Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day.  While I am Irish, I’ve never really celebrated the day.  But this year I wanted that to be different.  The only dilemma was what to make.  I couldn’t really think of many Irish foods other than soda bread or brown bread and I’m not a huge fan of either.

So I started thinking about my favorite Irish person: my Granny.  Though she is no longer with us, not a day goes by where I don’t think of her and wish she was still here.  One of my favorite things to do when she came to visit was simply eat breakfast with her.

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

She always got up early.  Earlier than I’ve ever had to get up.  She poured a cup of coffee and reached for something sweet the moment she got up.  Sitting down to one of her favorite movies as the sun came up.

When I got up and was ready for breakfast, she was always ready for a second helping.  Some days it was coffee cake or cinnamon rolls, but most often, we reached for a slice of cinnamon raisin bread.  It was one of the things always we picked up at the store in preparation for her visit.  We’d go to the bakery and ask them to slice and ice a loaf of raisin bread.  Granny would toast hers (making the house smell heavenly) and smear it with butter.  I was happy with it as is.  We’d sit and eat our bread while chatting and watching morning news.  It was always a great way to start the day and such a fond memory for me.

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

I haven’t had raisin bread in a very long time, so I thought in honor of St. Patrick’s Day and Granny, I’d make a batch.  This Cinnamon Raisin Bread is very easy to make, though there is quite a bit of inactive waiting time.

All of the waiting is more than worth it, as the intoxicating smells of cinnamon and homemade bread waft through every square inch of the house.  The end result is a perfectly golden brown bread with a soft crust and super soft, moist interior loaded with a welcome mix of golden and regular raisins.  The flavor is fantastic with the perfect amount of cinnamon.  It tastes way better than any raisin bread we used to buy at the store.  This is, in fact, my new favorite homemade bread.  I enjoyed it with a smear of Biscoff or a little peanut butter with a homemade marshmallow on top.  I can’t wait to make it again and only wish Granny could share a slice with me for breakfast.  I know she’d love it.

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

5.0 from 3 reviews
Cinnamon Raisin Bread
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: Varies
  • 3 ½ cups bread flour
  • 4 tablespoons granulated sugar, plus 1 teaspoon
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening, melted
  • ½ cup milk (I used almond)
  • ¾ cup water, divided
  • 1 ½ cups raisins
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • ½ cup cognac or whiskey
  1. First, proof the yeast. In a small bowl heat ¼ cup water to about 110 degrees. It should feel just warm to the touch. I did this in the microwave. After warmed, add the yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar, and stir. After 5-10 minutes, the mixture should be very bubbly and voluminous. If it is not, the yeast is dead and you need to try different yeast.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine both kinds of raisins. Add the cognac or whiskey and stir to combine. Allow the raisins to soak in the alcohol while you make the dough, stirring occasionally. Warm water may alternatively be used.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Add the egg, shortening, milk, yeast mixture, and the remainder of the water. Stir until a ball is formed and all ingredients are incorporated. If the mixture is too wet, add more flour. If it is too dry, add more water. Mine was perfect.
  4. Sprinkle a surface with flour and knead the dough on the surface for about 8 minutes, until it is soft, pliable, and tacky, but not sticky. Add the raisins to the dough, draining out as much of the alcohol as possible. I reached in with my hands and drained them as best I could. The bread did not taste like alcohol at all. Continue kneading the dough for about 2 minutes, until the raisins are evenly distributed.
  5. Oil a large bowl and place the dough in the bowl, rolling it in the oil. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Place the dough in a warm place for about 2 hours until it has doubled in size.
  6. After the dough has risen, oil 2 standard loaf pans. Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces, forming them into loaves. Oil the tops lightly and loosely cover with plastic wrap. Place the loaves back in a warm place for 2 – 2 ½ hours until they are again doubled in size and practically touching the tops of the pans.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the loaf pans on a sheet tray, making sure the loaf pans are not touching each other. Bake for 20 minutes. Rotate the pans, then continue baking for 20-30 minutes. Mine only took 20 additional minutes. The loaves should be golden brown and firm to the touch. They will sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Remove the bread from the pans immediately. You may need to loosen it around the edges with a knife.
  8. Though it may be a little messy, the bread is wonderful sliced right out of the oven. It may be stored in a zipper bag at room temperature for up to 5 days, or frozen wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for 4 months. Thaw at room temperature for several hours or preferably in a 350 degree F oven for about 20 minutes for a quarter of a loaf. Longer for bigger pieces. You may wrap the bread in parchment before heating it to prevent it from getting too crusty.
Recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

