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Soft Sourdough Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Sourdough cinnamon raisin bread is deliciously soft, scented with cinnamon, and studded with raisins. It is great to eat fresh or toasted and slathered with butter.

I’ve got a personal goal to work my way through as many commercial yeast bread varieties as I can and create the equivalent in sourdough recipes. A sourdough cinnamon raisin bread has always been a front runner to try. It has taken me a wee while to get this sourdough fruit bread just right though.

It wasn’t a matter of adding fruit to a standard sourdough loaf. I had an idea of what the texture should be and regular sourdough bread with raisins wasn’t going to cut it. I wanted it to be slightly tender but not overly so like a brioche, and I wanted it soft but not super fluffy like a hot cross bun.

Sourdough Cinnamon Bread

The dough is lightly enriched with milk and a little bit of butter. This brings just the right amount of tenderness and softness to the crumb.

This recipe makes 2 loaves. I like to slice and freeze one, so we can easily grab a couple of pieces to pop in the toaster. There are two options of timings for this cinnamon raisin sourdough bread, so you can follow which one suits your schedule. The exact times given are a guide.

sliced raisin bread.

Ingredients

Find the exact ingredient amounts for this delicious bread recipe in the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post. Here is a rundown of what you will need.

  • Active sourdough starter
  • Strong all-purpose flour or bread flour, with a protein level of at least 11%
  • Soft brown sugar
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Ground nutmeg
  • Salt
  • Raisins – Sweet raisins give the bread some natural sweetness.
  • Whole milk
  • Water
  • Butter, room temperature. This can be salted or unsalted butter.

Equipment

This sourdough bread recipe is made by hand, but feel free to use a stand mixer and dough hook attachment if you would rather. You will also need two standard two 8.5×4.5inch / 21x11cm loaf pans.

Baker’s schedule

Option 1

  • The night before – Feed sourdough starter
  • Day 19 am. The following morning mix the dough
  • 9:20 am – Bulk ferment at a warm room temperature for approximately 4 hours, stretch and fold every 30 minutes.
  • 2:30 pm – Cold proof until the evening.
  • 8:30 pm – Shape, rise overnight at room temperature.
  • Day 2 – 8 am – The next morning, bake.

Option 2

  • Day 1 – 8 am– Feed sourdough starter
  • 2 pm – Mix the dough
  • 2:20 pm – Bulk ferment at a warm room temperature for approximately 4 hours, stretch and fold every 30 minutes.
  • 6:30 pm – Cold proof until the morning
  • Day 2 – 8:00 am – The next day, shape, and let the bread rise until doubled in a warm spot, around 4-6 hours.
  • 1 pm – Bake
close up of sourdough cinnamon raisin bread loaf.

Active sourdough starter

To make this sourdough roll recipe you need an active starter. If you don’t have one, here is how to make your own sourdough starter

If you do have one, keep feeding and discarding regularly to keep the acid content in the starter low. Too much acid can affect the structure of the bread.

If you are feeding your starter overnight it will be fed at a ratio of 1:3:3 (or even 1:4:4 if it’s going to be a warm night). This means a ratio of 1 part starter, 3 parts flour, and 3 parts water measured in weight.

This feeding amount means it will be ready to use within 8-10 hours, depending on the warmth of the room overnight. If you are feeding it during the day to use in the afternoon it can be fed at a 1:2:2 ratio which means it will rise quicker. Keep the starter at a temperature between 21-25 °C/ 69-77°F.

a jar of starter

Method

Feed the starter

Feed the starter and let it rise. The amounts to feed it will depend on if you are feeding your starter overnight or during the day.

The dough

When the starter is ready to use, in a large mixing bowl, mix all the ingredients of the dough together except for the butter. It will make a sticky shaggy dough. Now work in the room temperature butter with your hands.

raisins, sugar and spices in a bowl.
butter cubes in shaggy dough.

It takes a few minutes and it is a little messy and very sticky, but it’s not hard. Make sure it’s all worked in. This part can also be done with a stand mixer.

