Cinnamon Swirl Raisin Bread (Whole Wheat, Vegan)

Way back when raisins came in small, square boxes in my barney-purple lunch bag, when "kneading" meant Play-Doh time, and the word wheat rhymed with sweets, I loved unpacking groceries to find a small loaf of raisin bread wrapped in opaque, red plastic. You know which bread I'm speaking of, right? That almost Wonder Bread-kind-of-soft Sun Maid cinnamon swirl raisin bread. Toasted lightly, buttered generously, and devoured 30 minutes before the bell rang for 5th grade homeroom.

I'm not here to pick apart ingredient lists or tell you what you should or should not eat for breakfast, because that would just be a little overdone. Truthfully, I would get a little bored writing about it. If the words I just typed have disappointed you in any way, I'm sure Google would love to educate you (I say that with absolutely no sarcasm, I swear). 

I must admit that I enjoyed a piece of Sun Maid raisin bread (hold the butter) a few months back. I also still make small figures out of Play-Doh every now and again. I could trail off into this subject, but I will spare you the fine details about how I obsessed over making food items with various kid-friendly extruders and very not-food-like-at-all colors. 

My palate has developed since grade school and so has the meaning of the word "knead." I believe these changes indicate that I am (kind of?) an adult, or at least a a twenty-year-old with a baking talent used for good, not evil. If that was not direct enough, I've just whipped up an adult ("healthy," if you will) version of the raisin bread we all know and love, and sweet mother of Play-Doh, it is good. 

Here's the recipe:

Cinnamon Swirl Raisin Bread (Whole Wheat, Vegan)
Adapted from: The Fresh Loaf
Yield: 1 Loaf 

Total rise time: 3.5 hours
Total bake time: 40-45 minutes 

- 1.8 oz. rolled oats 
- 4.7 oz hot water for soaking

- 3.5 oz. raisins 
- hot water for soaking 

- 2 oz. warm water (at 105-110 degrees F)
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup 
- 1-1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast

- 7 oz. white whole wheat flour 
- 3 oz. unbleached all-purpose flour 
- 1 teaspoon salt 
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 
- 0.8 oz. pure maple syrup 
- 0.8 oz. olive oil 
- 1.75 oz. unsweetened non-dairy milk 

- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1-1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon 

  1. In a medium bowl, soak the rolled oats in 4.7 oz. hot water. In a separate bowl, submerge the raisins in hot water to rehydrate. Allow 30-45 minutes to soak before beginning the mixing process. 
  2. Combine 2 oz. warm water with the maple syrup. Sprinkle yeast over the top and stir gently with a fork. Let the yeast rest without stirring for 10 minutes. 
  3. Meanwhile, combine the flours, salt, cinnamon, maple syrup, olive oil, milk, and oats in a large mixing bowl. When the yeast is activated, add it to the flour mixture. Knead the dough for 10 minutes by hand or 5 minutes in a stand mixer. Drain the soaked raisins and mix it into the dough. Clean and dry the mixing bowl and grease it with olive oil. Form the dough into a round and place it in the greased bowl. Cover with a damp dish towel and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour. 
  4. After 1 hour, the dough should have doubled in size. Punch down the dough to degas and fold the outer edge into the center of the dough 3 times, rotating the bowl 90 degrees after each fold.  Form the dough back into a round and re-cover. Let rise in a warm place for 1 additional hour. 
  5. Make cinnamon sugar by stirring the brown sugar and cinnamon together. Grease a loaf pan with olive oil. 
  6. Dust a surface lightly with all-purpose flour and remove the dough onto the floured surface. Press the dough into a rectangle and spread the cinnamon sugar over the top, pressing down lightly. Roll the dough up tightly beginning and ending with the short sides of the rectangle. Pinch the end of the dough to seal and place the seam of the load on the bottom of the loaf pan. Brush the top of the loaf with water and sprinkle on rolled oats. Cover the pan with the damp towel and let rise for 90 minutes or until the dough rises over the rim of the pan. 
  7. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place the bread in the oven and bake for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, lower the oven to 375 degrees. Continue baking for 35-40 minutes, rotating the pan after 20 minutes of baking. When the bread reaches an internal temperature of 185 degrees, it is finished baking! Remove from the pan immediately and place on a wire rack. Let cool completely before slicing. *Ps: This bread is best when served toasted...or french-toasted. 


  1. This is great! I love cinnamon swirl bread.

  2. This bread looks amazing! Love cinnamon swirl bread, and your vegan version is great

  3. Hi, I read the recipe a couple of times... and I don't see when you add the raisins and whether you drain their soaking liquid or not when you add them. Let me know if I am missing or overlooking where you have this step. I am assuming by looking at the pictures that you add them after kneading and before all the rising... I am plunging ahead and hoping for the best as I've already started...

    1. Hi! Apologies on my lack of clarity about the raisins. I'll be sure to fix this immediately!

      As for the soaking liquid - you will need to drain it before adding them. Additionally, you are correct in mixing in the raisins after kneading and before rising.

      Please let me know how your bread turned out! :)

  4. Hi, thanks for your reply! Unfortunately, my loaf did not rise in the oven (it raised very well the first two times and the third rise not as much and zero oven rise) So the texture ended up being more like a quick bread than a yeasted bread. The cinnamon swirl "melted" into the dough and I found it a bit salty. Oh well :( I'll eat it toasted.


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Maira Gall