Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Brown Sugar-Raisin Bread (Williams-Sonoma)

Imagine... living in a world with no friends?

Sad and lonely?... I can and can't imagine.

Like most people, these brown-sugar-raisin breads need friends... I mean friends like brown sugar and raisins. - LOL!

This brown sugar-raisin bread recipe from William Sonoma Baking Book is suggested by my baking friend, Joyce from Kitchen Flavours for our bake-along with another baking friends, Lena from Frozen wings. For this bake-along, I have baked this recipe into two versions: 1) miniature brown sugar-raisin bread rolls and 2) a simple loaf with just brown sugar swirl.

Interestingly, I have found that the bread base itself from this recipe can't live on its own. Its life without raisins and brown sugar seems dry, sad and boring. Although this bread base is spongy, it requires the additional moisture and taste from brown sugar and raisins to complete and express out its best texture and taste.

You will see what I mean about friends... Like I said, my life is good because I have friends :)

My miniature brown sugar-raisin bread rolls
Shaping a loaf with just brown sugar swirl
This brown sugar bread looks and smells good...
... but it needs more "friends" :)
This classic brown sugar-raisin combination works the best!
My brown sugar loaf with a nice beautiful glow plus...
... pretty brown sugar swirl and spongy texture but ...
... it is never as good as these brown sugar-raisins rolls!

Here's the recipe from William Sonoma baking book or this
(with my notes and modification in blue)

Makes two 9-by-5-inch loaves

1 tbsp active dry yeast
3 tbsp granulated sugar
1 1⁄4 cups warm water (105° to 115°F)
1 cup warm milk (105° to 115°F)
(for half amount, replaced with 17g milk powder and same amount of water)
3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
(I used softened)
1 tbsp salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
6 to 6 1⁄4 cups bread flour, plus more as needed
(for half amount, I used 450g bread flour)
3⁄4 cup golden raisins*
3⁄4 cup dark raisins*

For the filling:
2⁄3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar mixed with 4 1⁄2 tsp. ground cinnamon*

In a bowl, sprinkle the yeast and a pinch of the granulated sugar over 1⁄2 cup of the water and stir to dissolve. Let stand until foamy, about 10 mins.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, combine the remaining 3/4 cup water, the milk, butter, the remaining granulated sugar, salt, egg and 2 cups of the flour. Beat on medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Add the yeast mixture and 1⁄2 cup of the flour and beat for 1 minute. Add the raisins, then beat in the remaining flour, 1⁄2 cup at a time, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

Switch to the dough hook. Knead on medium-low speed, adding flour 1 tbsp at a time if the dough sticks, until smooth and elastic, about 4 minutes. Transfer the dough to a greased deep bowl and turn to coat it. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, 1 to 1 1⁄2 hours.

Instead of using an electric mixer, I've placed all my ingredients (except raisins and brown sugar fillings) into my bread-maker and use "dough" setting to knead and prove the bread dough for 1 hr. I didn't use any warm or scalded milk and replaced it with milk powder plus water instead. 

Lightly grease two 9-by-5-inch loaf pans*.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board. Divide the dough in half and roll or pat each half into an 8-by-12-inch rectangle. Lightly sprinkle each rectangle with half of the filling, leaving a 1-inch border on all sides. Beginning at a narrow end, tightly roll up each rectangle into a compact log. Pinch the ends and the long seam to seal in the filling. (I had to trim off the excess edges to fit into my 10cm x 20cm loaf tin.) Place each log, seam side down, in a prepared pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until the dough is about 1 inch above the rim of each pan, 1 to 1 1⁄2 hrs.

Preheat an oven to 350°F (or 160°C fan forced). Bake until the loaves are golden brown and pull away from the sides of the pan, 35 to 40 mins. Turn the loaves out onto wire racks and let cool completely.