Transfer the dough into a large clean bowl and cover with a damp towel.

Bulk ferment

Place the dough in a warm spot to bulk ferment for the next 4 hours. (ideally around 25°C/ 77°F.) During the first 3 hours, perform 6 sets of folds in the first three hours, one set every 30 minutes, letting the dough rest after each set.

a hand stretching dough.
a hand folding dough.

You could a classic stretch and fold method or a coil fold. The dough will start off sloppy but will gain strength and elasticity as the folds go on.

Stretch and fold – Using wet hands, take one side of the dough and stretch it up, then pull it over itself. Turn the bowl a quarter turn and repeat this move. Continue stretching and folding and turning the bowl until all sides have been folded. That is one set of stretch and folds.

Coil folding – Using wet hands, coax the sides of the dough up with your fingers and lift it up from the middle and back onto itself. Turn the dough and repeat on all sides, until it forms a ball. If the dough sticks too much to your hands, wet them again.

a hand stretching dough.
a hand folding over dough

Let the dough continue to bulk ferment for another hour.

Cold proof

Cover the dough tightly with compostable plastic wrap or a lid and place in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours, until you are ready to shape.

Shaping

Grease and line two standard loaf pans with parchment paper.

When the dough comes from the fridge it will be stiff and cold. Pull it from the bowl onto a floured works surface and split it into 2 equal pieces.

Take a piece of dough and use a rolling pin or your hands to push and stretch the dough into a rectangle. Aim for the width of the rectangle to be nearly the same length as the loaf pan. Roll the rectangle up from the short side, like a swiss roll. Lay the dough in the prepared loaf pan. Repeat with the second piece.

stretched out dough with raisins.
rolled up dough roll.

Second rise

Let the dough rise and double in size overnight at room temperature.

If you are letting it rise during the day instead, place it in a warm spot for 4-6 hours until doubled in size. Ideally at a temperature of around 25°C/ 77°F.) If you have a cold kitchen, create a humid and warm place by placing the dough into a turned-off oven alongside a bowl of boiled water. Replace the water as needed when it cools down.

unrisen sourdough raisin loaf.
risen sourdough raisin loaf.

Baking

Once it has risen, heat the oven to 200°C/400 °F.

Use a pastry brush to brush the top of the dough of each loaf with a little milk.

Bake the loaves for 30-35 minutes until deep golden brown on the top. As the bread bakes, if it is browning too fast, loosely cover it with a sheet of aluminum foil. When the bread is removed from the pans it should feel light and sound hollow when the bottom is tapped.  The internal temperature of the loaf should be between 88-94°C/190-200°F.

Let it cool on a wire rack before slicing and serving,

baked loaf.

Serving and storing

Store leftover bread in an airtight container, or tightly wrapped, at room temperature for up to 4 days.

The bread can also be frozen for long-term storage, up to 3 months. It’s helpful to slice it first before freezing it in a plastic bag or freezer-safe container.

If you’re after a traditional sourdough loaf, try my Basic Sourdough Loaf.

Variations and additions

Here are some variations and additions to give your Sourdough Cinnamon Raisin Bread a twist:

  • Apple Cinnamon Sourdough Bread: Add finely chopped, peeled apples to the dough.
  • Sourdough Cinnamon Raisin Nut Bread: Add 1/2 a cup of chopped walnuts or pecans for a crunchy texture.
  • Add Orange Zest: It’ll give the bread a wonderful citrus note that pairs well with the raisins and cinnamon.
bitten raisin bread with butter.
Sourdough Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Sourdough Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Yield: 2 loaves
Prep Time: 1 hour
Proofing time: 1 day 12 hours
Total Time: 1 day 13 hours

Deliciously soft, scented with cinnamon and studded with raisins. This sourdough cinnamon raisin bread is great to eat fresh, or toasted and slathered with butter.

