This homemade sourdough cinnamon raisin bread recipe produces a soft and fluffy loaf laced with juicy raisins and swirled with cinnamon sugar filling.
Everyone loves a sweet breakfast bread, and this recipe is one of our favorites. It’s perfect toasted with butter, ripped off in pieces and gobbled up, or made into French toast.
When you need a little variety in your sourdough life, try this soft and tender loaf.
For the dough
- active, mature sourdough starter
- all-purpose flour
- tablespoons brown sugar
- butter, unsalted (if using salted, just reduce the salt slightly)
- water for soaking the raisins
- egg for brushing the top of the loaf
For the cinnamon sugar
Step by step
Mix the dough and soak the raisins
Don’t be overwhelmed by the number of steps. There are a lot of steps but this recipe is easy. Most of the time required is hands-off time. Make sure your sourdough starter is active and bubbly.
The first step is simply to mix all the dough ingredients, besides the salt, into a large mixing bowl. If you’re using a stand mixer to knead, go ahead and put everything in the metal mixing bowl. It will look very shaggy and pretty dry, but the butter will smooth everything out as the dough kneads.
Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and just let it rest on the counter for about 30 minutes. The purpose of this step is to make sure the flour is hydrated so that everything kneads together more easily.
While the dough is resting, we need to soak the raisins. If you skip this step, they will pull moisture out of the bread dough itself and dry it out. I always use warm water, but you can use a flavored liquid if you prefer. Vanilla, bourbon, or orange extract are all possibilities.
Now, it’s time to knead the dough. Use your stand mixer on low and keep an eye on the dough. You are looking for a consistency that’s smooth and soft.
If it seems too dry and is not coming together, add more milk a tablespoon at a time. If it’s wet and sticking to the bowl, add more flour a tablespoon.
Once the consistency is right, keep kneading until the dough is smooth and stretchy. You’re looking for a dough that has “window panes” when stretched out. There is no need to use the stretch and fold with this recipe. Traditional kneading will build out all the structure your dough needs.
Related: tips and tricks for kneading bread dough in your mixer
Add raisins and shape the loaf
Once the dough is stretchy and smooth, drain the raisins and add them in. Stir for just a minute until they are evenly incorporated.
Now we shape the dough gently into a ball and place it in a lightly oiled bowl to rise.
(The time for this can vary widely. At room temperature, it can take around 6 hours. In a warm place like a turned off oven, closer to 4. You can also cover it tightly and place in the fridge to rise overnight. )
Let the dough be your guide. It should nearly double in size before you shape it.
Now it’s time to shape this ball of dough into a loaf. Lightly flour or oil your work surface. As shown above, use your loaf pan as your guide and stretch it into a rectangle.
(The longer your rectangle, the more swirls you will get. Mine is about 8 x 24, and a simple swirl is in the middle. For tighter swirls, pull longer and double the cinnamon sugar!)
Tuck the corners of the rectangle in and roll the dough up tightly. Pinch all the seams closed and place the loaf seam side down into the greased loaf pan. Cover it with heavily greased plastic wrap and let it rise again. Just like the first rise, this is heavily dependent on room temperature.
You can always tightly cover the loaf and place it in the fridge overnight. It won’t rise much in there, but in the morning put it on the countertop and let it finish rising.
Final rise and bake
The dough is ready to bake when it has risen one inch over the top of the loaf pan. Carefully remove the plastic wrap and brush the loaf with a beaten egg.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees with the rack in the center, and bake! The bake time should be between 40-50 minutes. Remove the sourdough raisin bread when the top is golden brown and the internal temperature is at least 200 degrees.
Remove from the loaf pan and place on a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.
If you can’t eat the whole loaf in a few days, slice it and freeze. Then you can toast them straight from the freezer. Thick slices of this bread also make great French toast!
- Don’t forget to soak the raisins. If you put them in dry, they will attempt to re-hydrate themselves and pull moisture out of your bread dough. If you’re feeling fancy, try soaking them in vanilla or bourbon!
- You can brush the top of the loaf with butter if you prefer. Try sprinkling the top with any leftover cinnamon sugar.
- Pull out your rectangle longer if you want a loaf with more swirls. You’ll need to double the amount of filling.
- Since this is a long process, you may at some point want to cover the dough or the shaped loaf, pop it in the fridge, and pick it up in the morning. It may seem hard and dense when you remove the dough, but as it warms up, it will lighten up and soften.
- In a hurry? Add a teaspoon of instant yeast to the recipe and the rising times will be cut in half!
More sourdough loaf breads
- If you aren’t a raisin lover, try this simple cinnamon sourdough bread that’s sweetened with honey.
- This recipe uses potato flakes for the fluffiest, softest sourdough sandwich bread.
- Another favorite loaf bread recipe is sourdough egg bread, for a rich and tender sandwich loaf.
Print the recipe
Sourdough Cinnamon Raisin Bread
- Stand mixer or bread machine
- Large mixing bowl
- ¾ cup active sourdough starter (5.8 ounces/ 165 grams)
- 3 cups all purpose flour (14.75 ounces/ 415 grams)
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- ¼ cup butter softened
- ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon milk
- 1 egg
- ½ cup raisins
- water for soaking the raisins
Cinnamon Sugar Filling
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 egg beaten
- Combine all ingredients except the salt in a large mixing bowl until a slightly dry, shaggy dough is formed. The dough will become smoother as it kneads and the butter is incorporated, so don't add any additional liquid yet. Cover with a clean tea towel and allow to rest at room temperature about 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, subermerge the raisins in warm water and set aside to soak.
- Add the salt and knead the dough by hand, stand mixer, or bread machine, until a smooth and soft dough forms. (See notes for bread machine instructions.) If the dough seems very dry and looks crumbly or is not forming a ball, add a tablespoon or so more of milk. If it seems too wet and it sticking to the sides of the bowl or bread machine bucket, add more flour a tablespoon at a time.
- Knead for about ten minutes untl the dough reaches the windowpane stage, meaning that when a golf-ball sized piece of dough is stretched out, translucent areas appear. Add the raisins and knead for another minute.
- Place the dough into a clean, lightly-oiled bowl, cover with a damp tea towel, and place in a warm place to rise until nearly doubled. in size, about 3-4 hours. (The time for this can vary depending on the strength of your starter and the warmth of your home.)
- Stretch the dough into a long rectangle, with the short side of the rectangle as long as the short side of the loaf pan. The longer your rectangle, the more swirls you will have. Mix up the cinnamon sugar and sprinkle onto the dough, leaving a 1 inch border in all directions. Fold in the top corners, or "shoulders", of the rectangle, then keep rolling tightly to form a log. Pinch all seams shut and place the loaf seam side down into a greased loaf pan.
- Cover with heavily greased plastic wrap and allow to rise again in a warm place for about 3 hours, until the loaf is one inch above the top of the loaf pan. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350 degrees with the rack in the center. Brush the top of the loaf with the beaten egg.
- Remove the plastic wrap and bake for 40-50 minutes until the loaf is deep golden brown and the internal temperature is 200 degrees. Remove from the pan and allow to cool completely before slicing. Will stay fresh at room temperature a few days, or frozen for up to 2 months.