Cinnamon Raisin Swirl

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Artisan Sourdough Made Simple: A Beginner's Guide to Delicious Handcrafted Bread with Minimal KneadingWhen I was a kid, my favorite school lunch was cinnamon raisin bread with cream cheese, no crust. This sourdough version is a delightful upgrade and will please both grown-ups and kids alike. Plump raisins and walnuts are added for texture and crunch, and the loaf will make your whole house smell warm and cozy while it bakes.

About the Dough: To create a good swirl, you’ll need to stretch the dough into a long, thin rectangle. The longer the rectangle, the more swirls will form in the loaf. It doesn’t have to look perfect, but the idea is to keep the cinnamon tucked inside so it doesn’t seep out when baked.

  • Yield: 1 Loaf


  • ¼ cup (50 g) bubbly, active starter
  • 1½ cups 1 tsp (365 g) plus 1 tsp) warm water
  • 4 cups (480 g) bread flour
  • 0.25 cup (20 g) scant whole wheat flour
  • 9 g (1½ tsp) fine sea salt
  • 0.33 cup (65 g) raisins
  • ½ cup (65 g) walnuts
  • ¼ cup (50 g) sugar
  • 2 tsp (6 g) cinnamon
How to Make It
  1. A few days before baking, feed your starter until bubbly and active. Store at room temperature until ready to use.
  2. Make The Dough
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the starter and water together with a fork. Add the flours and salt. Cover with a damp towel and let rest for 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on your schedule. Replenish your starter with fresh flour and water, and store according to preference.
  4. Meanwhile, while the dough is resting, soak the raisins and walnuts in just enough warm water to cover. Drain well before using.
  5. Add the Fillings
  6. Add the raisins and nuts to the bowl. Gently knead the fillings into the dough to incorporate, about 1 minute. The dough will start to feel slightly sticky at this point; add a sprinkle of flour to adjust the consistency.
  7. Bulk Risk
  8. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let rise at room temperature, 70°F (21°C), until double in size, about 8 to 10 hours.
  9. Shape and Assemble
  10. Remove the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes. A longer rest at this stage will relax the dough, making it easier to stretch into a rectangle. Line a 10-inch (25-cm) oval proofing basket with a towel and dust with flour. Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside.
  11. With floured hands gently stretch the dough into a long rectangle, about 16 × 8 inches (40 × 20 cm). Lightly brush the surface of the dough with water. Then evenly sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture over the top, leaving a 2-inch (5-cm) border at the top and bottom edge and a 1-inch (2.5-cm) border around the sides. With the short end facing you, roll the dough into a log, pinching the ends to seal. Place it into the basket, seam side up.
  12. Second Rise
  13. Cover the dough, and let rest until puffy but not fully risen, about 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  14. Preheat your oven to 450°F (230°C). Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the size of your baking pot.
  15. Score
  16. Place the parchment over the dough and invert the basket to release. Rub the surface with flour. Using the tip of a small knife or razor blade, make 2 to 3 diagonal cuts, keeping the depth very shallow to preserve the filling. Use the parchment to transfer the dough into the baking pot.
  17. Bake
  18. Bake the dough on the center rack for 20 minutes, covered. Remove the lid, and continue to bake for 40 minutes. When finished, remove the loaf to a wire rack and cool for 1 hour before slicing.
  19. To maximize freshness, store this loaf in a plastic bag at room temperature for up to 1 day.

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