Ingredients

Starter

  • 30g starter
  • 60g all-purpose flour or bread flour
  • 60g water

The Dough

  • 550g all-purpose or bread flour, with a protein level of at least 11%
  • All the sourdough starter
  • 50g soft brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 8g salt
  • 120g raisins
  • 250g whole milk
  • 150g water
  • 60g butter, softened to room temperature

Brushing

  • 2 Tbsp milk

Instructions

The starter

  1. In the morning, mix together the starter ingredients and add them to a clean jar. Cover with a loose lid or cloth and place in a warm spot. It should double within 6 hours. If you are feeding the starter the night before, see the notes for the starter feeding schedule.

The Dough

  1. Mix all the dough ingredients except for the butter together in a bowl.
  2. Add in the butter and use your hand to squish it in well until it is all incorporated. It will make a very sticky dough. This can also be done in a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. 
  3. Tip the dough in a clean large bowl and cover with a damp tea towel or lid. Place the dough in a warm spot to bulk ferment for the next 4 hours. (ideally around 25°C/ 77°F.)
  4. During the first 3 hours, perform 6 sets of stretch and folds in the first three hours, one set every 30 minutes. The dough will start off sloppy but will gain strength and elasticity as the folds go on. See the post for pictures and details.
  1. Cover the dough tightly with compostable plastic wrap or a lid and place in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours, until you are ready to shape. 

Shaping

  1. You can shape the bread in the morning and let it rise during the day, or shape it at night and it can rise at room temperature overnight. See the notes below for more details.
  2. Line two standard 8.5x4.5inch / 21x11cm loaf pans with parchment paper.
  3. When the dough comes from the fridge it will be stiff and cold. Pull it from the bowl onto a floured work surface and split it into 2 equal pieces.
  4. Take a piece of dough and use a rolling pin or your hands to push and stretch the dough into a rectangle. Aim for the width of the rectangle to be nearly the same length as the loaf pan. Roll the rectangle up from the short side, like a swiss roll. Lay the dough in the prepared loaf pan. Repeat with the second piece.
  5. If you are letting it rise during the day, place it in a warm spot for 4-6 hours until doubled in size. Ideally at a temperature of around 25°C/ 77°F.) If you have a cold kitchen, create a humid and warm place by placing the dough into a turned-off oven alongside a bowl of boiled water. Replace the water as needed when it cools down.
  6. Alternatively, shape the dough in the evening and let them rise and double in size overnight at room temperature.

Baking

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400 °F.
  2. Use a pastry brush to brush the top of the dough of each loaf with a little milk.
  3. Bake the loaves for 30-35 minutes until deep golden brown on the top. As the bread bakes, if it is browning too fast, loosely cover it with a sheet of foil. When the bread is removed from the pans it should feel light and sound hollow when the bottom is tapped. The internal temperature of the loaf should be between 88-94°C/190-200°F.
  4. Let it cool on a wire rack before slicing and serving,

Notes

There are two baker's schedules you could follow for this bread.

Option 1

  • Day 1 - 8 am- Feed sourdough starter.
  • 2 pm - Mix the dough
  • 2:20 pm - Bulk ferment
  • 6:30 pm - Cold proof until the morning
  • Day 2 - 8:00 am - Shape, and let the bread rise until doubled in a warm spot, around 4-6 hours.
  • 1 pm - Bake

Option 2

  • The night before - Feed sourdough starter at 1:3:3 ratio (22g starter, 66g flour, 66g water)
  • Day 1 - 9 am. The following morning mix the dough
  • 9:20 am - Bulk ferment
  • 2:30 pm - Cold proof until the evening.
  • 8:30 pm - Shape, rise overnight at room temperature.
  • Day 2 - 8 am - The next morning, bake.

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    Nutrition Information:
    Yield: 12 Serving Size: 12 grams
    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 362Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 13mgSodium: 310mgCarbohydrates: 65gFiber: 3gSugar: 10gProtein: 12g

    FAQs

    Why is my sourdough cinnamon raisin bread not rising?

    This could be due to a variety of factors like a weak sourdough starter, not enough time given for the dough to rise.

    Can I use whole wheat flour for my sourdough cinnamon raisin bread?

    You could sub half the white with wholemeal. However, whole wheat flour absorbs more water than white flour, and the bread may become denser.

