Sneak Peek: Mix this Bread Machine Cinnamon-Raisin Bread in your bread machine, then roll it out by hand to get that classic swirl. Bake it in your oven for a superior crust. The secret ingredient? A pinch of ground cloves in the filling accentuates the cinnamon flavor.
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Am I the only person who likes to unroll, separate the layers, or dissect my food as I eat it? So unroll this bread as you eat it so you can appreciate all the layers of cinnamon as you smell and taste them.
I will show you two ways if you’re wondering how to swirl your bread in a bread machine. My favorite is to remove the dough after the DOUGH cycle, shape it by hand, and bake it in your oven. That’s how you get the best crust (see how thin it is in the picture) with even browning and an even texture throughout the bread.
You can also interrupt the regular bread cycle to pull the dough out and shape it. Keep reading for more details.
I like to bake this cinnamon raisin bread recipe in a covered Pullman bread pan. It’s perfect for this recipe to keep the swirls under control. Compare the picture above with one further down in this post, where I used a regular loaf pan. The coils aren’t nearly as pretty.
You will not get cinnamon-raisin bread that looks like the one above if you bake your loaf inside a bread maker (paid link). That’s why I almost always mix the dough in a bread machine and bake it in my oven.
No worries if you don’t have a bread machine. Use a stand mixer or mix this bread by hand. See the recipe notes for details.
Ingredients and substitutions:
- MILK: Use any milk you have. But remember the more fat in your milk, the richer and more delicious your bread. That’s a general principle for all bread recipes. Also, you don’t need to warm the liquid ingredients (milk in this case) when using a bread machine. The friction of the paddles will heat up the ingredients in a hurry.
- EGGS: All bread recipes on this website are made with large-sized eggs. If you use a different size, adjust the liquid accordingly.
- BUTTER: I tested the recipe with unsalted butter. If you use salted, decrease the amount of salt slightly. You don’t need to warm the butter. Chop it finely, instead. Again, the friction of the paddles will work the butter into the dough quickly.
- SUGAR: Use granulated white sugar. If you want to substitute honey, use a little less as honey is sweeter than sugar. Because honey is liquid, don’t forget to check the dough as it kneads (yes, open the lid) and see if it needs more flour.
- SALT: Use table salt or sea salt. If you use Kosher salt, increase the amount by at least 1/4 teaspoon.
- CINNAMON: Use ground cinnamon, and be sure it’s fresh! It makes a big difference.
- CLOVES: If you like secret ingredients, this is for you. A pinch of ground cloves is what makes this bread memorable. Cloves punch up the flavor of cinnamon just like instant espresso intensifies chocolate or chocolate enhances chili. BTW, this ingredient is optional. If you don’t have it–no sweat!
- FLOUR: Bread flour is my favorite for this loaf. The higher protein helps the enriched dough to rise better, imparts more chewiness, and makes a loaf sturdy enough for toast. If you need to substitute all-purpose flour, you may need to decrease the liquid slightly.
Be sure to open the lid and check your dough as it kneads to see if it needs an adjustment in flour or liquid. This is the most important secret to making good bread with a bread machine.
- YEAST: I don’t buy anything but instant or bread machine yeast. If all you have is active dry yeast, see the notes in the recipe for more information.
- RAISINS: Leave them out if you’re not a raisin lover, or get creative with substitutions. Try other dried fruit such as currants, cranberries, cherries, or chopped dates. (See the FAQ below for suggestions on adding fruit and nuts to your bread dough.)
Walnuts and pecans are additional options. I recommend you toast nuts in the microwave before adding them to your bread for maximum flavor.
A word about the filling:
Most recipes call for white sugar or brown sugar and cinnamon for the filling. The problem is the layers. They want to pull apart as they bake. See the old picture below using a different recipe.
I got the idea to use powdered sugar in the filling from Jennifer at Once Upon a Chef. The cornstarch in the sugar “glues” the layers together. Baking the bread in a covered Pullman pan (paid link) helps keep the cinnamon coils from separating.
Can I make this bread from beginning to end in a bread machine?
The answer is yes. I can think of at least two approaches:
- If you don’t care about the cinnamon swirl, follow the directions in the recipe, but instead of choosing the DOUGH cycle, choose the REGULAR cycle. Forget about the filling and glaze. You can expect the crust to be thicker than when you bake it in your oven. The color may be lighter on top than on the sides and bottom.
