Inspired by my love of Hot Cross Buns, this easy cinnamon raisin bread is the perfect recipe for Easter. Soft, fluffy and perfectly spiced.
I absolutely love Hot Cross Buns and it’s simply not Easter without them. However, I love toasting hot cross buns so this raisin bread gives me all the joy of my beloved Easter treat with the added benefit that slices can easily be toasted. However, this bread is so soft and fluffy, you’d be forgiven for eaten slice after slice as is. No toasting necessary. To make this as easy as possible, I adapted my Easy White Bread recipe and just added the flavors of hot cross buns. No egg necessary and if you don’t have butter, you can use oil!
If you are not a fan of raisins or dried fruit (cranberries, chopped apricots, etc. can be used instead of raisins), use chocolate chunks or leave them out entirely. This bread recipe will be delicious regardless.
This recipe requires the usual ingredients you would need for bread: flour, yeast and liquid. If you want the dough to be a little richer, milk is a great substitute for water. Softened butter creates a moist baked loaf but I’ve made this with oil too. The spice and raisins add flavor and texture. You could use allspice too, but I don’t often have that in my kitchen.
- Flour: I used cake (wheat) flour but you can use all purpose flour or bread flour too. Stoneground flour will need a little extra rising time but most commercial bread flours will react the same as all purpose or cake flour.
- Milk / Water: I used half milk and half water but you can use only milk or only water if you prefer.
- Spices. Cinnamon, nutmeg and ground ginger.
- Butter. You can use vegetable/canola oil too if you prefer.
- Raisins. Use any dried fruit you like or substitute with chocolate chunks/chips.
How to make raisin bread
- Make the dough: Combine warm water and milk with yeast and sugar in a mixing jug. Whisk together and then allow to stand for 5-10 minutes until foamy. Take care not to heat the water and milk too much, you want the liquid to be just warm enough so that when you stick your finger in, it feels pleasantly warm, not hot. If the liquid is too hot, it will kill the yeast. Combine the dry ingredients (start with only 3 cups of flour) in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. With the mixer running, pour in the yeast mixture. Allow to combine then add the butter/oil. Add the raisins and knead for a minute. If needed, add the remaining flour a few tablespoons at a time until the dough is smooth and soft and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Cover with a damp dish towel or plastic wrap and allow to rise for an hour until doubled in size.
- To make by hand: Follow the ingredients as above, just mix with your hand in a large bowl until a shaggy, soft dough forms then turn out onto a floured surface and knead until soft and smooth. Place back into a greased bowl, cover and allow to rise for an hour.
- Roll the dough:Transfer the proofed dough to a lightly floured surface then press into a rectangle as wide as your loaf pan. Press any loose raisins into the center then roll the dough onto itself into a log. Pinch the seam together. Line a loaf pan with baking/parchment paper then transfer the dough to the prepared pan. Cover again then allow to rise for 30 minutes while you preheat the oven.
- Bake the raisin bread: Brush the bread with beaten egg and bake for 30-45 minutes or until it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. If the top of the bread browns too quickly, loosely cover with foil. Remove the bread from the oven and brush with melted butter then and allow to cool completely before slicing and serving.
Can you freeze raisin bread?
Yes absolutely! Freeze slices of raisin bread and toast from frozen. Alternatively, the dough can be frozen in a loaf pan and baked from frozen. Baked raisin bread will last for up to 3 days wrapped in foil on the kitchen counter.
Easy bread recipes
Easy Cinnamon Raisin Bread
- 3/4 cup warm water
- 3/4 cup warm milk
- 10 g (2tsp) instant yeast
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 3-4 cups flour (any white flour can be used: Cake, all purpose or bread)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- 1/3 cup butter / oil (room temperature butter)
- 1 cup raisins
- 1 egg beaten (for egg wash) (optional)
- Whisk water, milk, sugar and yeast together. Allow to stand for 10 minutes until foamy.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine the flour, spiced and salt.
- With the mixer running, add the yeast mixture and allow to knead in.
- Add the butter or oil, allow to knead in then add more flour, one third cup at a time until the dough is smooth. Add the raisins.
- Knead for another minuted until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl.
- If the dough is still very sticky, add more flour and knead in.
- The dough should be smooth and soft and only a slight bit sticky.
- Cover with plastic wrap or a damp tea towel and allow to rise for 1 hour.
- Once the dough has proofed, press it into rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Press any raisins that have fallen out of the dough into the center. Roll onto its self into a log, pinch the seam then transfer to a loaf pan that has been lightly greased.
- Cover again and allow to rise for 30 minutes while you preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.
- Brush with beaten egg and place in the oven and allow to bake for 30-45 minutes until golden brown and risen. If the bread browns too quickly, loosely cover with a piece of foil and continue baking. Once baked the bread will sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
- Remove from the oven, brush with melted butter (optional) and allow to cool before slicing.