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    78 Comments

    1. Thank you so much for this delicious recipe. I think it is my favourite homemade fruit bread recipe yet! Delicious! And our house smells devine too.

    2. If I want to do this in less time can I skip the fridge Rise and do on the bench for 4 hours?

    3. Delicious recipe 😋😋
      Best fruit loaf I have tasted!!
      I have already made this multiple times and always great finding new ways to use my sourdough starter 👍

      1. Hey you can extend the fridge time an extra 12 hours, so around 24 hours in total. Though it may be more sour tasting in the end 😊

    4. Hi, I have done the 40g/80g/80g mix and left for 6 hours but it hasn’t doubled in size, maybe time and a half. And it just smells like flour, not like sour dough starter. Should I use this? Or I have plenty of sourdough starter that is nice and bubbly and floats in water, am I best to use that?

      1. It definitely needs to at least double so it doesn’t sound like your starter is active enough and I would not use it. As for your other starter that is bubbly, I can’t be sure that that will be good for the bread either, as an optimum starter should be able to double at a 1:2:2 fairy easily within 6 hours when kept at room temp (between 20-24 celsius).

    5. This is delightful – soft and lightly sweet. I like that the cinnamon is mixed throughout the dough. My wife, kids and I ate the first loaf before it had a chance to cool.

      This is the fifth recipe of yours that I’ve made and they’ve all turned out just as you’ve described. I’m going to continue working my way through your sourdough recipes.

      Thank you so much for sharing your recipes and knowledge.

    6. Hi, I have just baked this raisin bread and it’s absolutely delicious! Me and my family have loved it. Thank you! 😀

    7. Don’t know what I’m doing wrong my starter doesn’t seem to double I’ve tried numerous times but it just won’t double Help😃

    8. Hi can I use my starter that’s 1:1:1 It’s been used for baking other sourdough breads and its active and doubles in 4-5 hours.
      Thanks.

    9. This is absolutely delicious and so easy! I used the recipe as written except that I made 1 two-pound loaf instead of 2 one-pound loaves. Increased the cooking time to 55 minutes with my oven. Will definitely be making again.

      Looking forward to trying your sourdough hot cross buns recipe next.

    10. I made this sourdough cinnamon raisin bread and it’s so good! Moist and a bit chewy, I just love it! Thank you for posting this recipe. I’ve been trying your recipes and have enjoyed them all! It is my first time making sourdough, I made the starter from you too. It’s been a good experience

      1. Oh that’s awesome Louise! So glad you’ve been enjoying the recipes! 🙂

    11. I halved the recipe to make one loaf. This is so delicious, with a soft crumb. I spread with butter and ate two slices before I realized what I was doing! I will make this again.

    12. Today I doubled the recipe, swapped out the raisins for cranberries and upped the spice amounts with the addition of ginger (which my family really enjoys). We made it a little bit festive for the Xmas season. Thank you for sharing your recipes and knowledge. We have tried almost all your sourdough recipes since the first lockdown here in NZ and they have all been successful thanks to your clear instructions and beautiful photos. Please keep them coming we so enjoy your site! Happy Xmas 😉

      1. Oh yum what great flavours! Thanks so much Kristy, I love hearing that you’re enjoying my recipes! Merry Xmas ☺️

    13. Trying this loaf now, can it be left out overnight to rise? I have the dough made and it’s refrigerating now. I usually let my dough rise at room temp overnight 6-8 hours. Then I follow the same morning instructions you have here when I get up in the morning. I planned to take the dough out and leave it on the counter overnight because I don’t want to interrupt the fermentation process so much that I have to wait much longer tomorrow to bake. I hope this makes sense. Basically, my concern is that the dough has milk in it and I’m afraid to leave it out overnight with milk in it.

