This recipe started off as cinnamon raisin bread, but has since gotten a lot more open for creativity and…chocolate, basically. Yeees please. The bread goes well with cinnamon sugar and raisins, cinnamon sugar and chocolate, asiago cheese (with or without sun dried tomatoes), peanut butter and jelly… it really seems to take well to every filling I’ve tried putting in it.
When you’ve mixed up this dough it rises for two hours. After that you can either bake it that day or put it in the fridge for up to a week. This means you can either have two loaves today, or some cinnamon raisin bread tomorrow and pb&j bread next weekend. Even longer from now, actually, as this is another bread that works well to freeze and toast slices back up when you’re hungry. And, in fact, if you decide to fill it with asiago, I do recommend toasting the slices to get the cheese nice and melty while you’re eating.
To begin, mix the yeast, salt, sugar, water, and buttermilk in a large bowl. Stir in the flour with a spoon, but do not knead. Continue to stir until the dough is evenly mixed, and then cover (not airtight).
Allow the dough to rest for two hours, until it has risen and then collapsed or flattened on top. You can use it now, or refrigerate for up to a week in the same non-air tight bowl. The dough is a bit easier to use after chilling, but it’s not a huge difference.
Whatever day you’re going to use it, grease your loaf pan(s) and set aside. Dust the top of the dough with flour and divide it in half. Take one half of the dough in your hand and shape it into a rough ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom four times, rotating a quarter-turn each time.
Place on a lightly floured surface and roll out to an 11X18″ rectangle, dusting with flour as necessary. Using a pastry brush, spread the egg wash over the dough, and then sprinkle/coat with whatever topping you are using.
Starting from the short side, roll it up like a jelly roll. When you’re almost to the end, I’ve found it’s helpful to flour the last 2 or so inches of the outside as you roll them up off the counter, so that once your roll is complete it’s not completely stuck in place.
Pinch the seam and ends shut, and place seam-side down in your bread pan. Let it rise 40 minutes if you made the dough that day, 1 hour and 40 minutes if it had been refrigerated. At the end of the rise, if your filling is something that would be good on top, feel free the brush some more egg wash on the top and sprinkle on some more of the filling.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until golden brown. For a thicker filling such as cheese, you’re definitely going to want the 40. Remove from the pan and cool on a rack. Breads like this end up with better and texture and taste if you let them cool completely before cutting, much as that’s frustrating.
Cinnamon-Raisin Buttermilk Bread
Adapted from Alexandra Cooks.
- 2 cups lukewarm water
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1½ T. yeast
- 1½ T. kosher salt
- 1½ T. sugar
- 6½ cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
- butter for greasing the pan
- 1½ tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/3 cup sugar
- ¾ cup raisins/chocolate chips
- egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water)
- (or 2 cups of cheese, or whatever else you’re interested in!)
Preparing the dough: Mix the yeast, salt and sugar with the water and buttermilk in a 5-quart mixing bowl or a lidded (not airtight) food container. Mix in the flour without kneading using a spoon until well incorporated. Cover (not airtight) and allow to rest at room temperature until the dough rises and collapses or flattens on top, approximately 2 hours.
The dough can be used immediately after the initial rise, though it is easier to handle when cold. Refrigerate in a lidded (not airtight) container and use over the next 7 days.
On baking day, lightly grease a 9x4x3-inch nonstick loaf pan. Set aside. Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and divide in half. Quickly shape one half into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go.
With a rolling pin, roll out the dough to an 11×18-inch rectangle about ¼-inch thick, dusting the board and rolling pin with flour as needed.
Using a pastry brush, cover the surface of the dough lightly with egg wash. Mix together the sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle the mixture evenly over the dough. Distribute the raisins, if using.
Starting from the short side, roll it up jelly-roll style. Pinch the edges and ends together, tucking the ends under. Place the loaf seam-side down in the prepared pan. Allow to rest 1 hour and 40 minutes (or just 40 minutes if you’re using fresh, unrefrigerated dough.)
Twenty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 375ºF. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from pan and allow to cool before slicing.