There’s something truly special about the aroma of freshly baked bread wafting through the air, filling your home with warmth and comfort. Take that experience to a whole new level by making a delightful raisin loaf with an extra twist: red wine-soaked raisins. This recipe combines the sweetness of raisins, the subtle kick of spices, and the rich flavour of red wine to create a bread that’s perfect for breakfast or as a satisfying snack.
Cinnamon fruit toast is a favourite of my parents and my husband. Honestly, I’ve always despised fruit bread, raisin toast or anything with dried fruit. I just couldn’t get over the taste. That was until I decided to make it myself. I made this recipe for them because I never liked the texture of those store-bought breads. I then experimented with dried cherries and cranberry. With most of my recipes, I aim for versatility and this is no exception. Change it up and let me know your preference!
Why this recipe is amazing
- Bursting with Flavour: The combination of aromatic spices like cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, and clove infuses the bread with a warm and tantalising flavour that will delight your taste buds.
- Sweet and Moist: The brown sugar and wine-soaked raisins add a natural sweetness and moisture to the bread, ensuring each slice is tender and full of delectable goodness.
- Versatility: This raisin bread is incredibly versatile. Try it with different fruit like dried cherries, cranberries, citrus peel etc. Enjoy it as a delicious breakfast option, pair it with your favourite cheese or spread, or transform it into delightful French toast or bread pudding.
- Homemade Goodness: There’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of slicing into a loaf of bread you’ve made from scratch.
What ingredients are needed for Raisin Bread
- Water: Water serves as the liquid component of our dough, hydrating the dry ingredients and activating the yeast. It helps create a soft and pliable dough, resulting in moist and tender bread.
- Instant Yeast: This ingredient is responsible for leavening the dough and giving the bread its light and airy texture. It works quickly and doesn’t require proofing, making it convenient for our recipe.
- Brown Sugar: Brown sugar adds sweetness and depth of flavour to the bread. It complements the spices and balances the tartness of the raisins.
- Bread or Plain Flour: Flour is the main structure-building ingredient in bread. It provides gluten, which gives the bread its structure and chewiness. Bread flour, with its higher protein content, is ideal for achieving a sturdy yet tender crumb.
- Salt: Salt enhances the overall flavour of the bread, balancing the sweetness and bringing out the spices and raisins’ nuances.
- Spices: This blend of aromatic spices creates a warm and comforting flavour profile, infusing the bread with a delightful autumnal essence.
- Butter: Butter enriches the dough, making it tender and adding a buttery flavour. It also helps with the dough’s extensibility and enhances the bread’s keeping qualities.
- Raisins: These dried fruits add bursts of sweetness to every bite. They provide a lovely contrast to the spices and contribute to the bread’s moistness.
- Wine: brings a subtle sweet boozy note to the raisins. It imparts a depth of flavour that harmonises beautifully with the other ingredients.
Setting you up for success – Tips & Tricks
- Activate the Yeast: Dissolve yeast in warm water with brown sugar (around 43°C/110°F). Avoid extreme temperatures to ensure yeast activation.
- Knead the Dough Properly: Knead for 7-9 minutes until smooth and elastic, ensuring the spices and raisins distribute evenly.
- Softened Butter: Use softened butter for easier incorporation and a smoother texture. Let it reach room temperature.
- Soak the Raisins: Soak raisins in the wine mixture until plump and infuse them with rich flavours. Add extra water if necessary.
- Proper Rising Conditions: Choose a warm, draft-free spot. Cover the dough and place it in a warm spot for 1-2 hours at a temperature of around 25°C/ 77°F. Allow dough to double in size during the rising stages.
- Brush with Egg Wash: Enhance the appearance and achieve a crispy, shiny crust with an egg wash. Elevate your homemade raisin bread.
- Cooling and Storage: Cool in pan briefly, then transfer to a wire rack. Store cooled bread in an airtight container or bag at room temperature for freshness.
Is your room too cold?
To create a proofing environment in the microwave with a mug of water, follow these steps:
- Half-fill a heatproof mug/jug with water and place it in the microwave.
- Microwave the water for about 1-2 minutes, or until it becomes hot and steaming. This will create a warm and humid environment inside the microwave.
- Push the mug of hot water to the back of the microwave to create space for the dough.
- Cover your bowl of dough with a clean kitchen towel or cling wrap to trap the heat and moisture.
- Place the covered dough bowl in the microwave alongside the mug of hot water.
- Close the microwave door, but do not turn it on.
- Allow the dough to rise undisturbed in this warm and humid environment.
The hot water in the mug will generate warmth and moisture, simulating the conditions necessary for proper proofing. The enclosed space will help the dough rise more efficiently. Keep in mind that microwaves differ in terms of insulation and temperature control, so it’s important to monitor the dough’s progress. The goal is to provide a warm and draft-free environment to support optimal rising.
If the dough is overly sticky and wet, gradually add small amounts of flour, a tablespoon at a time, while kneading until the dough becomes more manageable. Be cautious not to add too much flour, as it can make the bread dense.
Ensure that your yeast is fresh and active. If the yeast is expired or ineffective, it may not properly rise the bread. Additionally, check the rising conditions. The dough should be placed in a warm, draft-free area for optimal rising. If the room is too cold, consider using a proofing box or preheating your oven slightly and placing the dough inside.
Dense bread may result from insufficient gluten development. Ensure that you knead the dough adequately to develop gluten strands, which provide structure and texture. Additionally, ensure that your yeast is active and that the dough is given sufficient time to rise.
If the top of the bread is browning too quickly or burning, but the inside is not fully baked, tent the loaf with aluminium foil during the last 10-15 minutes of baking. This will prevent further browning while allowing the inside to cook through.
