It’s the time of year when once again I attempt to capture the fall season in the food that I make. Most of the other food blogs I follow have started posting their autumn recipes, and honestly I don’t feel like hopping on the wagon this year. The weather here in Manila has been it’s usual hot self, with bouts of insanely heavy and angry thunderstorms–it literally sounds like the gods are bowling up there!– scattered in between.
Normally, entering the -ber months, the weather would also start to cool down and feel as close to autumn as it can get in a tropical country. Not this year. Which is why getting into the fall mood hasn’t been easy for me. It might be raining every once in a while but we’re still in a perennial summer. So as it is with us living here in Manila, today is merely a warm sunny Friday with strong chances of thunderstorms. But it is Friday, which makes it a good a time as any to bring out the booze.
For making this Rum Raisin Cinnamon Swirl Bread recipe, of course!
It’s funny how much I used to feel, well, nothing for raisins before. I didn’t hate it, but I did make a habit out of picking it out of my food. After getting a taste of raisins WITH rum, my habits have certainly changed. I’ve even made ice cream out of the rum and raisin combo– one of the all-time favourites around here for sure! Granted I still prefer the shrivelled critters drenched in rum, I’m no longer as unforgiving when it comes to raisins as I had been before.
But ahhh cinnamon. What would life be like without it seriously? There would be no cinnamon rolls or cinnamon bread. No cinnamon covered pretzels. Oh my gosh the horrors of even imagining such things!!!
I say this without reservation after making, I believe, three versions of cinnamon breads, including my first cinnamon rolls and some awesome cinnamon rolls with bacon. I’ve made a Martha Stewart version and a Dorie Greenspan version of cinnamon swirl bread loaves too, but truth be told as yummy as they were, neither of them were as good as this. If there’s a version of cinnamon-raisin swirled bread you are going to make, let this be it!
You start out with prepping your rum raisins of course. Basically just heat up some rum and let your raisins soak it up for a few hours until they’re nice and plump.
Around an hour before the end of the soaking period, you can start your dough. It’s just a sweetened enriched dough with a good amount of cinnamon in it for added measure. It comes together really easily too, and I found it super easy to handle. You don’t even really need to flour your work surface as you roll this out.
Now it’s just a matter of doing the same old things you normally would for a cinnamon swirl bread. Actually you can even turn this into cinnamon rolls if you want. Roll it up and cut it into rounds, then place on a baking sheet side by side (or a muffin tin if you want). Then just let it rise for half an hour before baking.
The best thing about this bread is that added fruitiness to the filling. Not only is it rum raisin-ed, the cinnamon sugar filling itself has some orange zest in it that pretty much binds the whole thing together. Orange zest complements the cinnamon as well as the rum and raisins so well. It’s definitely not something you want to omit. Not to mention it makes the filling smell so heavenly!
Rum Raisin Cinnamon Swirl Bread
Makes two 9x5-inch loaves
For the rum raisins
- 1 cup raisins
- ¾ cup dark rum
For the dough
- 1 cup warm whole milk, 100 to 105°F
- ¼ cup + 2 teaspoons granulated sugar, divided use
- 2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 large eggs, lightly whisked
For the cinnamon sugar filling
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- ¾ cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons orange zest
For the Egg Wash
- 1 large egg
- 1 ½ teaspoons water
Prepare the raisins
- 1. Heat rum in a small saucepan until it begins to simmer. Meanwhile, place raisins in a medium bowl. Once rum is simmering, remove from heat and pour over raisins. Let sit for 2 to 3 hours, until rum has cooled to room temperature and raisins have plumped up. Strain raisins and discard rum. Set aside.
Make the dough
- 2. Place warm milk in the bowl of your stand mixer, then sprinkle 2 teaspoons sugar, and active dry yeast on top. Stir to combine. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes until yeast has activated and mixture is foamy.
- 3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, and sea salt. Set aside.
- 4. In the mixer bowl with the foamy yeast, add the cooled melted butter and lightly whisked eggs. Now place the bowl on your stand mixer and attach the dough hook.
- 5. With the mixer running on low speed, add the flour mixture in three additions. Once all the flour add been added, increase speed to medium. Continue to knead until dough comes together; pulling away from the sides of bowl to form a smooth and elastic dough.
- 6. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let dough rise in a warm area for 1 hour.
A few minutes before end of rising time, make the filling
- 7. In a small bowl, combine softened butter, dark brown sugar, cinnamon, and orange zest until a smooth paste is formed.
Assemble the bread
- 8. Once dough has risen, punch down and divide the dough into two equal parts. Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll dough into a rectangle about 9"x13" in size.
- 9. Spread half of the cinnamon filling over the dough, then scatter half of the rum raisins all over the surface of the dough. Using your finger, gently press raisins into the dough.
- 10. Beginning from the short end of the rectangle, roll up the dough tightly and pinch the seams together. Tuck the ends of the roll on the same side as the seams. Place loaf seam side down in a lightly greased 9x5-inch loaf pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes. Repeat with the other half of dough.
- 11. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Whisk together ingredients for egg wash.
- 12. Once the breads have risen a second time, brush egg wash all over the top of the loaves. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until tops are golden brown. (If you want to ensure doneness, the internal temperature of the bread should be above 185°F/85°C on a kitchen thermometer.)
- 13. Let bread cool in pan for 5 minutes before unmoulding onto a wire rack. Cool the bread to room temperature before slicing.
By the way, if you’re wondering about that book I have in the background, it is actually the first book in the Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson. The first book was so epic it has become one of my favourite high fantasy books ever! The second book isn’t as good, and I’m still reading the third book, but it’s a pretty solid series. What will you guys be reading this month? Just curious! 🙂