BBA #9: Cinnamon Raisin Walnut Bread

Cinnamon Raisin Walnut Bread  - sliced

Two weeks of cinnamon-laden breads?  You might think that it would be overkill.  I’ve grumbled about all these enriched breads before, but I take it all back.  This cinnamon raisin walnut bread reminded me so much of the cinnamon raisin bread my grandma made when I was a little girl.  There are a few differences, of course.  Grandma’s uses a fresh yeast starter, excludes the nuts, and often has icing.  Mine uses instant yeast, walnuts, and a cinnamon sugar garnish.  They both have got raisins and a cinnamon swirl.  Seriously, who can complain about a cinnamon swirl?  This is currently my third favorite bread, behind bagels and cinnamon rolls.  It’s awesome.  It was also very easy, and it was made in a single day.

So, you start off by mixing up the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl: flour, sugar, salt, yeast, cinnamon.  You then add the wet ingredients: a room temperature egg, water, and (in my case, melted butter and whole milk. I used what was in my fridge and subbed for the shortening and the buttermilk.  I stirred until this formed a ball that pulled away from the bowl.  Then I flipped it on to the counter and kneaded it for about 20 minutes.  I checked to see if it formed a windowpane:

Cinnamon Raisin Walnut Bread  - windowpane

Yep.  So, I then proceeded to knead in the walnuts and raisins.  You’ve got to get 2 1/2 cups of stuff in this dough, and that’s a bit of a challenge.  I knead it in in stages.  I spread the dough out and sprinkle a handful of the walnut/raisins  on the dough:

Cinnamon Raisin Walnut Bread  - walnuts

I then knead the dough until they don’t fall out, then add another handful and knead again.  I repeat this process until all the nuts and raisins are worked into the dough.  Then I form the dough into a boule so it can be fermented in a bowl:

Cinnamon Raisin Walnut Bread  - dough

The bread rises until it doubles in size.  Reinhart suggests two hours, but my warm kitchen brought the dough up in a little more than an hour.  I split the dough into 2 equal pieces that I then rolled out 8″ x5″ x 1/3″.  I covered this with a cinnamon sugar blend.  I probably used 3 or 4 tablespoons per loaf.  I wish I had used more, so now I will be even more liberal next time.  I rolled the dough into a tight loaf, starting with the short side of the dough and pinching it closed after every turn.  I placed the two loaves in oiled 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ pans and let them proof until they crested the pans.  This took about 70 minutes.  I baked the loaves for 20 minutes, rotated the pans and baked for about 30 more minutes.  When the loaves registered 190º I removed them from the oven.  I turned them out of their pans, brushed them with melted butter, rolled them in cinnamon sugar that I spread on a plate, then put them on a rack to cool.

Cinnamon Raisin Walnut Bread  - cooling

I let them cool for two hours, then wrapped one loaf up and put it in the freezer.  The other I wrapped in plastic.  The next morning for breakfast I cut it and saw this:

Cinnamon Raisin Walnut Bread  - crumb & swirl

I was pretty pleased.  The swirl held together without space, because I pinched the loaf together after each turn.  The swirl was not as pronounced or swirly as I would have liked.  Next time I will used more cinnamon sugar and roll the loaf even tighter to get more turns.  Regardless of my quest for perfection, the bread was delicious.  It stayed moist for a few days, letting us eat it for breakfast or snacks.  The cinnamon sugar garnish was crunchy and delicious.  The raisins were soft and sweet.  It was a wonderful bread, one that I am sure I will make many more times.  It is possible I will forego the nuts sometimes, and maybe I will make it a bit more like my grandma’s.  But, it’s a great recipe.

This is some more yeasty goodness I’m sending over to Yeastspotting.

I’m also sending this over to Sandy of At the Baker’s Bench who hosts BYOB: Bake Your Own Bread.  Head on over to check it out and see the roundup!

The Bread Baker’s Apprentice challenge was developed by Nicole of Pinch My Salt. You can see what we’re baking this week at our Flickr group, on Twitter (#BBA), or check out the challenge page.

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56 thoughts on “BBA #9: Cinnamon Raisin Walnut Bread

    • I think that would be a great idea. Do you need a copy of the recipe? And also, if you make it gluten-free, I’d love it if you sent me your final recipe. I have some friends I would love to make this for.

