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Cinnamon-Raisin Swirl Bread

A cut loaf of cinnamon raisin swirl bread and a slice of it on a yellow plate with butter in the background
This cinnamon-raisin swirl bread is a homemade loaf of awesomeness made with whole wheat and oat flours with brown sugar, cinnamon, and raisins swirled throughout. Unspeakably more satisfying than anything you can buy.
David Leite

Prep 45 mins
Cook 1 hr
Total 3 hrs 30 mins
10 servings
367 kcal


For the hot water slurry

  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole milk

For the bread dough

  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2/3 cup oat flour or whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup malted milk powder
  • 2 teaspoons instant dry yeast (not rapid-rise)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil solid but creamy (about 70°F | 21°C)

For the cinnamon-raisin swirl

  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons (1 oz) unsalted butter melted, plus more for the pan
  • 1 large egg beaten
  • 1/2 cup fresh raisins you want to make sure there is moisture in them thar raisins


Make the hot water slurry

  • Sift the flour into a 2-quart (1.9-liter) saucepan. (If you're using cup measures, spoon the flour into the cup and level the top with a knife before sifting.)
  • Add the milk, stirring with a spatula until smooth. Set the pan over medium heat and cook, stirring, until a thick mashed potato-like paste forms, 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool to 120°F (48°C), 5 to 10 minutes.

Make the bread dough

  • Sift the flours into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook (If you're using cup measures, spoon the flour into the cup and level the top with a knife before sifting.)
  • Add the honey, malted milk powder, yeast, salt, milk, coconut oil, and the slurry. Stir to combine, then knead on low until the dough passes the windowpane test* (see NOTE below), 12 to 23 minutes. The dough may feel sticky. That’s normal.
  • Cover the mixer bowl with plastic wrap and prepare a warm place for the dough to rise. (You can microwave a mug of water until boiling hot, then push it to the back of the microwave so it continues to radiate heat and steam). Let the dough rise until puffy and light, though not doubled, 40 to 50 minutes.
  • With flour-dusted fingertips, gently press the dough. If it springs back, let rise 15 minutes more. If it feels firm but retains a shallow impression, it’s ready to shape.

Make the cinnamon-raisin swirl

  • In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon, and flour.

Shape and bake the loaf

  • Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and crank the heat to 350°F (177°C). Lightly butter a 9-by 5-inch loaf pan.
  • Gently pat and pull the dough into a 20-by 6-inch (51-by 15-cm) rectangle, with the long side toward you.
  • Brush the dough with egg until fully coated. Sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar mixture and evenly dot with the raisins.
  • Beginning with a short end, carefully roll the dough into a stout log. Pinch the ends closed as well as the bottom seam. Snug the roll, seam-side down, into the pan.
    Cinnamon raisin swirl bread dough being rolled up.
  • Let the loaf rise uncovered until it crowns the pan by a good inch, 45 to 60 minutes.
    Cinnamon raisin swirl dough rising in a loaf pan.
  • Bake the loaf until the internal temperature registers 195 to 200°F (90 to 93°C), 50 to 60 minutes. Start checking the loaf after 30 minutes. If at any point it seems to be browning too quickly, tent it with a sheet of aluminum foil.
  • Remove the pan from the oven and repeatedly brush the top with the melted butter until all the butter is used, waiting a couple minutes in between applications to let the butter soak in.
  • Gingerly tip the bread out of the pan and let it cool on a wire rack.
  • Use all patience and willpower available to resist slicing into the loaf until it cools completely, at least 1 hour.


Why does my cinnamon-raisin swirl bread separate?

Great question. The most common reason cinnamon-raisin swirl bread will separate along the roll is that there's no binder to hold the swirl filling to the dough. Many recipes have you roll out the dough, sprinkle the cinnamon sugar and raisins over it, and roll it up. That's courting disaster. In this recipe, the eggwash you brush on the dough acts as the binder, giving the cinnamon sugar and raisins something to grab on to. The result? A delicate, loopy swirl with no gaps.