I am a huge, huge fan of cinnamon raisin bread. Every time my parents would buy the cinnamon raisin swirl bread from the store, I would sit there and eat piece after piece, unable to stop. I don't think I've ever actually bought any on my own, but when I decided that I'd only be making my own bread from now on, betcha can't guess what loaf I decided to try first..
Duh. Cinnamon raisin bread! I found a great recipe as a jumping off point, and made my own adaptations as I went. Guys, I can't tell you how much I loved this bread. This is one of the first times I've had a totally soft and fluffy bread that is 100% whole wheat. And considering the fact I only had half of the loaf left to take photos of the next day, I think that's a pretty good testament to how good this bread was. So good.
Now, I'm sure this bread would be fantastic slathered with butter, or honey, or used for french toast, but in all honesty, it didn't last long enough for me to be able to try it out with any of that. But I can tell you, it's fantastic heated up a bit and just eaten plain. For breakfast, I would have two slices with a banana and a spoonful of some sort of nut butter. I didn't want to ruin my cinnamon raisin bread experience by spreading the nut butter on top of a slice, although I'm sure that would've been fantastic, as well. I just like my cinnamon raisin bread simple.
I can't wait to make this bread again.. and again, and again. The raisins are studded throughout the dough, instead of just in the "cinnamon swirl" part, so you get bursts of raisin goodness in every bite. I only added a slight cinnamon swirl as an afterthought, sprinkling truvia and cinnamon on the flattened dough and rolling it up tightly like you would for cinnamon rolls. Use however much you want at that point, to suit your tastes - I'll give rough estimates as to how much I put in. But enough talk, go make this bread. You won't regret it!
Cinnamon Raisin Bread (Whole Wheat)
adapted from Averie Cooks
makes 1 loaf
2/3 cup milk
1/4 cup (half a stick) butter
2 1/4 t instant yeast
2 t honey
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t salt
2 1/3 cups white whole wheat flour*
1 1/2 cups raisins
1 t cinnamon and 3 packets truvia (or 2-3 T brown sugar), for sprinkling
In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg. Set aside. In a medium bowl (or microwave safe measuring cup), heat the milk and butter in the microwave for about 30-45 seconds, to remove the chill and warm slightly. Stir in the honey until dissolved, and stir in the beaten egg.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together the yeast, cinnamon, salt, and flour. Add in the milk mixture and knead (with the dough hook attached) for 5-8 minutes, until the dough pulls away from the bowl and is elastic/smooth. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to sit in a warm area until doubled in size, about one hour (I learned a new trick with this: use a heating pad so you don't need to turn on your oven for heat in the winter).
Punch the dough down to release the air, and turn it out onto a clean, lightly floured surface (I like to use my Silpat mat). Pour the raisins over the dough, and knead until evenly dispersed through the dough. Flatten the dough into a large rectangle (about 8" by 12"), and sprinkle with cinnamon and truvia (or brown sugar) evenly across. Roll the dough up from the short side, creating a long cylinder. Pinch together the ends, and place seam side down into a parchment lined or lightly greased loaf pan (free form is fine, too, on a lined baking sheet). Cover with plastic wrap, and place in a warm place, again, for another hour, until doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 375ºF as it is almost done with rising, remove the plastic wrap, and bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden on top (when you tap/knock on the bread, it will sound hollow inside). Allow to cool slightly in the pan before turning out onto a wire rack to cool. Cool completely before slicing.
Store in an airtight container. This can be frozen in an airtight container (or freezer bag) for up to 3 months.
*I used a combination of sprouted whole wheat flour and white whole wheat flour to help with digestion. Either way works fine!