I call this braided loaf “Tunnels of Cinnamon” bread for the beautiful tunnels of brown sugar and cinnamon inside the braids. Use moist raisins. If your raisins are dry, soak them in boiling water for 5-10 minutes, then drain and blot. Have all your ingredients at room temperature and ALWAYS AERATE YOUR FLOUR BEFORE MEASURING. - Jenny Jones
- 2 cups bread flour (all purpose flour works too)
- 1 packet (2 tsp./7 gms) yeast - instant or active dry
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup milk (I use 1% or 2% low fat milk) heated to 120-130° F for instant yeast (or 110-120°F for active dry)
- 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 egg
- 1 cup moist golden raisins (I use Sun-Maid)
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup additional flour
- 2 Tablespoons softened butter or transfat-free margarine
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
- Egg wash: 1 egg yolk + 1 teaspoon water
- Glaze: 1 cup powdered sugar + about 2 Tablespoons milk
- Combine flour, yeast, sugar & salt in a mixing bowl.
- Add warm milk followed by oil and egg.
- Beat with electric mixer on medium-high for 2 minutes.
- Stir in raisins and enough flour to form a mass.
- Transfer to a floured surface and knead 100 turns.
- Cover dough and let it rest for 10 minutes.
- Meantime, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and combine brown sugar & cinnamon in a bowl.
- Roll dough into 9 x 12-inch rectangle. Cut into three 3 x 12-inch strips.
- Spread butter down the center of each strip. Top the butter with narrow rows of the brown sugar mix, keeping away from the edges.
- Pinch the strips closed, moistening the long edges if needed to stick. Go over sealed edges with floured hands to make three sealed ropes with filling inside.
- Form into a braid, tucking in edges. Place on baking sheet. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm spot for 1 to 1 1/2 hours 'til double in size.
- Brush loaf with egg wash. Bake in preheated oven at 375° F for 25 minutes. If needed, cover with a foil tent the last 10 minutes to prevent over-browning.
- Let rest 10 minutes and top with glaze.