- With this method, you can do the cinnamon swirl, but it requires some hands-on time. Minimize the holes caused by the paddles by pulling the dough out of the bread machine just before the last rise (check your manual). Remove the paddles.
Quickly shape the dough into a large rectangle, as seen in the how-to pictures below. Sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar mixture and roll it up. Pinch the seams shut and turn the ends toward the seams. Drop the dough back into the pan with the seam side down. Make sure the dough is distributed evenly in the pan. If you do this quickly, you don’t need to stop the machine.
Why did my cinnamon swirl bread split on the side as it baked?
Two possible reasons:
1. When rolling the dough after applying the sugar-cinnamon mixture, avoid stretching the dough before pinching the edges shut.
2. The pan you used was too small.
Although the loaf on the left looks right, the picture on the right shows a malfunction. Unfortunately, both images are of the same loaf. I pulled the dough too tight while rolling it and before sealing it. As a result, the dough split as it baked and spilled the sugar and cinnamon out into the oven. Thankfully, I had placed a silicone mat on the rack below to catch any drips.
Making the dough:
Watch the dough knead. It should stick to the sides and pull away cleanly. If the dough is too wet to pull away, add flour one tablespoon at a time, allowing the flour to absorb before adding more. If the dough is too dry and won’t stick, add more liquid, one tablespoon at a time, allowing the liquid to be absorbed before adding more. Read more about this surprising secret to making good bread with a bread machine.
How to assemble Cinnamon-Raisin Bread after the DOUGH cycle finishes:
Please note: These pictures are of dough without raisins (so my grandkids would eat it).
Cover and place in a warm place to rise for 45-80 minutes or until it is almost double. When ready to bake, glaze the loaf if not using a Pullman pan or the bread machine for baking. Bake for 35-45 minutes at 375˚F (190˚C) or until internal temperature reaches 190˚F (88˚C). Check with a quick-read digital thermometer (paid link).
This helps the sides not to cave in. Next, remove the loaf and allow cooling on a wire rack for about 30 minutes before slicing to avoid squashing the soft interior.
FAQ about Bread Machine Cinnamon-Raisin Bread:
Chop the raisins coarsely or use currants (nature’s mini raisins). Add them when your machine beeps that it’s time for add-ins.
If you add raisins in the beginning, the machine will pulverize them. Not only will it change the color of the bread, but you also won’t experience the sweet flavor bursts from the raisins.
Some people sprinkle them on top of the cinnamon-sugar filling. I don’t care for that method because the raisins tend to fall out as you slice and eat the bread.
Use a quick-read thermometer (paid link) (here’s a cheap but functional model). This is my favorite thermometer (paid link). The internal temperature (in the middle of the bread) should reach 190˚F. If the crust gets too dark, lay a piece of foil over the top. Next time, move the shelf down a notch.
The possibilities are endless, but one of the most common causes is too much flour. Using a measuring cup often results in adding too much. Next time, weigh the flour with a digital scale. Here’s a basic scale for not much money (paid link).
Another common reason for denseness is that the bread did not rise enough. Enriched bread (lots of butter, sugar, and eggs) rises slower. If your kitchen is cold, the rise time will also slow down. Allow plenty of time to make this bread in a cold kitchen.
Read more about the causes of dense bread here.
Homemade bread with no preservatives can’t compete with store-bought bread regarding shelf life. Eat what you can the first couple of days and put the rest in the freezer. Keep the loaf in a plastic bag, but don’t store it in the fridge. I recommend these plastic bread bags (paid link) because of their long shape if you make a lot of bread.
Recipe Help at Your Fingertips: For questions or suggestions, email Paula at saladinajar.com. If you need help, I’m happy to troubleshoot via email (faster than leaving a comment). Attach pictures and as many details as possible for the best advice.
