Slow-Rise, No-Knead Cinnamon-Raisin Bread

READY IN: 20hrs 30mins
YIELD: 1 loaf




  • For the first stage:
  • Thoroughly combine the flour, salt and yeast in a 3- to 4-quart or larger bowl; mix with a large spoon.
  • Add the water, stirring vigorously until evenly incorporated; the mixture may be stiff.
  • Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a greased flexible spatula.
  • Drizzle the dough top with about 1/2 teaspoon of oil (no need to measure); use a pastry brush or your fingertips to spread it evenly over the dough surface and up sides of the bowl.
  • Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and set aside at a room temperature of about 70 degrees or cooler for 12 to 18 hours.
  • For the second stage:
  • Mix cinnamon and sugar and set aside.
  • Use a fork to beat together 4 tablespoons of the melted butter and the sugar in a medium bowl until well blended.
  • Beat in the egg and raisins until incorporated; let stand for 5 minutes.
  • Vigorously stir the butter mixture into the dough until the dough deflates and the ingredients are evenly incorporated; the dough will seem rubbery.
  • Vigorously stir the flour into the dough until thoroughly incorporated.
  • Lightly stir in about 2/3 of the cinnamon-sugar mixture; streaks should remain.
  • (Second-stage mixing may be completed in a heavy-duty stand mixer, if desired. Transfer the raised dough to the mixer bowl; complete the mixing steps on low speed using the paddle.).
  • Generously grease a very large loaf pan (9-by-5-inch or other 1 3/4- to 2-quart pan) or coat thoroughly with nonstick cooking oil spray.
  • Turn out about a third of the dough into the pan.
  • Smooth the surface with a greased flexible spatula.
  • Sprinkle about half of the remaining cinnamon sugar mixture over the surface.
  • Repeat with another third of the dough, then sprinkle with all but 1/2 tablespoon of the remaining cinnamon sugar.
  • Add the remaining dough, then smooth the surface with a flexible spatula.
  • Drizzle the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of melted butter over the top.
  • Use a pastry brush or your fingertips to spread the butter over the surface until the surface is evenly coated and looks smooth.
  • Sprinkle the remaining cinnamon-sugar over the top.
  • Cover the pan with plastic wrap.
  • For a "regular" rise:
  • Let rise at room temperature for 1 1/4 to 1 3/4 hours or until the dough nearly reaches the pan rim.
  • (The time will vary considerably depending on the temperature of the room and the length of the first rise.)
  • Remove the plastic wrap; let stand until the dough rises 1/4 inch above the rim.
  • For a “quick” rise:
  • Place a microwave-safe cup containing 1 cup of water in a rear corner of the microwave oven.
  • Microwave for 2 minutes, until the water almost boils.
  • Put the loaf in the microwave oven as far from the water as possible.
  • Let it rise 30 to 50 minutes or until the dough nearly reaches the pan rim.
  • Gently remove the plastic.
  • Continue the rise until the dough top is 1/4 inch above the rim.
  • For baking:
  • Position an oven rack in the middle third of the oven; preheat to 400 degrees.
  • Gently transfer the pan to the oven; jarring can cause deflating.
  • Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the loaf is well browned on top and sounds hollow when thumped with a finger.
  • (If the top begins to brown too rapidly, cover with aluminum foil for the last 15 to 20 minutes of baking.)
  • Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for several minutes, then run a knife around the loaf to loosen.
  • Transfer the loaf to the rack and let it cool completely before cutting it or storing in an airtight container.