Make the dough:
Put the raisins in a small bowl and add enough hot tap water to cover them. Let sit for 5 minutes; drain and set aside.
Lightly oil a large bowl. In a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour, 2 Tbs. each of the sugar and cinnamon, the yeast, and salt. Combine on low speed, about 1 minute. Add the milk, egg, 3 Tbs. of the butter, and 3/4 cup room temperature water; mix on medium speed, scraping the bowl as necessary, until the dough comes together, about 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium high and continue to mix until the dough is smooth, slightly sticky, and clinging to the hook, about 5 minutes. Scrape down the dough hook with your hand, and remove the bowl. Gently knead in the raisins by hand, just until incorporated.
Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface, roll it into a ball, and put it in the oiled bowl. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature until the dough looks slightly puffy, about 30 minutes.
On a well-floured surface, use your hands to flatten and spread the dough out until it’s about 3/4 inch thick. Fold the dough in half from top to bottom, then in half again from left to right. Return the dough to the bowl, cover, and let sit until it has risen slightly, about 30 minutes more.
Shape and bake:
Generously grease two 8-1/2x4-1/2-inch loaf pans with butter. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 4 Tbs. each cinnamon and sugar; set aside. In a small saucepan over low heat (or in a bowl in the microwave), melt 2 Tbs. of the butter; set aside.
On a lightly floured surface, divide the dough in half and use a rolling pin to shape each half into an 8-1/2x16-inch rectangle that's 1/4 inch thick. Use a pastry brush to spread the melted butter on the dough. Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture evenly over both rectangles.
Starting from the short side, gently roll each rectangle into an 8-1/2-inch-long cylinder. Put the cylinders in the pans, seam side down. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let rest at room temperature until the dough has risen slightly and springs back when pressed lightly, 1 to 1-1/2 hours.
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F. Bake the loaves, rotating and swapping the positions of the pans halfway through baking, until dark brown and hollow-sounding when thumped on top and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of the loaves registers about 190°F, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer the loaves in their pans to a rack.
In a small saucepan over low heat (or in a bowl in the microwave), melt the remaining 2 Tbs. butter. Brush the top of each loaf with the butter.
When cool enough to handle, remove the loaves from the pans.
Make Ahead Tips
To have freshly-baked loaves in the morning, make and shape the loaves the night before, cover them loosely with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, let them sit at room temperature for about 1 hour to finish their rise before baking.
The bread will keep in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Let the loaves cool completely before storing them.
nutrition information (per serving):
3, Fat Calories
30, Saturated Fat
2, Monounsaturated Fat
23, Polyunsaturated Fat
Photo: Scott Phillips
We’re glad many of you have enjoyed this recipe. The amount of cinnamon is correct, but to clarify a bit: There are 6 Tbs. cinnamon total, for two loaves. Two Tbs. go into the dough; the remaining 4 Tbs. get divided between the filling for the two loaves, so the filling for each loaf has 2 Tbs. cinnamon total. Hope that helps.