To help prevent the raisins from sinking to the bottom of the loaf during baking, make sure they are evenly distributed in the dough during the folding step. You can also lightly coat the raisins with flour before incorporating them into the dough. This will help them stay suspended in the dough as it rises and bakes.
If you prefer a darker crust on your bread, you can brush the top of the loaf with the egg wash before baking. The egg wash will promote browning and give the bread a desirable golden colour.
Frequently Asked Questions
When I made this dish on our live cooking show, some community members asked:
While brown sugar adds a unique depth of flavour, you can use white sugar as a substitute if necessary. Keep in mind that the bread’s taste and colour may be slightly different, as brown sugar provides a hint of molasses flavour and a darker crust.
Yes, you can replace the wine in this recipe with alternative options to suit your preferences:
Fruit Juice or Liquid: Substitute wine with an equal amount of apple juice, orange juice, or grape juice for sweetness and moisture.
Bourbon Whiskey: Contributes a rich and deep flavour profile to the bread. It adds complexity and enhances the overall taste experience.
Consider the substitute that aligns with your taste preferences and dietary needs. Although the flavour may vary slightly, your raisin bread will still be delicious.
The spices in this recipe contribute to the distinctive flavour profile of the bread. However, if you prefer a milder taste, you can reduce the quantity of spices or omit them altogether. The bread will still be delicious, but it will have a simpler, sweeter flavour.
Yes, you can adapt this recipe for a bread machine. Simply follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the order of ingredients and the dough cycle. Once the dough is ready, proceed with incorporating the soaked raisins, shaping the loaf, and baking as directed in the recipe.
To keep the raisin bread fresh, store it in an airtight container or resealable bag at room temperature for up to 3-4 days. If you anticipate longer storage, you can slice the bread and freeze individual slices in freezer-safe bags for up to 2 months.
Absolutely! Feel free to customise the recipe by adding chopped nuts like walnuts or pecans, or even other dried fruits such as cranberries or chopped dates. Adjust the quantities to your liking and incorporate them into the dough along with the soaked raisins.
Spiced Homemade Raisin Bread
- large bowl or stand mixer
- loaf tin lined with baking paper
- 135 g (1 cups) raisins or sultanas
- 62 mls (¼ cup) red wine
- 50 g (¼ cups) brown sugar
- 82 mls (⅓ mls) water
- 300 g (1.20 cup) water warmed
- 6 g (2 tsp) instant yeast
- 135 g (⅔ cups) brown sugar
- 465 g (3.1 cup) bread or plain flour
- 5½ g (1 tsp) salt
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp ground allspice
- ½ tsp ground cardamom
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- ¼ tsp ground clove
- 65 g (½ cup) lightly salted butter softened
- 1 egg whisked
Make the dried fruit mix
- Place dried fruit, wine, sugar and water into a small saucepan. Place on low heat, (covered if possible) and simmer until fruit is plump and a majority of the liquid is absorbed. Set aside to cool completely.
Make the dough
- In a large bowl, add the water, yeast, and sugar. Let the mixture stand for 5 minutes for the yeast to activate.
- Add flour, salt and spices then stir until combined. I like to use a chopstick to stir, but a spatula or spoon will do. The dough will be a little scraggy but cover and set aside for 30 minutes to allow the flour to hydrate.
Mixer Method (see notes for makign without a mixer)
- Using the stand mixer and dough hook, knead the dough on medium speed until it is smooth and elastic. The dough will be sticky but be patient, it may take 7-9 minutes but the dough will start to clean the sides of the bowl when stretched thin, it should become see-through without breaking. This is called the window-pane test.
- Add the butter and fruit mixture and continue to knead as it incorporates, and becomes silky and smooth for about 3-4 minutes. Set dough aside at room temp, covered until it doubles in size.
- Take the dough and use your hands or a rolling pin to stretch it 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.
- Cover the tin and allow the dough to rise and double in size. Place it in a warm spot for 1-2 hours at a temperature of around 25°C/ 77°F. See the tip above for proofing in an empty microwave.
- Once it has nearly risen to the right size, preheat the oven to 180°C/350 °F.
- Use a pastry brush to liberally brush the loaf with egg wash. This will help create a nice shiny crust.
- Bake the loaves for 30-35 minutes until a deep golden brown colour on the top. If you notice the bread browning too quickly, gently cover it with aluminum foil to prevent over-browning. Once baked, the loaf should feel light and produce a hollow sound when tapped on the bottom. To ensure it's fully cooked, check that the internal temperature reads between 88-94°C/190-200°F using a thermometer.
- Remove the loaf from the tin and allow it cool on a wire rack before slicing and serving. Best served toasted with slather of butter.
Every 10 minutes do stretches and folds. Use your hand (wet lightly with water) to take one edge of the dough, stretch it upwards, and then fold it toward the centre of the bowl. Turn the bowl and repeat until all of the dough has been stretched. Cover then repeat this process 3- 4 more times with a 15-minute break between each. You’ll know when the S&Fs are finished when the dough completes the ‘window pane test’- when the dough is stretched thin and becomes see-through without breaking.
Spread the butter over the dough and continue to do 1-2 rounds of stretch and folds until it incorporates, becoming silky and smooth. If making multiple flavours divide the dough now, place it into separate bowls and fold in desired mix-ins. If making 1 flavour, add mixins with butter.
Set dough aside at room temp, covered until it doubles in size.
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
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Former operating room Nurse and self-taught home cook + IT Engineer passionate about Approachable, No-Nonsense recipes to help you level up in the kitchen. We create simplified dishes for busy people with easy-to-find ingredients!
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