When Dave and I first started dating, I would leave a couple of food items in his fridge and freezer so that I could still eat the kinds of food I liked when I was over there (eventually he figured out how to shop at Trader Joe’s so I stopped doing this). But one of the things I loved to leave in his freezer was the Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread from Trader Joe’s. The only problem was, Dave realized how awesome this bread was and tended to eat some (or all of it) when I wasn’t around. I did eventually put a stop to that, but then at some point I forgot about this bread and stopped buying it. That is, until I decided to make my own, and I have to say, it was just as good!
Recipe adapted from here.
Ingredients (makes 2 loaves)
1 cup raisins
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoons active dry yeast (I just used the whole packet)
1 cup milk (any kind, I used one percent)
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 teaspoons salt
5 1/2-6 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons warm water
1. Place the raisins in a bowl and add enough hot water to cover them entirely. Let them sit for 10 minutes, to plump up. When done, drain the water out and set aside the raisins.
2. Pour the cup of warm water into your stand mixer. Add the yeast. Let it sit for a few minutes to fully dissolve, then use a spoon to mix.
3. Add the milk, butter, and salt. Use the bread attachment to mix. Start adding the 5 1/2 cups of flour slowly. Continue mixing until a smooth dough starts to form, about 5-8 minutes. While it is mixing, check to see if the dough is sticky. If it is, add the extra 1/2 cup flour. Keep mixing until you can poke the dough and it will quickly spring back.
4. Add a few tablespoons of flour to your bowl of raisins (don’t forget to drain out the excess water first) and mix to absorb any excess water. Add the raisins to the mixer and continue mixing until they are incorporated fully. My mixer didn’t do a great job of this, so I went ahead and did some kneading by hand on a cutting board.
5. Take the bowl off the electric mixer and cover. Let it rise in a warm place until double, about 1 hour. While it is rising, prepare your filling by mixing the sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the egg and water.
6. Prepare two bread pans by coating them with cooking spray or butter. Once the dough has doubled in size, divide it into two pieces. Roll each piece out on to a floured surface (cutting board or counter). You want it in the shape of a rectangle, with the shorter side being about the same length as the long side of your bread pan. Get the dough as thin as you can because this is how you get more swirls.
7. Brush the dough with the egg wash, and then top with the cinnamon and sugar (leave a little bit of both for later). Roll the dough up, starting at one short end and rolling as tightly as possible. Finish by pinching close at the end. Place each piece of dough in a bread pan with the seam on the bottom.
8. Leave the loaves in their pans in a warm place to rise for another 30-40 minutes. After 20 minutes, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
9. Before baking the bread, brush the top with the remaining egg wash and top with the remaining sugar and cinnamon. Bake for 40-45 minutes until golden brown.
10. Let the loaves cool before removing from the pans. If you’re not going to be able to get through the loaf in the next couple of days, go ahead and slice it up and freeze it. It will make for a great morning surprise in a few weeks (can last up to 3 months).