Cinnamon Swirl Bread….Being Martha

I know it is still summer, but I am trying to convince myself otherwise.  Maybe a pumpkin spice candle burning and some bread in the oven would make me forget that it isn’t 90 degrees outside?  Just maybe for a little while.  I settled on making the Cinnamon Raisin Bread.  Each time I bake, I thumb through the Mart Stewart Baking Handbook for over 30 minutes trying to select just the right thing OR what I can make without having to go to the store for more ingredients!  This recipe is on Page 301 of the book.  I was not able to find the exact recipe on line so I have provided a copy of the entire recipe at the end of this post.

Like all yeasted bread, this starts with some yeast and warm milk.  The cool thing is that you don’t have to wait for the reaction; you just throw all the ingredients in and mix it up.  I found that I didn’t need to mix for the full 6 minutes and actually removed the dough at about five minutes to turn out onto my floured surface.

All the Ingredients…In One Bowl & Mix

 What is cinnamon raisin bread without the cinnamon and raisins???  Just add on top and kneed throughout the bread…it is pretty cool to see how the cinnamon spreads out through the bread.  After this, it’s rising time!  Rise and knead twice.

TIP:  Use a wide bottomed bowl for rising.  It allows the dough to form a perfect disc the size requested in the recipe and makes it easy to work with.

Mix In Cinnamon & Raisins

 Prepare the cinnamon sugar filling and set aside….

Cinnamon Raisin Bread Filling

 Divide the dough…another one of my new tools that I am loving.  It simply and easily divided the dough right up into half.

Cool Tool….Dividing the Dough

 Take the first section of dough and roll it into a 10 x 12 rectangle.  You will notice that I used a ruler and at the top of my mat I used the pan for size reference.  It does not have to be perfect, but is really helpful for me to make sure it is the right size and will eventually fit into the pan when it rolls up.  First, glaze the dough with egg wash and then spread half of the cinnamon sugar filling.

Preparing the Bread for the Oven

 To prepare for the pan, fold the long sides in about 1″.  Then, start rolling the dough.

TIP:  Roll the dough towards you and press firmly so that it rolls tight.  At the end, roll the dough back and forth to seal it closed.

I tried this per the instructions and found it to be a great tip.  I will use it again.  Time to rise one more time and then back into the oven.

Rising One Last Time

Here they are right out of the oven.  The instructions say to place the loaf pans on parchment paper on a baking sheet.  Now, that is a great tip that I almost did NOT follow.  Good thing I did.

TIP:  My oven cooks the outside of things quicker even though the temperature is perfectly calibrated.  So, I often reduce the temperature by 25 degrees and tent the top of breads with foil.

Tenting with foil is easy to do…just pull out a sheet about 2 times the top of your pan, fold it in the center to create a little peak and then lightly place on the item baking.  If you do this before you start baking, you can attach firmly to the sides of the pan.  But, if you did it after you started, you can just gently place on top.  When you do that, you end up with an evenly cooked top and insides like below.

Right out of the Oven

Let cool completely and wait to eat!  Here is the first two slices of bread…and, yes, I tried them.  They tasted amazing!  This is a great recipe; the instructions are fantastic and it is a good way to start working with yeasted breads.  And, the result was beautiful.  Try It!  The recipe follows….straight from the Martha Stewart Baking Handbook.

Beautiful Swirls



For the dough:

  • 1 envelope (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
  • 2 cups warm milk (about 110 degrees F)
  • 2 pounds, 2 ounces (about 6 ½ cups) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into pieces, plus more for pans
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs, plus 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 ½ teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • Vegetable oil, for bowl and plastic wrap

For the filling:

  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon


  1. Make the dough: In the bowl of an electric mixer, sprinkle the yeast over the warm milk.  Whisk to combine.  Add the flour, butter, sugar, 2 eggs, and salt.  Attach the bowl to mixer fitted with the dough hook.  Mix on low speed until all the ingredients are well combined, about 3 minutes.  Raise the speed to medium-low, and continue to mix until the dough is uniformly smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 3 minutes more.
  2. Turn dough onto a lightly floured work surface.  Pat out dough into a 9-inch round, about 1 ¼ inches thick.  Sprinkle with raisins and cinnamon, and knead until they are just incorporated.  Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, and cover with oiled plastic wrap; let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
  3. Return the dough to a lightly floured work surface, and pat into a round.  Fold in the following manner: Fold the bottom third of the dough up, the top third down, and the right and left sides over, tapping the dough after each fold to release excess flour, and pressing down to seal.  Return the dough to the bowl, seam side down, and let rise again until doubled in bulk, about 40 minutes.
  4. Make the filling: Combine the sugar and cinnamon with 2 tablespoons of water in a small bowl.  Return the dough to a lightly floured work surface, and divide the dough in half.  Roll out one half into a 12×10 inch rectangle.  Brush it with beaten egg, and sprinkle with half of the cinnamon-sugar filling.  Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.
  5. Generously butter two 9×5-inch loaf pans and set them aside.  With a short end of the rectangle facing you, fold in both long sides of the dough, about 1 inch.  Then roll the dough toward you, gently pressing as you go to form a tight log.  Gently roll the log back and forth to seal the seam.  Place the loaf in a prepared pan, seam side down.  Repeat with the remaining rectangle.  Cover the pans loosely with oiled plastic wrap, and let rest in a warm place until the dough rises just above the rim of the pan, about 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  6. Brush the tops of the loaves with beaten egg, and transfer the pans to a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet.  Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until the loaves are golden brown, about 45 minutes.  (If the tops begin to brown too quickly, tent with foil.  I had to tent mine halfway through baking, when I rotated the pans, to prevent it from getting too brown.) Turn out the bread onto a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.  The bread can be kept, wrapped in plastic, at room temperature for up to 4 days. 

Yield: Makes two 9×5 inch loaves