There are moments in life when your body and soul wants nothing more than cinnamon-swirled raisin toast with butter on top.
The aroma of the cinnamon and sugar toasted to perfection makes me feel like a kid again, and like everything is right in the world, even when it isn’t.
For me, the sweet and spicy smell of cinnamon somehow calms the noise and chaos of the world and brings me back to myself for just a moment.
On the first attempt at this recipe, I thought I would get a little fancy and add chai spice instead of just cinnamon. It was good, but a little disappointing.
My 2 year old confirmed this by taking a bite of the toast and saying “Mmm…good”, but then abruptly spit it out after he realized there was just too flavor.
He preceded to make a “gentle” command that came out more like a polite question. He shrugged his shoulders and pushed the pieces of toast in a pile and said, “Throw it in the traaaash?”
I hated to admit it, but I agreed with his review. However, the rest of the bread is in the freezer (not the trash) waiting to be tranformed into beautiful French toast one Sunday morning. I think I can live with that.
The second attempt was exactly what I was looking for. A tender interior, an earthy aroma from the whole wheat flour, the sweet smell of cinnamon, and the juicy bite of soft raisins.
“So how do you put together this soft and tender bread”, you ask? In the words of Lionel Richie, “It’s as easy as Sunday morning”.
The mantra for bread here at Bessie Bakes is slow and easy. Slow as in, long fermentation. Easy as in, you barely lift a finger and let a sourdough culture and natural fermentation do the rest.
Mix the ingredients together with a wooden spoon until combined, cover and let ferment all day or overnight. When it’s risen, place on your countertop, sprinkle with brown sugar, cinnamon, and orange juice-soaked raisins, and roll like a jellyroll.
Proof for about 60-90 minutes, and bake.
In essence, you only need a bowl, a spoon or spatula, and about 10 minutes of hands-on time in order to make a loaf of this beautiful no knead sourdough cinnamon raisin bread. Yes, yes, and yes.
Steam is essential for helping the bread to have a nice “oven spring”. Simply heat a pan in the hot oven for several minutes and throw a cup of ice in the pan once you put your loaf on the rack. Close the door immediately to trap in the steam.
Slice and serve with butter, and maybe reserve some pieces for French toast. Mmmm…good.
Tag @bessie.bakes on Instagram to share your beautiful bread creations!
Bon Appétit Ya’ll,
No Knead Sourdough Cinnamon Raisin Bread Recipe
Sweet cinnamon, brown sugar, and juicy raisins leave a swirl of goodness inside this lovely whole wheat sourdough bread.
For the dough
- 5 3/4 cups Whole Wheat Flour 925 grams
- 1 1/4 cups All Purpose Flour 185 grams
- 3 3/4 cups Water, room temp 809 grams
- 1 Tbsp Salt 20 grams
- 1/4 cup ripe unfed Sourdough Starter/culture 58 grams
For the Filling
- 1/4 cup brown sugar firmly packed
- 1 Tbsp Cinnamon
- 1/4 cup Raisins soaked in 2 Tbsp orange juice or warm water to soften
- Butter or oil for brushing the dough and the pan
Mix the whole wheat and all purpose flour, and salt together until combined.
Add the water and sourdough culture/starter and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until combined. If the dough looks a bit dry, you can add an extra tablespoon of water at a time because whole wheat flour absorbs a lot of water. You don't have to knead the dough because the long fermentation will create the structure you need.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let ferment at room temperature for 8-12 hours. Because there is no dry yeast added, the sourdough fermentation is very forgiving, in that it takes a lot to over-ferment a sourdough bread dough.
When the dough has doubled in size, place the dough onto your counter and shape into a rectangle, making it more long than wide. You want it to be the same width as your loaf pan after rolling it up. Spread melted butter or oil over the rectangle.
Add orange juice or warm water to the raisins to soften for a few minutes.
Mix the brown sugar and cinnamon together and spread all over the rectangle. Add the raisins on top.
Roll the bread like a jellyroll and pinch the ends together to seal the bottom.
Brush a loaf pan really well with butter or oil. Place the dough in the pan. Once it's in the pan, take your fingers and lift the dough away from the sides all the way around and add a little extra butter or oil around the edges of the dough to keep it from sticking. Smooth back out and cover with plastic wrap to proof.
Proofing the bread
You can proof the bread one of two ways.
* Proof the bread in a warm spot in your kitchen or inside a completely cooled oven with the light turned on to keep it warm for 60-90 minutes or until it's almost doubled in size.
* Or for convenience, you can proof the bread overnight in the fridge if you want to bake it first thing the next morning. The temperature of the fridge will slow down fermentation so it doesn't over-proof. If it's still not completely proofed in the morning, you can put in on the counter for 15-30 minutes until it's proofed.
Bake at 400 degrees for 35-45 minutes. The top should be a deep brown color. If you are unsure if it's baked in the center, remove it from the loaf pan and tap the bottom of the bread. If it sounds hollow, it's ready.
Let rest for 20-30 minutes before slicing because the center will still be setting.
Always use ripe unfed sourdough starter to make bread rise. That means your starter will be at it's peak ripeness about 4-8 hours before making this recipe.
If you want to bake it first thing in the morning as soon as you get up, you can start this bread the morning before, let it ferment all day at room temp, fill and roll it, and let it proof in the fridge overnight. The extra fermentation time is great for the nutritional value and for ease of digestion.
You can also mix the dough, let it ferment overnight, fill and shape the next morning, proof, then bake. Just keep in mind you will need 2-2 1/2 hours the next morning to finish that process.
This bread freezes perfectly. Simply wrap really well in plastic wrap once it's completely cooled.