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  1. Aw this is so sweeeet <3

  2. Cute story, thanks for sharing 🙂

  3. What a lovely tribute to your grandma! And how nice that you have a St. Patrick’s related recipe today. And, getting up early, drinking a cup of coffee and eating something sweet sounds like a very enjoyable way to start the day!

    • Thank you, Julia! I always like to take a few moments to relax in the morning too, though I have never been a coffee drinker.

  4. That is a really nice story 🙂

  5. Very good. I prefer mine toasted just like Granny did.

  6. What a nice tribute to Granny. She loved to visit us and always enjoyed her cup of coffee and raisin bread. When she put it in the toaster the icing melted all over. It was so gooey. Great story. I miss her everyday and love to remember all the good times. She would love this!

    • I’m sure the icing made a mess, but she loved it and it smelled so good. I always try to remember the good times, but I was so young that a lot of them have disappeared.

  7. Really enjoyed reading about your grandma. I love her morning routine!
    I also like the idea of waking up and having a slice of this bread with coffee. Sounds like a perfect kind of morning!

  8. So pretty! I remember those days with my grandma too. They always baked the best treats!

  9. Could this look even more perfect Laura! I love cinnamon raisin bread so much! And what a VERY sweet post. 🙂

  10. This bread looks like my kind of bread! I bet it makes amazing French toast too!

  11. This bread is gorgeous. I love how perfectly suspended the raisins are in the bread. Nice work!

    • Thanks, Emily! I love how there are raisins in every bite. There’s nothing worse than raisin bread without raisins.

  12. Yum – sounds delicious!

  13. This looks so incredibly moist and flavorful! Just stumbled across your blog and am so happy to have found it. Can’t wait to explore more of your culinary adventures!

  14. Aw, I loved reading about you and your Granny. My grandma always had cinnamon raisin bread at her house, too. I remember staying over and then toasting it in the morning with a smear of peanut butter. Here’s so missing our grandmas and the lovely ladies they were.

    • Thank you so much, Michelle! We will have to think of our grandmas every time we eat raisin bread. I have taken to liking it with peanut butter too.

  15. Gorgeous bread. I loveeee cinnamon raisin bread and I have raisin bread, cinnamon bread, and cinnamon raisin bread on my site. haha! As well as many others. Yours is so perfect and packed w/ raisins. The best way!

  16. Is there a way I can make this without the alcohol? My mom loves raisin bread and I want to make this for her. 🙂 She also hates cinnamon so can that be omitted?

    • Hi, Lynn! It can absolutely be made without the alcohol. You can use warm water or even something like apple juice. Just be sure to drain the raisins well. The cinnamon can be omitted, but I’m not sure how it will taste. The bread may be a little bland. Let me know if you make it and how it turns out!

  17. stephanie says:

    Crazy question here…but do think this would be to bland without the cinnamon? My friend loves raisin bread, but not the cinnamon! (I know, I know…) Any thoughts? He doesn’t like cardamom or ginger or….

    • I actually think it would still be really great, Stephanie! You could try adding some extra raisins or even a few walnuts or pecans to pump up the flavor, but regardless I think it would still be a hit. Let me know if you try it and how it turns out!

      • stephanie says:

        Oh my goodness! YES! Nuts are brilliant! Thank you SO much for the quick response. This will be for quite an amazing 94 year old and you will have REALLY made his day. It won’t be for a few more weeks, but I will come back and let you know how it goes. Thanks again!

  18. I didn’t have bread flower so I used ap flower. Did not rise as much as yours.

    • Well using a different flour can definitely affect the rise on the bread, John. You could have left it proof longer as there are many factors like temperature that go into bread rising. In addition, maybe your yeast was old. I’m sorry it didn’t rise as much, but I hope it still had great flavor.


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