There are few things that annoy me more than slicing into a loaf of “raisin bread” only to discover that each slice contains a paltry raisin or two embedded in the bread as if they somehow fell into the mixer by accident. Whether it’s Blueberry Pancakes or Clam Chowder, I find that too many foods these days suffer from a pitiful lack of their namesake ingredients.
Not so with my RAISIN bread. I add a full cup of raisins per loaf, which are first simmered in red wine and spices to plump them up. Then I roll them into the dough, which avoids the problem of clumping, ensuring you have plenty of raisins in each bite.
One of the best parts about this bread is that your home will be filled with wonderful aromas. Not just with the smells of the cinnamon and baking bread when it’s in the oven, but with fragrance of nutty yeast as the bread rises along with the scent of sweet mulled wine as the raisins simmer.
If you want, you can use a 50/50 mixture of whole wheat flour and bread flour to make this bread. When using whole wheat flour you need the extra gluten contained in bread flour to make up for the bran in whole wheat that disrupts the formation of gluten bonds.
Follow Marc’s visual breakdown for rolling the dough from his recipe below to make your own raisin bread.
Wake up with this fragrant bread filled with cinnamon and sweet raisins. Plumping up your dried fruit by simmering in red wine and spices will ensure a flavorful result. Food blogger Marc Matsumoto explains the best way to construct raisin bread in a full post on the Fresh Tastes blog.
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 tablespoons raw sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon yeast
- 1 cup raisins
- 2 tablespoons raw sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 6 whole cloves
- red wine
- 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 330 grams (11.64 ounces) all-purpose flour (about 2 1/4 cups) **see Tips below
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ground cinnamon
- In the bowl of a mixer add the water, 1 tablespoon of sugar and stir to dissolve. Sprinkle on the yeast and allow it to rest for 10 minutes, or until you see the yeast creating foam on top of the water. This activates the yeast, making it rise better.
- In a small saucepan, add the raisins, 2 tablespoons of sugar, cinnamon stick, and cloves. Pour enough red wine over them to cover the raisins by 1/4-inch. Simmer over medium low heat until the raisins are plump and most of the liquid is gone (about 20 minutes). Let the raisins cool in any remaining liquid and remove the cinnamon stick and cloves.
- Add the oil, flour and salt to the yeast mixture. Stir to combine, and then use the dough hook attachment to knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size (about 1 hour).
- Grease a 9” loaf pan with vegetable oil. Punch the dough down and roll it into a long rectangle about the width of the loaf pan.
- Sprinkle the dough with a generous layer of cinnamon, and then cover the dough with an even layer of raisins. Pay particular attention to the edges, otherwise you’ll have a ton of raisins in the middle with hardly any towards the ends.
- Starting at one end, roll the dough to form a log, and then place it in the loaf pan. Cover the pan with an oiled sheet of plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise until it has doubled in size.
- Put the oven rack in the middle position and preheat to 350 degrees f (175 c).
- When the dough has risen, bake the bread until golden brown (about 35-40 minutes).
- When the bread is done, remove it from the oven and let it cool about 10 minutes in the pan and then turn the loaf out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Slice and eat fresh, make cinnamon raisin toast, and if you have leftovers that go stale it makes excellent French toast.
Tips/TechniquesIf you want to use whole wheat flour, use 165 grams of whole wheat flour along with 165 grams of bread flour.
Marc Matsumoto is a culinary consultant and recipe repairman who shares his passion for good food through his website norecipes.com. For Marc, food is a life long journey of exploration, discovery and experimentation and he shares his escapades through his blog in the hopes that he inspires others to find their own culinary adventures. Marc’s been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today, and has made multiple appearances on NPR and the Food Network.