Cinnamon Swirl Sourdough w/ Bourbon Soaked Raisins

I bought a new Pullman loaf pan and really wanted to try something delicious in it. I had been thinking about a cinnamon swirl loaf for a while and decided to give one a shot using some sourdough discard and golden raisins that had been soaked in bourbon and vanilla. The smell of this loaf coming out of the oven was ridiculously awesome.

Cinnamon swirl bread with bourbon soaked golden raisins

Schedule:

This will give you a rough timeline to follow. Just keep in mind that from the time you start mixing the dough until you take it out of the oven is about 4 hours. A lot of this is hands-off time but you do need to be around to perform certain actions.

  • 9am – Mix all dough ingredients in stand mixer for 3-5 minutes until incorporated and smooth.
  • Ferment for 1.5 – 2 hours or until doubled in size. My kitchen was 68’F and it took 1.5 hours to double in size.
  • 10:30am – Roll dough and add filling
  • Let the filled and rolled dough proof in the bread pan for 1 hour
  • 11:30am – Bake in preheated 350’F oven for 40-45 minutes

Ingredients

Dough:

  • 361g Bob’s Red Mill Bread Flour
  • 113g sourdough starter (last fed 18 hours prior)
  • 152g water @ 92’F
  • 2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 egg
  • 5 Tbsp softened unsalted butter

Filling:

  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp flour
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins soaked in 1oz bourbon and 2 tsp vanilla for 3 hours
  • 1 egg + 1 Tbsp water for washing the dough prior to adding ingredients
All dough ingredients ready to mix
Get those raisins soaking. I use a cheap Trader Joes bourbon for this purpose

Instructions

This is an expansion of the rough outline provided in the schedule above. I recommend using a stand mixer as it makes preparing the dough extremely easy. I use the dough hook attachment and it works great.

First, add all the ‘Dough’ ingredients into the stand mixer. The butter should be soft but doesn’t need to be melted. Mix with the dough hook attachment for 3-5 minutes or until the dough comes together and looks shiny.

After mixing, form the dough into a ball and place it in a greased bowl and allow it to ferment for 1.5 to 2 hours, or until doubled in size. Rather than wasting plastic wrap, I save the plastic bags I buy my fruit and veggies in at the grocery store and place the bowl in that.

Stages of bulk fermentation. Top left: after mixing; Right: fermenting in bag; Bottom left: finished fermenting

Once your dough has doubled in size, shape it into a rough rectangle and roll it out so it’s about 8″ wide by 20″ long. Be sure to flour your work surface slightly so the dough doesn’t stick. Fortunately the fat from the butter will help keep it from sticking too much, but having a bench scraper handy is always a good insurance policy.

With the rolled dough roughly the right shape, wash the egg + water mixture onto it and then sprinkle the filling mixture to cover it. Next, drain and add the raisins. I reserved some of the egg wash and the sugar mix to coat the top prior to going in the oven.

Rolled dough washed with egg mix. Left: filling; Right: filling + raisins

Next you’ll want to carefully roll the dough into a log, roughly 9″ wide. Grease your loaf pan and then put the log in the pan, seam side down. Allow your loaf to proof for about an hour. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350’F.

Rolled dough proofing with a little egg wash to keep it from tearing.
Proofed dough just before going into the oven, coated with some of the reserved filling

After the dough has proofed and doubled in size again, lightly brush it with some more egg wash and top it with the reserved filling, if desired.

Bake at 350’F for 40-45 minutes, tenting the pan with foil for the first 15-20 minutes.

Once the loaf has finished baking, take it out and remove it from the pan and allow it to cool on a wire rack for at least an hour before cutting into it.

Results

For my first time making a cinnamon swirl loaf, this turned out amazingly delicious. The swirl didn’t separate the bread during proofing so the slices still hold their shape after being cut. The bourbon gives the the raisins a great added flavor and moisture.

As someone who isn’t a huge sweet tooth, the amount of filling was perfect. For people who love sweet bread, you might want to make a little more of the filling and add more.

Adding some of the reserved filling to the top of the loaf gives it a really nice crust and an added taste of cinnamon and sugar.

I’m already planning on using some of this to make french toast this weekend. I’ll definitely be making this again, especially for when we have guests over.

Finished cinnamon swirl sourdough in the Pullman loaf pan
The Pullman loaf pan does a great job shaping the loaf
Close up of the cinnamon swirl

Changes for next time?

This bread is pretty phenomenal as it is, but next time I’ll probably try using more raisins and maybe find some smaller ones. If I find some currants on sale, throwing those in this loaf would also be an interesting experiment.

Like I mentioned previously, some of you might want to increase the amount of cinnamon/sugar mix you add to the bread as it’s not in-your-face sweet. I like this amount though because it doesn’t create a barrier that splits the bread when cut or picked up.

Great French Toast!

I made some French toast with this bread and it turned out great. I always like to top mine with some peanut butter, yogurt, walnuts, jam and some maple syrup.

French toast with the cinnamon swirl bread

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