The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread

sharonj1961's picture

Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread

I am a newbie bread baker and have been working to perfect Peter Reinhart's Cinnamon Swirl Raisin bread.  Although the taste is great, it never fails that after the bread is baked, there is a big air gap inside and at the top of the loaf.  I've tried rolling the dough tighter once I sprinkle on the cinnamon / sugar mixture on and have even rolled the formed loaf back and forth on the floured surface thinking that it would compress the layers together.  Still fairly large gaps.  What am I doing wrong ??

breadmantalking's picture

There are potentially a couple of reasons you are getting the air gaps. It could be you use too much yeast and the bread rises too quickly, especially the 'bounce' it gets when you put it in the oven. This is like a pita bread that puffs open in a very hot oven. Or it could be it rises too long and the air is trapped in the bread forming bubbles. Either way you can alleviate the problem by slashing the bread (about 1/4 in. deep) just before placing in the oven. Slash the bread quickly and use a very sharp knife so the dough is cut and not torn. Also, if the dough is torn you run the risk of letting ALL the gas out, deflating the bread entirely and producing a brick. The slashing will release the gas, and also not allow gas to be trapped under the surface while baking. Let me know how it turns out.


David at:

supersonix's picture

is to spray and mist the dough with water both before and after adding the cinnamon sugar layer.  I find the wetter the sugar layer is, it adheres better to the top layer of the dough, thus preventing the air gap.  Hope that helps!

pmccool's picture

paint the dough with a lightly beaten egg white before spreading the cinnamon sugar.  The egg white acts as a glue, binding the cinnamon sugar in place and is entirely invisible in the finished bread.


wwiiggggiinnss's picture
wwiiggggiinnss (not verified)

I had this problem with a different bread (PeterR's potato rosemary).

The solution: Make sure the bread proofed seam-side down (upside down), and bake it right side up.

Not sure why this solves the problem, but maybe yeast gases bubble to the top of the loaf (because of inadequate mixing) and are trapped by the tight outer skin (and baking it as such just expands the gas bubble)?

(It's certainly a disappointment to think you've achieved major oven spring when all you've done is made a balloon!)

RachelJ's picture

Could you post the recipe and see if anyone else has this problem?

Cooking_1st Love's picture
Cooking_1st Love

I was wondering if it wasn't much trouble if you could post the recipe if you really don't mind I would be so greatful. Thank you!!!

sharonj1961's picture

Thanks so much to all who responded with great suggestions.  I am most intrigued by the idea of turning the proofed loaf upside down before baking.  But I also think I might be over-proofing the formed loaf.  (I seem to be obsessed with watching the dough grow and grow before my eyes.)  Since this recipe makes two loaves, I will try the upside down method and the moistening of the dough before and after adding the cinnamon / sugar filling.  Below is the recipe I am using: 


Makes 2 Loaves

 3.5 Cups        (16 oz.)  Unbleached Bread Flour

 4 Tsp              (.66 oz)  Granulated Sugar

 1 ¼ Tsp          (.31 oz.) Salt

 2 Tsp              (.22 oz)  Instant Yeast or

2.5 Tsp           (.27 oz)  Active Dry Yeast

 ¾ Cup            (6 oz.)     Water

 1 ¼ Tsp.         (.16 oz)  Ground Cinnamon

 1 Large          (1.65 oz.)Egg, slightly beaten

 2 Tbs              (1 oz)      Shortening, melted or at room temperature

 ½ Cup            (4 oz)      Buttermilk or whole milk, at room temperature

 1 ½ Cups       (9 oz)      Raisins, rinsed and drained

 1 Cup             (4 oz)      Chopped Walnuts


Stir together flour, sugar, salt and cinnamon in a mixing bowl.  Add the egg, shortening, buttermilk and fermented yeast.  Stir together with a large spoon (or mix on low speed with the paddle attachment) until the ingredients come together and form a ball.  Adjust with flour or water if the dough seems too sticky or too dry and stiff.

 Sprinkle flour on a counter, transfer the dough to the counter, and begin kneading (or mixing on medium speed, switching to the dough hook).  The dough should be soft and pliable, tacky but not sticky.  Add flour as you knead (or mix), if necessary, to achieve this texture.  Knead by hand for approximately 10 minutes (or by machine for 6 to 8 minutes).  Sprinkle in the raisins and walnuts during the final 2 minutes of kneading (or mixing) to distribute them evenly and to avoid crushing them too much.  (If you are mixing by machine, you may have to finish kneading by hand to distribute the raisins and walnuts evenly.)  The dough should register 77 to 81 degrees F.  Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it to coat it with oil.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

Proof at room temperature for approximately 2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size.

 Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces and form them into loaves.  Place each loaf in a lightly oiled 8 ½ by 4 ½" pan, mist the tops with spray oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap.

 Proof at room temperature for 60 to 90 minutes, or until the dough crests above the lips of the pans and is nearly doubled in size.

 Preheat the oven to 350 F with the oven rack on the middle shelf.  Place the loaf pans on a sheet pan, making sure they are not touching each other.

Bake the loaves for 20 minutes.  Rotate the pan 180 degrees for even baking and continue baking for another 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the oven.  The finished breads should register 190 F in the center and be golden brown on top and lightly golden on the sides and bottom.  They should make a hollow sound when thumped on the bottom.

 Immediately remove the breads from their pans and cool on a rack for at least 1 hour, preferably 2 hours, before slicing and serving.


 Add a Cinnamon Swirl - Make cinnamon sugar by stirring together ½ cup granulated sugar and 2 Tbs. ground cinnamon.  After dividing the dough into 2 equal pieces, roll out each piece with  a rolling pin to a rectangle 5" wide by 8" long and approximately 1/3" thick.  Sprinkle cinnamon sugar over the surface of the rectangles and then roll up the dough into a tight sandwich style loaf, pinching the seam closed with your fingers.  When you slice the baked bread, there will be a cinnamon swirl that not only looks pretty, but will also add additional cinnamon-sugar flavor.

Cinnamon sugar topping - Brush the tops of the baked loaves with melted butter as soon as they come out of the bread pans.  Then roll them in the cinnamon sugar.  When the bread cools, the top will have an additional sweet and crunchy flavor burst.