Plump cinnamon and juicy raisins folded into soft, fluffy milk bread. You won’t be able to resist tearing chunks out of this Sourdough Cinnamon Raisin Milk Bread.
Sponsored by The Watkins Co.
Slices of cinnamon raisin milk bread make for the most delicious breakfast bread. Serve it toasted with a pat of homemade cultured butter or make the best French toast out of leftover bread.
A Childhood Favorite
I remember my parents buying a loaf of Cinnamon Raisin Milk Bread at least once a week. Tender and shreddable, with sweet plump raisins throughout the crumb. My parents would bring home an unsliced loaf, and my siblings, my dad and I would descend on it. Tearing large chunks of bread until there was nothing left. With four of us competing for a piece, these loaves usually didn’t last more than a few hours.
There were so many bakeries in the Philippines, with easy access to all of our favorite fresh bread and pastries, that my mom never felt the need to bake bread at home. This changed when we immigrated to the United States in 2002. Like many immigrants, food became a way for us to feel closer to home.
Learning to Bake My Favorite Breads
I’ve partnered with The Watkins Company to create my version of Sourdough Cinnamon Raisin Bread that I loved growing up. My recipe uses cinnamon and vanilla from The Watkins Company to flavor the raisins and the dough.
Cinnamon and vanilla are the stars of this bake, so using high-quality spices and extracts is essential. I love using Watkins products because they are free from dyes, high-fructose corn syrup, added MSG and other artificial ingredients. Since their products are available and easily accessible to everyone through many retailers nationwide and at Watkins1868.com, you’ll be able to capture the flavor of this bake in your own kitchen.
Tips for Success
Use an active sourdough starter: Make sure your sourdough starter is bubbly and active before attempting this recipe. Check out my post on how to revive your starter after refrigeration for your best chances of success.
Use Tangzhong: This recipe uses Tangzhong, an Asian technique that requires cooking a part of the flour and milk in the recipe into a slurry before adding it to the rest of the dough ingredients. This results in a really tender crumb that stays moist for days after it’s baked. Just make sure to cool down the Tangzhong before adding it to the dough or it may kill your yeast.
Let the dough rise completely: Enrichments like butter, milk, and eggs, which help to make this bread soft and fluffy, also slow down yeast. Wait until you see a noticeable increase in volume during bulk fermentation and the second rise before moving on to the next step in the recipe
Soak the raisins: Soaking raisins in cinnamon and vanilla, not only adds flavor to your bread loaf, it also prevents the raisins from drawing moisture out of your dough, so your bread won’t bake up tough and dry.
What you need
Raisins: Soak sweet raisins to prevent them from drawing out moisture form the dough, but make sure to drain excess moisture out before adding them to your dough.
Cinnamon and vanilla: The addition of aromatic cinnamon and vanilla are what makes this bread so delicious, make sure to use high-quality ingredients.
Bread flour: Adds structure and strength to the bread, all-purpose is a suitable alternative but do not substitute whole wheat flour or your loaf will turn out dense and dry.
Milk: This recipe uses whole milk, substitute your favorite plant-based alternative.
Active sourdough starter: You’ll need a mature active starter before attempting this recipe.
Egg: Use large eggs (about 50 g in the shell).
Brown sugar: Adds sweetness to the bread, substitute white sugar, honey or maple syrup.
Salt: Use kosher salt or sea salt for the best results.
Butter: Butter adds richness and tenderizes the dough, substitute oil or your favorite plant-based alternative.
- Soak the raisins for at least 30 minutes
- Make the Tangzhong and cool completely
- Mix the dough
- Knead until you end up with a smooth dough
- Allow the dough to rise until doubled in volume
- Transfer the dough to the fridge for an overnight rise
- The next day, shape dough and transfer it into a loaf pan lined with parchment paper
- Allow the dough to rise for a second time
- Brush the top of the dough with egg wash
- Bake at 375 F for 45 to 50 minutes
I live in quite a dry climate, the humidity in your own kitchen may affect the way your dough feels. If the dough feels too wet, add a little bit of flour (up to 30 grams).
