My favorite cinnamon swirl bread recipe, this gently-sweet bread is warm and spicy without being overpowering. A little sour cream boosts the cinnamon flavor, and honey brings it all home with a little added sweetness.
Prep Time 5hours
Cook Time 35minutes
Total Time 5hours35minutes
Author Stephanie Stiavetti
1packet (2 1/2 teaspoons)active dry yeast
3 1/2cupsall-purpose floursifted
5tablespoonsunsalted butterat room temperature
1/4cupsour creamat room temperature
2largeeggsbeaten, and at room temperature
1/2teaspoonpure vanilla extract
Softened butter for greasing
3tablespoonsunsalted butterat room temperature
In a small bowl, combine the milk and yeast. Let the mixture rest for 10 minutes, until a faint froth appears on the surface of the milk.
In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
Add the 5 tablespoons butter, sour cream, honey, and granulated sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, mix on medium until the mixture is creamy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until they are incorporated into the batter. Add the vanilla and beat on low for 2 minutes.
With the mixer still running on low, beat in the yeast-milk mixture. Add half of the flour mixture and beat on medium until combined. Add the rest of the flour and again beat until combined.
Remove the paddle attachment from the mixer and switch to a dough hook. Set the mixer to low and knead the dough with the dough hook for 10 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape the sides of the bowl.
Lightly grease a large bowl with softened butter. Remove the dough from the mixer bowl and shape it into a ball. Set the dough ball in the bowl and cover lightly with a piece of plastic wrap. Set the bowl in a warm place and allow to rise until the dough has doubled in bulk, about 2 hours.
In a small bowl, combine the dry ingredients for the filling: brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and just the tiniest pinch of cayenne. Stir together and set aside.
Once the dough has risen, turn it out onto a floured surface. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a rectangle 9 inches wide and about 20 inches long—use the length of your loaf pan as a guide for how wide to make your rectangle of dough. Smear the surface of the rectangle with the 3 tablespoons butter, sprinkle evenly with the brown sugar–cinnamon mixture, and dot with raisins. Tightly roll the dough into a log that is about 9 inches long, making sure to not stretch out the middle of the dough as you roll. Pinch the seam with your fingers to seal it.
Rub a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan generously with softened butter. Set the roll of dough in the pan, seam side down, making sure to fill the pan evenly (try to avoid creating a “sway back,” or a dip in thickness in the middle of the dough). Cover with a kitchen towel and set in a warm place to rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
Place an oven rack in the bottom third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C.
In a small bowl, mix the egg and milk for the egg wash. Use a pastry brush to lightly coat the top of the loaf with egg wash. Bake the loaf on the lower rack of the oven until the top is a deep bronze and the loaf sounds hollow when gently rapped with a knuckle, 30 to 35 minutes.
Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then turn out the loaf onto a wire rack to cool completely, about 1 hour. Once cool, wrap well in plastic and store at room temperature for up to a week.