Bread Machine Cinnamon-Raisin Bread Recipe
- ½ to ⅔ cup (114-151 g) milk
- 2 large (100 g) eggs
- 3 tablespoons (42 g) unsalted butter, chopped
- ¼ cup (50 g) granulated sugar
- 1½ teaspoons table salt
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 3 cups (360 g) bread flour
- 2¼ teaspoons instant yeast
- ⅔ cup (66 g) raisins, chopped or use currants
- ⅓ cup (38 g) powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 large (50 g) egg
- 1 tablespoon water
Making the dough:
- Add all of the dough ingredients: ½ to ⅔ cup (114-151 g) milk, 2 large (100 g) eggs, 3 tablespoons (42 g) unsalted butter, chopped , ¼ cup (50 g) granulated sugar, 1½ teaspoons table salt, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, 3 cups (360 g) bread flour, and 2¼ teaspoons instant yeast, except the raisins to your bread machine pan. Select the DOUGH cycle and press START. After 12-15 minutes, open the lid and check the dough. It should be
- Check the dough at least twice by lifting the lid to take a peek. Do this right after the machine starts to see if the paddles are correctly engaged and the dough is starting to form a ball.Recheck the consistency of the dough again 15 minutes into the DOUGH cycle.If your dough is too wet, add flour one tablespoon at a time. The dough should stick to the side, then pull away cleanly.Conversely, if the dough is too dry, add one tablespoon of liquid at a time until the dough looks just right. Find out more about this surprising secret to success with a bread machine here.
- Add ⅔ cup (66 g) raisins, chopped or use currants when the machine beeps that it’s time to add any ingredients you don’t want to be mashed by the kneading action. If your machine doesn’t have this signal, add them before shaping the dough by kneading them into the dough by hand.
- When the DOUGH cycle finishes, poke two floured fingers into the dough to see if it has proofed enough. Your fingers should leave an indentation that slowly fills in. If the dough bounces right back, let it sit in the bread machine a little longer and test again in 15-30 minutes.
Shaping the loaf:
- Remove the dough from the bread machine to a lightly floured or greased surface. Form into a ball and flatten into a rough square shape. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Mix together the filling ingredients.
- Roll dough out to a 9 x 14-inch rectangle. Spritz lightly with water. Sprinkle the filling: ⅓ cup (38 g) powdered sugar, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, and ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves evenly over the dough. Roll up jelly-roll style starting from one of the short ends. Pinch the seam together to seal. Pull each end towards the seam and pinch. Place the dough cylinder into a greased 9 x 5-inch loaf pan seam-side down or a 9x4x4-inch Pullman pan. Press down on the dough to evenly distribute it throughout the pan.
- Cover the pan and place in a warm place until almost double in size. This process will likely take longer than usual (1-2 hours) because it is an enriched dough, but check it at 45 minutes. Use a knuckle to lightly press on the side of the loaf. The indentation should fill in slowly. If it bounces back immediately, let it continue to rise.
- Preheat the oven to 375˚F (190˚C) about 15 minutes before you think the loaf will be ready to bake.
Glaze: (optional if you are using a 9×5-inch loaf pan)
- Combine 1 large (50 g) egg and 1 tablespoon water. Use a pastry brush to glaze the loaf.
Baking the loaf:
- Put the lid on if using a Pullman pan and you want a square loaf. Pull the lid off about 10 minutes before you expect the bread to be done.
- Bake for about 35-45 minutes. Use a quick-read thermometer to guarantee the bread is baked all the way through. The internal temperature should reach 190˚F (88˚C).
- Remove the bread from the oven and allow it to sit for 15 minutes. Use a table knife to loosen the loaf from the pan and turn it out onto a cooling rack for 20-30 minutes before slicing to avoid squashing your loaf.
- To make this recipe in a heavy-duty stand mixer: Add ingredients to the bowl in the same order. Turn on LOW to mix until all ingredients are moistened. Then, using a dough hook, turn the speed to 2 or 3. Continue beating/kneading until dough becomes smooth and elastic (about 5-10 minutes). Cover and allow to rise in a warm place. Deflate dough gently and shape as indicated in the recipe.
- If making by hand: Combine all ingredients into a shaggy ball in a large bowl. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead with your hands until the dough becomes smooth and elastic. Kneading will likely take 10-20 minutes, depending on your experience. Place the dough ball into a greased bowl. Cover and allow to rise until double. Deflate the dough gently and shape as indicated in the recipe.
- Please note: If you only have active dry yeast, use 1/4 teaspoon more than called for in the recipe. It no longer needs to be dissolved first, but you can if you prefer.