January 28, 2012

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

In the office I had a reputation for harboring contraband.  Yep, it's true and I'd gladly be a repeat offender.  Why?  Because my so-called illegal good was nothing more than a toaster.   A toaster for goodness sake! 

Nine times out of ten I was using the toaster for cinnamon raisin bread.  The glorious smell of yeast and spices would permeate the hallways of our floor and most people knew they emanated from my office.  Luckily corporate security never found out!    

The Mar/Apr 2012 issue of Cook's Illustrated has a recipe for Cinnamon Swirl Bread that I knew I wanted to make right away.  My experience with bread making is pretty limited but I'm getting more and more practice with recipes like these.  I don't think there's anything better than the smell of freshly baked bread...absolute bliss!   The recipe is really straightforward and the results are just like in the magazine.  Looks like my toaster will be on overdrive for the next few days. 

Cinnamon Swirl Bread (slightly adapted from Cook's Illustrated)

8 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 3/4cups (20 2/3 ounces) bread flour , plus extra for work surface
3/4 cup (2 3/4 ounces) nonfat dry milk powder
1/3 cup (2 1/3 ounces) granulated sugar
1 tablespoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
1 1/2 cups (1 1/2 pints) (12 ounces) warm water (110 degrees)
1 large egg , lightly beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 ounces) raisins
1 cup (4 ounces) confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg , lightly beaten with pinch of salt 
FOR THE DOUGH: Cut butter into 32 pieces and toss with 1 tablespoon flour; set aside to soften while mixing dough. Whisk remaining flour, milk powder, sugar, and yeast together in bowl of stand mixer. Using stand mixer fitted with dough hook, add water and egg and mix on medium-low speed until cohesive mass forms, about 2 minutes, scraping down bowl if necessary. Cover mixing bowl with plastic wrap and let stand for 20 minutes.
Adjust oven rack to middle position and place a 9" cake pan on bottom of oven. Remove plastic from mixer bowl, add salt, and mix on medium-low speed until dough is smooth and elastic and clears sides of bowl, 7 to 15 minutes. With mixer running, add butter, few pieces at a time, and continue to knead until butter is fully incorporated and dough is smooth and elastic and clears sides of bowl, 3 to 5 minutes longer. Add raisins and mix until incorporated, 30 to 60 seconds. Transfer dough to large greased bowl and, using bowl scraper or rubber spatula, fold dough over itself by gently lifting and folding edge of dough toward middle. Turn bowl 90 degrees; fold again. Turn bowl and fold dough 6 more times (total of 8 folds). Cover tightly with plastic and transfer to middle rack of oven. Pour 4 cups boiling water into loaf pan in oven, close oven door, and allow dough to rise for 45 minutes.

Remove bowl from oven and gently press down on center of dough to deflate. Repeat folding step (making total of 8 folds), re-cover, and return to oven until doubled in volume, about 45 minutes.

FOR THE FILLING: Whisk filling ingredients together until well combined; set aside.

Grease two 8½ by 4½-inch loaf pans. Transfer dough to lightly floured counter and divide into 2 pieces. Working with 1 piece of dough, pat into rough 6 by 11-inch rectangle. With short side facing you, fold long sides in like business letter to form 3 by 11-inch rectangle. Roll dough away from you into ball. Dust ball with flour and flatten with rolling pin into 7 by 18-inch rectangle with even ¼-inch thickness. Using spray bottle, spray dough lightly with water. Sprinkle half of filling mixture evenly over dough, leaving 1/4-inch border on sides and 3/4-inch border on top and bottom; spray filling lightly with water. (Filling should be speckled with water over entire surface.) With short side facing you, roll dough away from you into firm cylinder. Turn loaf seam side up and pinch closed; pinch ends closed. Dust loaf lightly on all sides with flour and let rest for 10 minutes. Repeat with second ball of dough and remaining filling.

Working with 1 loaf at a time, use bench scraper to cut loaf in half lengthwise; turn halves so cut sides are facing up. Gently stretch each half into 14-inch length. Line up pieces of dough and pinch 2 ends of strips together. Take piece on left and lay over piece on right. Repeat, keeping cut side up, until pieces of dough are tightly twisted. Pinch ends together. Transfer loaf, cut side up, to prepared loaf pan; push any exposed raisins into seams of braid. Repeat with second loaf. Cover loaves loosely with plastic, return to oven, and allow to rise for 45 minutes. Remove loaves and water pan from oven; heat oven to 350 degrees. Allow loaves to rise at room temperature until almost doubled in size, about 45 minutes longer (top of loaves should rise about 1 inch over lip of pan).

Brush loaves with egg mixture. Bake until crust is well browned, about 25 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees, tent loaves with aluminum foil, and continue to bake until internal temperature registers 200 degrees, 15 to 25 minutes longer.

Transfer pans to wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes. Remove loaves from pans, return to rack, and cool to room temperature before slicing, about 2 hours.

TO MAKE AHEAD: Baked and cooled loaves can be wrapped in double layer of plastic and stored at room temperature for 2 days. To freeze bread for up to 1 month, wrap it with additional layer of foil.


  1. I have made a simple banana bread last week, I would like a cinnamon-flavored bread for next week. This is the perfect recipe. A must try!

  2. Everything that has cinnamon in must be delicious !Definitely must try this bread .

  3. Oldie494/16/2012

    I used this recipe, but let my bread maker do all the work on the dough cycle.
    Then I followed all the steps for forming the loaves, etc, and the 45 minutes second rising in the oven.
    Two perfect loaves were the result.
    My looked exactly like the photos and the flavour was terrific!
    The crumb, cinnamon marbling and crust were bakery perfect, with no holes or gaps.
    I will try this again soon!

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  6. Normally, manual bread-baking takes time. Say you require bread for breakfast, all you have to do is prepare the dough the day before, place it in the bread maker, set the timer and let the appliance do the rest of the job.bread machine recipes


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