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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Golden Raisin Sourdough bread

I haven't made the fruit bread for a while as I have been (obsessively) making lots of whole wheat, grains, and seeds bread recently.

Sometimes, you need some inspirations (or some nags) to remind that it's time to get on baking the fruit loaves. Inspirations being a recent wonderful post in The Fresh Loaf web site. Nags being my boyfriend who gave me a hint about a nice sourdough fruit toast he had from Dench Baker (an artisan baker in Brunswick, Melbourne) recently.

There are quite a few fruit loaf recipes that I enjoy from Jeffrey Hamelman's Bread: a baker's book of techniques and recipes. I picked golden raisin sourdough recipe as I had lots of sultana (that's what Aussie calls golden raisins) in my pantry.

This bread is quite nice and moist. Golden raisins contribute to naturally sweet and moist bread. There is also 10% of rolled oats in the laoves, which seems to completely absorbed and dissappeared into the dough. It is also great toasted with a little of butter, a perfect breakfast.

Hamelman's recipe uses 69% hydration (percentage of total water to total flour in the recipe). The dough was quite stiff (I believe that oats and golden raisins also absorbed some of the liquid, plus there is 20% of whole wheat flour in the recipe) so I increased the hydration to 72%, which I personally think the hydration can possibly go up to 75%, which I intend to try 75% hydration when I make this loaf next time.

Here is the recipe I used with 72% hydration. I made these loaves with:
  • Autolyse for 15 mins (I usually prefer at least 30 mins, but I run out of time. I only started putting the dough together at 9pm.)
  • I did one stretch and fold after one hour of bulk fermentation
  • I retarded the bulk dough overnight. I usually retard the dough after it is shaped but, again, I ran out of time. I shaped the dough next day. The dough was really stiff for shaping even though I took them out of the fridge an hour before shaping. As a result, one of my loaves was splited slightly at the bottom as I didn't close the seam well enough (due to the dough being too stiff?).

    The seam already opened even before it was baked
    The seam expanded even further after the bake. The crust and crumb were alright.

Golden raisin sourdough loaves recipe (from Jeffrey Hamelman's Bread: A baker's book of techniques and recipes)

make two large loaves

Liquid levain build
Bread Flour
          4.8 oz
136 g
1 1/8 cups
6 oz
170 g
3/4 cup
Mature Culture
1 oz
28 g
2 tbsp

Final dough
Bread flour
1 lb, 4.8 oz
590 g
4 3/4 cups
Whole wheat flour
6.4 oz
181 g
1 1/2 cups
1 lb, 0.1 oz
483 g
2 cups
0.6 oz
17 g
1 tbsp
Yeast, instant dry
0.1 oz
3 g
1 teaspoon
Oats, rolled
3.2 oz
91 g
1 cup
Golden raisins
8 oz
227 g
1 5/8 cups
Liquid levain (all less 2 tbsp)
10.8 oz
306 g

Baker's percentage
Bread flour80%
Whole wheat flour20%
Oats, rolled10%
Golden raisins25%

Note: Hamelman's original recipe contains 69% hydration (percentage of water to flour). I found that the dough was a little stiff. I increased the hydration to 72%. as the raisins and rolled oats absorbed some of the liquid as well.

1. Liquid levain: Make the final build 12-16 hours before the final mix and leave it in a convered container.

2. Mixing: Add the oats and water to the mixing bowl and let the oats soak for a few minutes. Add the remaining ingredients with the exception of raisins and salt. Mix until all flour is hydrated and it forms a ball.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or bag. Autolyse for 30-60 minutes. Return to mixing after autolyse, sprinkle salt all over the dough,  if knead by hand, knead for 15-30 minutes and adjust water and flour as neccessary to achieve a relatively wet dough (once the raisins are added, they will have a slight drying effect on the dough's consistency). If using mixer, mix on the first speed for 3 mins, followed by second speed for further 3-4 mins. Knead until the dough achieve a moderate gluten development. Add the raisins and mix until they evenly incorporated.

3. Bulk fermentation: in an oiled bowl covered with plastic wrap or bag for 2 hours or until double in size

4. Folding: stetch and fold after one hour.

5. Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces. Have a bench rest for 10-15 mins to ensure the gluten is relaxed before shaping. Shape into batard or boule (oval or round loaves).

6. Final fermentation: I retard my loaves in the fridge at this stage, and take it out the next morning for baking. It needs to sit at room temp for 1-2 hours to take off the chill, while you're pre-heating the oven. Or you can ferment for an hour at room temp and continue with the baking without retardation.

7. Baking: with normal steam, 460F for 40-50 mins. Lower the oven temp to 430F  after 15 mins to prevent the sugars in the raisins from darkening the dough too much.

This post is submitted to YeastSpotting.



  1. Your loaves have a beautiful crumb at 72%, I'll bet they keep fabulously as well. I wonder how that extra 3% would affect it. At any rate, they are gorgeous and look quite tasty!

  2. Thank you. I am guessing that with higher hydration, the crumbs should be more open. I find the crumb to be very tight. As a matter of fact, most, if not all, of the fruit breads I made seem to have tight crumbs.I wonder why...

    Yes, the bread is kept really well. It still stay nice and moist after a week. When toasted, they taste like fresh bread:)