Your sourdough starter may not be ready to use. Make sure your starter is active and bubbly before attempting this recipe.
More sourdough recipes you’ll love
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Cinnamon Raisin Sourdough Milk Bread Recipe
- 85 g raisins
- 2 g ground cinnamon
- 7 g vanilla
- 56 g water
- 21 g bread flour
- 150 g whole milk
- 113 g active sourdough starter
- 77 g whole milk
- 1 large egg
- 14 g vanilla
- 50 g brown sugar
- 304 g bread flour
- 2 g ground cinnamon
- 6 g salt
- 56 g butter
- Soak Raisins: In a small bowl combine filling ingredients. Set aside and leave the raisins to soak for at least 30 minutes.85 g raisins, 2 g ground cinnamon, 7 g vanilla, 56 g water
- Make Tangzhong: Combine bread flour and milk in a large microwave safe bowl. Whisk them together until no lumps remain. Microwave on high for 30 seconds. Take the mixture out and stir again. Return the bowl to the microwave for another 60 seconds. Your mixture should have thickened and have the consistency of thick gravy, if not, stir again and microwave for another 30 seconds. Set the mixture aside and let it cool completely.21 g bread flour, 150 g whole milk
- Make the dough: Add sourdough starter, milk, egg, and vanilla to your cooled tangzhong (make sure the temperature of your tangzhong measures less than 110 F). Stir until the starter has fully dissolved and no streaks of egg remain. Set aside.113 g active sourdough starter, 77 g whole milk, 1 large egg, 14 g vanilla
- In a separate bowl, whisk together bread flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt.50 g brown sugar, 304 g bread flour, 2 g ground cinnamon, 6 g salt
- Add half of the flour mixture into the starter mixture. Mix using a wooden spoon or a spatula until a shaggy dough forms. Stir in the remaining flour, and begin lightly kneading the dough in your bowl using your hand. Continue to knead the dough inside the bowl until your dough feels smooth and has built some strength.
- Knead the dough: Knead the butter into the dough one tablespoon at a time, waiting until each portion of butter is fully incorporated before the next addition.56 g butter
- Add the raisins into the dough, and knead until the raisins are evenly distributed throughout. Cover your bowl with plastic wrap or a plastic bag and let the dough rest for an hour. This rest period will allow the gluten to relax and the flour to become fully hydrated, making your dough feel less sticky, more elastic and easier to handle.
- After your dough has rested, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes or until your dough looks smooth and passes the windowpane test.
- Check gluten development by stretching a portion of your dough using your fingertips, once your dough is ready you should be able to stretch until it is translucent without breaking.
- Bulk fermentation: Once your dough has developed enough strength, place it inside a lightly greased bowl and cover it with plastic wrap.
- Set the dough in a warm place undisturbed until it appears bubbly and has noticeably increased in volume. This may take 4 to 6 hours or longer depending on the temperature of your kitchen and the strength of your starter.
- Overnight proof: Punch the air out of your dough, round it into a tight ball and return it to the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place the dough into the refrigerator to proof overnight.
- Shape: The next morning, line a 9 by 4-inch loaf pan with parchment paper. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 8 equal portions.
- Working with 1 portion at a time, flatten the dough and fold all four corners towards the middle. Turn the dough over and using your cupped hand, gently roll the dough on your work surface until it forms a tight ball. Place the shaped roll into the loaf pan. Repeat with the remaining dough portions. Cover the loaf pan with plastic wrap.
- Final rise: Set your dough in a warm place, and allow the dough to rise until it looks puffy and feels soft to the touch with a texture resembling marshmallows. Your dough is ready to bake when it fills your loaf pan with only half an inch of space on top.
- Bake: Once your dough has proofed, preheat your oven to 375 F. Brush the top of your dough with egg wash and bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until it’s golden brown and the temperature of the dough registers at least 180 F.
- Remove your loaf from the loaf pan and move to a wire rack. Allow your dough to cool for at least 20 minutes before transferring to a cutting board and slicing.
- Enjoy and store: Enjoy warm by itself or with butter. Store leftovers in a ziplock bag or an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.