      1. Hey it’s fine to leave out even with milk in it, just take care it doesn’t over proof and collapse. 🙂

    14. Absolutely perfect! I used white, whole wheat and spelt. I is delicious! Thanks so much!

    15. Wonderful bread! Thank you for the recipe. As you said, it is enriched just enough to be more than a sourdough and less than a full pastry roll. I cheated a bit and I didn’t want to wait for it so I didn’t do the retard in the fridge. It still had a nice flavor. I normally soak my raisins first, but this bread had enough hydration that they absorbed enough without drying it out. Great balance. I’ll make it again once I have more patience to wait till the next day to bake.

    16. Lovely bread, delicious when toasted. I sliced & froze the other loaf. Perfect to toast from frozen

    17. Baked this today and, wow, so good! I was a little concerned because the dough seemed drier than other sourdough bread I’ve made, but it turned out delicious!

    18. Made this yesterday & it’s delicious.
      Made one big loaf as I didn’t have 2 smaller tins. Cooked in the same amount of time and turned out perfectly!

    19. This was a winner!
      The beautiful aromas of warm cinnamon spice filled my home on a wintery day.

      I added extra raisins because that’s how I like it and I doubled the recipe to make one large loaf as I didn’t have the smaller tins.

    20. I’m a Kiwi living in Canada and after receiving a starter from a friend I jumped right in and tried your recipe. I had a bumpy start (my first starter seemed a little sad so i fed it again the next day and then misread the instructions) but 4 days (😆) later I have just tasted the most delicious cinnamon raisin toast!!!
      Good things take time!

    21. Thanks for the recipe, made this on the weekend and was amazing, fluffy and soft.

      I used sultanas, but when slicing quite a few sultanas kept falling out, maybe I will chop them next time

    22. Do you know how i would make your breads gluten free ? (Using gf flour from scratch not a bought mix ) looks so good

    23. Beautiful bread.Made x2 and so easy to do.I loved the process. Thank you for the recipe…

    24. Is it possible to put in fridge in the morning, remove after only a few hours to bake in the evening?

      1. I wish posting pics here was possible! So happy you loved the bread 😍

    25. Thank you so much for sharing the recipe. It came out perfectly for me. My son finished almost half of the loaf in one sitting. I wish I was able to post a picture.
      Thanks again.

    26. The loaves stuck to the loaf tins, completely destroying them – I’ve never had that happen with sourdough bread before and I use these tins all the time. Should they have been lined? It doesn’t mention that in the recipe.

    27. Made two loaves today and they turned out beautifully!! Absolutely love this recipe and the instructions are very easy to follow 💕

    28. Hi Elien,
      I make your sandwich loaf weekly and its our go to. Im making this raisin loaf now and its looking good, just in its last hour rest before refrigeration.

      Would it matter if I shaped and put in the loaf tins at this stage, let it proof and then put it in the fridge over night to bake in the morning?

      Love your straightforward approach to sourdough making. There is so much complicated stuff out there!

      Thanks
      Robyn

      1. Hey, that should be totally fine! I would let it rise until just under doubled though, maybe 80% risen, and then refrigerate so it doesn’t over proof.
        Thank you!

    29. I’ve made this recipe twice now, perfect every time. The second time round I decided to make one loaf and turn the remainder of the dough into buns, with the addition of orange zest and 1 teaspoon of mixed spice (into the whole dough mixture). An easier option than the Hot Cross Bun recipe. I even glazed the buns with apricot jam. I’ll certainly be making this again for Easter – delicious!

    30. This recipe is amazing! I sprinkled cinnamon on the rolled out dough before spiral rolling, and brushed melted butter on the top crust when I took it out of the oven and placed a tea towel over it to keep the crust soft. Froze one loaf and served the other warm with homemade mint honey butter (1/2 cup softened butter, 4 TBSP chopped fresh mint 4 TBSP honey) and, whooooof, the loaf was gone!

    31. First try and it turned out great! I used almond milk and the texture was totally fine (sometimes when I bake with almond milk the product turns out more crumbly). Anyone have suggestions for adding a slather of a cinnamon mix (maybe cinnamon, butter, brown sugar mix) to the bread after rolling it out and before putting into the loaf pan to rise to create a gooey swirl center? Thanks!

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