it is just thawed.
If you make this recipe and love it, I would be so grateful if you would come back to leave 5 stars and a comment. Your feedback is very appreciated!
Tag your photo on Instagram @aberlehome to show me what you made!
The outside of my dough was really hard and crunchy like traditional sourdough. I’m not sure what I did wrong though. It taste delicious. The inside is a little dry as well. Good my dog have been to dry?
Hi Danielle! It’s possible that your dough was too dry. You could try holding back some of the flour next time. I’m also wondering if you proofed the loaf long enough before baking. Sometimes the crust can get thick when the dough hasn’t fermented enough. I hope it turns out better next time! 🙂
Thankyou so much I too prefer to do a long cold ferment because of my schedule as well. Mixing it up now can’t wait!
I hope you love it! Thanks for your comment, Sarah.