Dorie’s Raisin Swirl Bread

By Maria Lichty

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I had one request when I went home for the holidays…I told my dad we HAD to make Dorie’s Raisin Swirl Bread. I have been eying this recipe since I opened the book, but have never gotten around to making it. And since my dad is the bread master, I thought it would be fun to make together. Plus, I knew he would be in because the bread included raisins:)

Dorie’s recipe was very easy to follow. I love her step by step instructions…and all of the details she adds. The rising time was the only downfall…only because I was really craving a slice of cinnamony raisin goodness!

The bread was well worth the wait. One slice in and I knew we had a winner. I loved the plump raisins and the cinnamon swirl! The bread was very “cakey” too. A divine sweet treat!

The bread was fine and dandy alone, but the next morning we were feeling adventurous, so we made french toast! The bread soaked up the egg, cinnamon, vanilla mixture quite nicely. We drizzled maple syrup and powdered sugar on top! This was the perfect vacation breakfast! Thanks Dorie!

Oh-I taped another TV segment yesterday! It is airing on Friday on a local channel in Salt Lake City. This time the topic was “Healthy Snacking.” I brought in examples of healthy snacks! It was fun!

I hope everyone has a safe New Year’s! We really don’t have big plans, I guess we are boring! I just hope to stay awake until the clock strikes midnight:) HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Raisin Swirl Bread
Recipe from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking, From My Home to Yours

For the Bread
1 pack active dry yeast
¼ cup sugar, plus a pinch
1 ¼ cups just warm to the touch whole milk
½ stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ teaspoon salt
1 large egg
¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract (optional-we used it!)
Grated zest of ½ orange (optional-didn’t use it)
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (optional-we used it)
3 ¾ to 4 cups flour

For the Swirl
1 tablespoon sugar (we used a bit more)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (we used more)
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder (optional-we didn’t use this)
1 cup moist, plump raisins (dark)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to a spreadable consistency

To make the bread: Put the yeast in a small bowl, toss in the pinch of sugar, and stir in ¼ cup of the warm milk. Let rest for 3 minutes, then stir–the yeast may not have dissolved completely and it may not have bubbled, but it should be soft. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the remaining 1 cup milk, the butter and the remaining ¼ cup sugar and mix on low speed for a minute or two. Add the salt, egg and vanilla, if you are using it, as well as the zest and the nutmeg, if you’re using them, and mix for a minute. In all likelihood, the mixture will look unpleasantly curdly (it will look even worse when you add the yeast). Add the yeast mixture and beat on medium-low speed for 1 minute more. Turn the mixer off and add 2 ¾ cups of the flour. Mix on low speed just until you work the flour into the liquids–you’ll have a sticky mix. If you’ve got a dough hook, switch to it now. Add another 1 cup flour, increase the mixer speed to medium, and beat the dough or a couple of minutes. IF the dough does not come together and almost clean the sides of the bowl, add up to ¼ cup more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. Keep the mixer speed at a medium and knead the dough for about 3 minutes, or until it is smooth and has a lovely buttery sheen. The dough will be very soft, much too soft to knead by hand. Butter a large bowl, turn the dough into the bowl and cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Put the bowl in a warm place and let the dough rise until it is doubled in size, about 1 ½ hours. Scrape the dough onto a large piece of plastic wrap, wrap it and put it in the freezer for 30 minutes to firm enough to be rolled easily. (At this point, you can instead refrigerate the dough overnight if that is more convenient.)

To make the swirl and shape the loaf: Butter a 9-x-5 inch loaf pan. Whisk together the sugar,cinnamon and cocoa, if you’re using it. Check that the raisins are nice and moist; if they’re not, steam them for a minute, then dry them well. Put the dough on a large work surface lightly dusted with flour, lightly dust the top of the dough and roll the dough into a rectangle about 12 x 18 inches. Gently smear 2 tablespoons of the butter over the surface of the dough–this is most easily done with your fingers. Sprinkle over the sugar mixture and scatter over the raisins. Starting from a short side of the dough, roll the dough up jelly-roll fashion, making sure to roll the dough snugly. Fit the dough into the buttered pan, seam side down, and tuck the ends under the loaf. Cover the pan loosely with wax paper and set in a warm place; let the dough rise until it comes just a little above the edge of the pan, about 45 minutes.

Getting Ready to Bake: When the dough has almost fully risen, center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat. Melt the remaining tablespoon of butte and brush the top of the loaf with the butter. Put the pan on the baking sheet and bake the bread for about 20 minutes. Cover loosely with a foil tent and bake for another 25 minutes or so, until the bread is golden and sounds hollow when the bottom of the pan is tapped. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for 5 minutes, then unmold. Invert the bread and cool to room temperature right up on the rack.

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I'm Maria and my husband is Josh. We share a love of cooking, baking, and entertaining. We enjoy creating recipes that are simple, fresh, and family friendly. We love sitting around the table with good food, good conversation, and good friends and family! Our kitchen is always open!
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  1. Owww I use to love swirl bread when I was younger! I haven’t had it in years. The french toast looks just awesome! Happy almost New Year!

  2. This has to be the third or fourth time we’ve been exactly on the same wavelength — check out my blog later today for a post on cinnamon-raisin swirl bread! I guess great minds think alike!! Anyway – yours looks fabulous! Hope you have a wonderful new year’s 🙂

  3. Maria, I’ll bet you were fantastic on TV. I wish I could see it. Your bread, as everything you do here, looks wonderful. Happy New Year….Mary

  4. I love rasin bread and I always make our French toast using it. I have never made my own loaf before – thanks for the tasty recipe. I can’t wait to try it.

    Happy New Year Maria.

  5. Oh man, does your raisin swirl bread look good. I’m going to have to remember this recipe.

    Hope you have a great new year!

  6. I would love to have some of this bread tomorrow morning…right now, in fact. I can’t wait to try it! Happy New Year!

  7. Dorie does make good stuff!
    I will have to try this one.
    Love raisin bread. (also knew my first marriage was in trouble when he announced that his whole family didn’t eat raisins as a rule..)
    Have a wonderful New Year!

  8. I must say that I’m looking forward to trying this one and you’re pictures just made me want it more. The french toast was a great idea. Happy New Year!!

  9. When I saw that first gorgeous picture I thought “Oh, that would make fabulous French toast!” Great minds think alike, for sure.

  10. Dear dear Maria, it looks as though you got 2009 off to a delicious start. Here’s hoping that this year will bring you and your family everything you could possibly wish for yourselves – I don’t have to wish you sweetness because I know you will always have that. xoxoDorie

  11. Wow, you’re becoming a TV star!

    Will you send me your address. I must have it wrong because I sent you something but it came back in the mail.

  12. This looks fantastic!!! More spots on TV?! When are you going to be on the food network so you go nationwide? 🙂 Happy New Year! – mary the food librarian

  13. Mmmm…that looks so good! I have this book and need to inspect it some more. The French Toast looks delicious as well.

  14. Maria, how fun that you get to cook and bake with your dad! He sounds like quite a chef! This bread looks truly wonderful — and I can’t even imagine how fabulous it had to be as french toast! You are going to inspire me to conquer my yeast bread fear yet!

  15. Hi Maria,
    I have made this recipe several times. I added the butter in small bits at the end of the knead in the stand mixer and it made the dough so much easier to work with…no freezing required. Thanks for the inspiration. I love all of your bread recipes.