Soft Sourdough Cinnamon Raisin Bread

This homemade sourdough cinnamon raisin bread recipe produces a soft and fluffy loaf laced with juicy raisins and swirled with cinnamon sugar filling.

6 slices of sourdough raisin bread on wooden board

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.

Ingredients

ingredients in bowls on counter

For the dough

  • active, mature sourdough starter
  • all-purpose flour
  • tablespoons brown sugar
  • salt
  • butter, unsalted (if using salted, just reduce the salt slightly)
  • milk
  • egg
  • raisins
  • water for soaking the raisins
  • egg for brushing the top of the loaf

For the cinnamon sugar

  • sugar
  • cinnamon

Step by step

Mix the dough and soak the raisins

mixing dough, soaking 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

adding raising, first rise, process shots. of shaping 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

final process shots: second rise, baking, slicing

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!

Tips

  • 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

Print the recipe

6 slices of bread next to cinnamon sticks

Sourdough Cinnamon Raisin Bread

A soft and fluffy sourdough sandwich bread studded with raisins, with a cinnamon sugar swirl throughout.
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 45 minutes
rising time 8 hours
Total Time 9 hours 45 minutes
Serving Size 16 slices

Equipment

  • Stand mixer or bread machine
  • Large mixing bowl

Ingredients 

Bread Dough

  • 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

For assembly

  • 1 egg beaten

Instructions 

  • 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.

Notes

To knead in the bread machine: Follow the first 2 steps as written.  For step 3, place the dough and salt into the bread machine.  Select the dough cycle.  Make sure you are happy with the consistency of the dough before closing the lid and walking away.  You will need to add the raisins when there are 3-5 minutes left in the kneading part of the dough cycle.  Most kneading portions of the dough cycle are 30 minutes, but this can vary by machine.   You will need to set a timer to remind yourself.   When the dough cycle is over, the dough will require another 2-3 hours of rising time.  When it is very puffy, remove it and follow the last 3 steps of the recipe as written.
Make sure the loaf is completely cool before slicing for the neatest slices.  
Calories: 133kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 22mg | Sodium: 235mg | Potassium: 85mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 48IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 27mg | Iron: 1mg
Soft Sourdough Cinnamon Raisin Bread

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Recipe Rating




15 Comments

  1. Would like to try making this considering all the rave reviews. Can you please fix the “Print” button. It takes me back to the site and not a print version.

  2. 5 stars
    I love this recipe so much, have made it dozens of times! Every time I do, I get concerned about the raw egg in the dough sitting for hours on the counter while the dough proofs. And now we’re heading into the summer months when my kitchen will be very warm. Is is possible for the egg to spoil before it’s baked or does the good bacteria in the sourdough keep that from happening? Could you enlighten me on this and relieve my worry? Thank you!

  3. This is a question. I hope you can relieve my mind on this: I’ve made this bread dozens of times. It is my favorite way to use my sourdough starter. But every time I make it and leave it on the counter for 3-4 hours while it is proofing, I worry about that uncooked egg in the dough. And now we’re entering the summer months, when my kitchen is even warmer. How does that raw egg not spoil and get us sick? Does the good bacteria in the sourdough keep that from happening? Can you explain and help relieve my mind on this? Thank you so much!

    1. hey valerie… so the USDA recommends that raw egg only be left out for 2 hours, and you’re right that this recipe stretches that further. to be honest i don’t know if the bacteria from the starter offers any protection or not. i will only say that i have never ever worried about it, especially since the bread bakes to a high temperature, (egg yolks are firm at 170 degrees, the bread is baked until 190 throughout.). many doughs (brioche, etc) have a LOT of eggs and rise longer than 2 hours total. you can have it rise in the fridge and get similar results but it will take at least 8 hours. all of this to say i understand what you’re saying.. but it’s not something that bothers me personally whatsoever. in fact, i have left dough with eggs in it out overnight at room temperature many, many times.

      1. Thank you for taking time to reply to this question. Sorry I asked it twice, it took awhile to appear and I thought it had gotten lost. Since then, I’ve continued to make this recipe and yes, have never had a problem. My mind is at ease about this issue. My husband would be so sad if I stopped making it!

  4. 5 stars
    I actually did two loaves Sunday. One was with dried cherries and the other one was with dried raisins. I soakes both with bourbon and homemade vanilla flavoring. I was pleased with how the loaves raised and smelled when baking. I only tasted the raisin loaf which was soft and delicious. My son got the cherry one and said it was amazing. I will be using this recipe again with diggerent dried fruits. Thanks for a marvelous recipee.

  5. 5 stars
    I have made this numerous times and it’s delicious!! My hubby absolutely loves it! I have to tweak it some because we are in the mountains but I am used to that. Very easy recipe.

  6. 5 stars
    Absolutely beautiful.Made 2 loaves on succesive days and gave one to my daughter and son in law and grandson of 18 months enjoyed it too. Thank you Wonderful recipe

  7. 5 stars
    I made this bread yesterday and am so impressed with how it came out. At first I was afraid the dough was way too dry and I was tempted to add an extra egg. But I followed your instructions to the letter and it came out perfect! I was looking for a way to use my sourdough starter in an egg bread and I found you, so glad!