  1. That looks so good, I think I’d even be able to look past the raisins (not a fan, but lobe grapes and wine..go figure)! another BBA success Haley!

    • Thanks, Sara! I am not a fan of raisins in general, but I love them in bread. I really feel like baking them changes their texture and flavor profile. Might be worth a go!

  2. This IS a great tasting bread! You have a beautiful looking loaf! On my cinnamon rolls, I didn’t get the large swirl I wanted either, so I would suggest rolling your cinnamon walnut dough to at least 8×10. My son suggested forgoing the walnuts, so that is what I will do next time. It’s been nice baking along with you!

    • Thanks, Frieda! Yes, I think I need to roll the dough out thinner, too. I think it might have worked in the dimensions given, but it was still very puffy. Definitely not in danger of being less than a 1/3″ thick. I think I will be skipping the nuts next time, too. Nice baking along with you, as well!

  3. I love cinnamon raisin bread and you have inspired me to bake these loaves this week. Your bread is gorgeous! Light, fluffy and sweet. Thanks for all the tips and times; I hope it will help me get a bread as perfect!

  4. There’s never such a thing as too much cinnamon bread – I swear I can half smell this, but that may just be wishful thinking. Still, no time like the present…

  5. Hi Hayley,
    Nice to see Grandmother makes another appearance…
    I love the flavours in this especially the cinnamon, would you make it in a breadmaker? My wrists are not strong and I read you did quite a bit of kneading.

    • Hi Lesley! You absolutely could make this in a breadmaker. It would certainly be easier. Yes, the Grandmother makes many appearances – she’s responsible for my interest in the kitchen. 😀

  6. mmm…no, two weeks heavy on the cinnamon would not be overkill in my world. 🙂 the texture of your loaf is incredible, and i love the appearance risen dough almost as much as i enjoy the final product!

  7. Very, very nice. Thanks for mentioning you’d add more of the cinnamon mixture because that’s what I’m looking forward to when I get to this point. I’ve tried other cinnamon bread recipes and they always seem to be lacking in the swirl department. Your loaf is gorgeous ; )

    • You are definitely going to love this one. I would say add filling until you think it’s overkill, then sprinkle some more for good measure. I was sure I had put in too much, only to find I wanted even more. Alas, there is always next time. 🙂

  8. Haley, I am impressed with your restraint. You went to bed without trying your bread!! I could never do that. If I tried, I’d be up at 4:00 am slicing into it because I could not wait.

    • I assure you, this restraint is entirely uncharacteristic. I am usually out of control with anything that might fall into the categories of “treats” or “snacks.” But I was really, really tired that night.

    • I almost agree. I really loved the bagels, but this is certainly in the running for #2. I couldn’t have been more pleased – here’s hoping the cranberry walnut celebration bread turns out half as well!

  9. Loved the bread. The story was great. Great looking pictures. Can I answer a question from one of your writers? I didn’t try this recipe in my bread machine, but if you have a Kitchen Aid mixer, you can let it do most of your kneading for you. You will want to knead in the raisins and walnuts by hand. That will take about 5 minutes.

    • Glad you enjoyed the writing and pictures! This one was a joy to make; I just wish I could have had a bit better lighting when it was fresh from the oven. Still, I am sure I will be seeing this one again soon.

    • Oh, I promise – making bread without a machine isn’t bad at all! I think my kneading always takes a while because I am lazy and slow about it, but I let it be a relaxing experience. Very fun!

  10. Oh, gosh, this looks great.
    Bet it would make wonderful French toast. And leftovers (if there were any) could be thrown into an impromptu bread pudding… *slurp*

    Love the bread making tips. You may get me making bread yet!

    • Ah, time to start with the bread! I am glad I did. The problem with all these french toast and bread pudding ideas is that there is never any bread left. It goes so quickly!

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  12. They look really good. Have you tried making them with real Cinnamon.

    The Cinnamon that we buy in the US is actually Cassia and not Cinnamon. Real Cinnamon is much sweeter and you can reduce on the sugar.

  13. it looks awesome! I want to do it right away! I am looking for a not so hard bread… I did a recipe with no milk nor egg and it was quite hard… would you please be so kind and send me the recipe? there are no mention of ingredients…

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