The aroma of this classic breakfast bread wafting from the oven will get anyone out of bed in the morning. Try to wait for 30 minutes or so before slicing it, as the cooling period allows the flavors to bloom. After that, cut a slice, slather it with butter, and savor that first amazing bite.
Cinnamon-Raisin-Swirl Breakfast Loaf
1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml.) whole milk
1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g.) sugar
4 Tbs. (2 oz./60 g.) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus 2 tablespoons melted butter for brushing
1 package (2 1/4 tsp.) quick-rise yeast
3 cups (15 oz./470 g.) bread flour, or as needed
1 tsp. fine sea salt
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 cup (3 oz./90 g.) raisins
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml.) cold water, the milk, 1/4 cup (2 oz./60 g.) of the sugar, the 4 tablespoons room temperature butter, and the yeast. Add 2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 oz./390 g.) of the flour and the salt. With the mixer on medium-low speed, add enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough that does not stick to the bowl. Remove the paddle attachment and fit the stand mixer with the dough hook attachment. Knead the dough on medium-low speed, adding more flour if needed, until the dough is smooth but still soft, 6-7 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball.
Lightly butter a large bowl. Add the dough and turn to coat with the butter. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm spot until it doubles in bulk, 1 1/4-1 1/2 hours.
Lightly butter a 9-by-5-inch (23-by-13-cm.) loaf pan. Punch down the dough and turn out onto a floured work surface. Dust the top of the dough with flour. Roll out into a 9-inch (23-cm.) square. In a small bowl, mix together the cinnamon, raisins and remaining 1/4 cup (2 oz./60 g.) sugar. Sprinkle evenly over the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch (12-mm.) border around all sides. Roll up the dough into a log and pinch the seam to seal. Transfer to the loaf pan, seam side down, and lightly press the top of the dough to evenly fill the pan. Loosely cover with plastic wrap. Let stand in a warm spot until the dough rises to the top of the pan, about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Brush the loaf gently with the melted butter. Bake until the top of the loaf is golden brown and the bottom, when the loaf is carefully removed from the pan, sounds hollow when rapped on the bottom with your knuckles, 35-40 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Invert onto the rack, then invert again and let cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing.
Find more great recipes for sunrise specialties in our book Williams-Sonoma Breakfast Comforts, by Rick Rodgers.