* I have made the bread dough using half the amount recipe. After proving, I have rolled and shaped 2/3 of my bread dough to make the brown sugar swirl bread with 40g light brown sugar + 1 tsp ground cinnamon fillings in a 10 x 20cm loaf

I mixed in 1/4 cup of raisins into the remaining 1/3 of my bread dough and divided it into 4 portions. Each portion was roughly rolled and sprinkled with 5g light brown sugar and further shaped like mini Swiss roll. All breads were proved for another hour, were applied with egg wash and baked at 160°C fan forced for 35 mins (loaf) and 15 mins (rolls).

Happy Baking
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Please note that the linky tool for bake-along is no longer available.


  1. Wow the texture does look good! I love the marriage of brown sugar and raisin... U r so right they go so well together

  2. Ya, the ones with raisins looks better although the plain ones would make a better toast which is also delicious:)

  3. Oh yes! I agree that with raisins it's su much better :D

  4. i tend to agree that if is just on it plain base, it is not a very ideal loaf..the filling is quite delicious and i love the addition of raisins!

  5. I can just taste that bread!! Your pics are lovely, as usual! Do you have Williams-Sonoma in Australia? It's such a fun store to shop in!

  6. Hi Zoe,
    The texture of these raisin rolls looks soft. Agreed that brown sugar and raisin are good friends. They makes the bread full of flavor too!

  7. Love both versions, might just bake this next couple of days!

  8. I love the mini rolls, they look pretty with so many raisins on the crust, yummy!

  9. OMG! thats a super yummy bread. I have made pull apart bread of this kind in thepast & loved it. Your pics look so beautiful & love these baked goodies

  10. Prefect swirls and wonderful looking bread, irresistible.

  11. Bread needs friends and the more we do.
    Lovely bread.

  12. Zoe, love your bread and also love this month theme " brown sugar raisin bread". wish to join if i have time :)

  13. HI Zoe, Lena did mention that it is a better idea to make this in a smaller loaf, you genius, haha!

  14. New recipe of bread, I gonna try it ! hahaha...

  15. You are so right - life is always better with friends even if it is only a couple of raisins and brown sugar :-)

  16. Hi Zoe,
    I love raisins in breads, and it definitely works for this bread! :)

  17. I have many Williams-Sonoma cookbooks. Love the recipes in them and I get lots of inspiration from their dishes. Since I Cook On A Budget I find myself being able to replace less expensive ingredients.
    Your bread looks entirely yummy! Have a great day Zoe.

  18. Oh my goodness, this raisin bread looks fantastic! Hehe, I love the sound of brown sugar and raisins here - definitely great friends to have :) Thanks for sharing Zoe!

  19. Looks very tempting. You can't go wrong with those flavours in bread.

  20. How sad to be friendless! I can't even imagine it.

  21. I love this bread Zoe, what lovely and delicious look!!

  22. Love the brown sugar and raisins in the bread.. Saved for later.. =)

  23. This looks so good! I'm not even a fan of raisins, but I want a slice of your bread warm out of the toaster with a bit of sweet butter. :)

  24. I like your raisin dotted version!

  25. I like this kind of bread - soft and fluffy. The brown sugar and raisin definitely add a great flavor to the delicious bread. Great post. Thanks for sharing!!

  26. The swirl effect of the bread looks good!

  27. Oh Wow! Now I'm really tempted to make this bread now ! Love the combo & the texture is so soft ! YUM!

  28. Sono perfetti e bellissimi!!
    Sei stata brava, ne vale la pena provarli.
    Un bacio

  29. Zoe, this bread looks great, I love the idea of brown sugar, cinnamon and raisins...great as breakfast or even afternoon snack...
    Hope you are having a fabulous week :D

  30. Superb pictures! It's hard to photograph bread (or at least I find this to be the case) and you did a wonderful job. Lovely texture, great shade of brown. Super recipe - thanks.

  31. I must say, the texture looks really fluffy.... love bread baking in the house... cos it just smells so nice!

  32. I love the brown sugar loaf , the texture looks so soft ! Yum !

  33. oh yes my hot coffee is ready to go along with the bread.

  34. Zoe, you have proved a point! Some things just have to come along together!