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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Bourke Street Bakery's Spiced Fruit Sourdough - love it, love it, love it

Generally, I don’t make fruit breads often. Not that I don’t like them. I just have the tendency to bake more seeds and grains breads. I have two big bags of golden raisins and dried cranberry (about 1.5 kg each) from CostCo sitting and taking room in the pantry that I so wanted to use them up. Hence, there have been and will be more fruit bread baking in the coming months.

Come to think of it, I think I should stop shopping at CostCo. We’re a family of only two moderate eaters. It would take us efforts to finish those big packs of food. Apart from two big bags of dried fruits, I also have 1.5 kg of baking chocolate chips, 250g of vanilla paste, 1 kg of cultured butter, these will take us weeks, if not months to finish them. By the way, I’m thinking about those 1-kg bags of dried blueberries. I’m wondering what it would be like in bread. Sighhhhhh…don’t’ think I will get over the CostCo addiction anytime soon.

This recipe came from Bourke Street Bakery cookbook from which I have been baking more lately. Their recipes produce wonderful baked goods and those photos were so mouth-watering to look at. I tweaked the recipe a little to suit my taste and preferences, e.g. replacing 10% bread flour with whole wheat, increasing the amount of water (hydration), using only golden raisins instead of mixture of golden raisins and currants. I also reduced the amount of raisins and didn’t soak them as suggested by the recipe.

I used the freshly ground cinnamon powder from cinnamon quill(I ran out of the cinnamon powder). Grinding spices using mortar-and-pestle must be one of the most enjoyable experiences to the senses. The aroma was simply wonderful. Pounding spices with mortar-and-pestle also brought back my childhood memories, when I helped my auntie preparing curry paste using the tool. It was usually given to the kids to help with those repetitive and simple tasks. 

This is one of the tastiest sourdough fruit bread I’ve made so far. There could be few factors contributing to the great flavour; cinnamon and mixed spices, high percentage of golden raisins and sourdough starter (I started to think that having an overall high ratio of starter improves the flavour). Comparing this recipe to Jeffrey Hamelman’s golden raisin sourdough, we liked this better. Spices and more golden raisins added wonderful flavours to the bread. We totally love it. S didn't stop eating them until the whole wheat croissants were out of the oven and he got the new baked goods interest!

Spiced Fruit Sourdough Recipe
adapted from Bourke Street Bakery: Ultimate Baking Companion [Paperback]

make 3 large loaves


Overall Formula
Baker’s Percentage
Bread flour
870 g
Whole wheat flour
97 g
651 g
20 g
Ground Cinnamon
10 g
Mixed spices
15 g
Golden raisins
320 g
1.98 kg

Final Dough
Bread flour 668 g (I used flour with 12.5% protein)
Whole wheat flour 97 g
Water 448 g
Salt 20 g
Ground cinnamon 2 teaspoons
Mix spices 3 teaspoons
Golden raisins (sultana) 320 g (or 450 g as per original recipe)
Sourdough starter 405 g (100% hydration, active starter fed 2-3 times before the final dough mixing)


Mixing: Add all the ingredients to the mixing bowl, except salt, raisins, cinnamon and mixed spices.  Mix until the ingredients are incorporated. Leave it to autolyze in a bowl covered with plastic bag or wrap for 15 - 30 minutes. 

Sprinkle salt over the dough surface and mix on the first speed for 3 minutes and continue mixing on second speed for further 3 – 4 minutes, until a moderate gluten development is achieved (the dough can be stretched gently until you can see the transparent membrane and dough doesn’t tear).

Incorporate raisins, cinnamon powder and mixed spices into the dough until well combined.

Bulk fermentation: - Leave the dough in a lightly oiled container and cover the bowl with plastic bag or wrap for 2-2.5 hour until doubled in size.

Do one stretch and fold after one hour.

Divide the doughs into two or three equal portions. Pre-shape the doughs into rounds and let them rest for 10 – 15 minutes under a tea towel.

Shape the doughs into oblong (batard) and place into proofing baskets/bowls. Slip the proofing basket into a large plastic bag. Retard the dough in the fridge overnight or proof at room temperature for 2 hours or until almost double in size.

Baking: If retarding, take the dough out of the fridge and leave them at room temperature for 60-90 minutes (depending on the room temperature) before baking. Preheat the oven to the highest temperature and prepare the oven steaming.

Lower temperature to 225C and bake for 40 - 50 minutes with steam. Note that the bread is brown quickly because of the sugary dried fruits. 

Submitting this post to YeastSpotting.


  1. *pout* I have no access to sourdough starter :(

  2. You can also replace the sourdough starter with yeast. With this recipe, you will need about 16g (about 4 teaspoons).

    The batch is big. It would yield about 3 -4 loaves. So, you can also halve the recipe to suit your preference.


  3. oh thanks Sue :) but would it be the same? I like making big big breads so won't be halving prob. haha

  4. Hi Ceren,

    That should be okay to replace starter with yeast. However,sourdough bread has more complex flavours from the long fermentations. SD starter also contributes more flavours to the bread without addition of any sweeteners.

    To get the flavour of using yeast, you can also substitute the SD portion in the recipe with poolish and commercial yeast. Say,

    202 g water
    203 g bread flour
    1 g instant dry yeast

    Mix the ingredients together and leave it at room temp for 12-16 hrs.

    then follow the rest of recipe (replacing starter with poolish) and don't forget to put 15 g of yeast into the recipe.

    And I think this should work well in term of the bake and flavour.


  5. Hi Sue,
    aww thanks very much for taking time for writing me a mini recipe dear :)
    I think I'm gonna bake it right after we eat this Tomato&Mint Whole Wheat swirl bread I made yesterday, it's on my blog, you can check it out..well if my blog still hasn't got virus haha


  6. You're welcome Ceren.

    The whole wheat swirl bread sounds great...I'll check that out!


  7. hi again,
    my blog is acting stupidly and doesn't let me comment back :S
    so..Thanks, yes it looks kinda Christmasy haha


  8. Hi Sue,
    Just a clarification - are you using steam for the entire bake?

  9. Hi Bob

    I only steamed for the first 15 minutes. My steaming is done by putting a cast iron pan in the oven during preheating. When I load the loaves, I then pour a big cup of (about 300 ml) of boiling water into the pan to create steam. I remove the pan after 15 minutes.

    I also spray the oven wall every minute for the first 5 minutes, in addition to the steam pan.


  10. Hi Sue,
    Thanks for the quick reply. I plan on firing up my starter tomorrow to give this great looking recipe a try on Monday. I don't think I've seen mixed spice here (I'm in the U.S.), but I understand that pumpkin pie spice is very similar.

  11. Hi Bob,

    I think it could be the same. Mixed spice in Australia is the mixture of cinnamon, ginger, clove, nutmeg and coriander.


  12. Hi Sue,
    I baked the bread last night, and my wife and I both love it! I used a ratio of 4 parts cinnamon to 1 part each of ginger, clove, nutmeg, and coriander. The spices really make a difference. I also have tried Hamelman's 'Golden Raisin Bread', but we much prefer this one!

    1. halloooo from across the waters: from washington state, next to cdn border.
      had hoped someone would offer the ingredients for mixed spice. thank you kindly
      now am figuring out what are equivalent measures
      we are loving that i can spend time in the kitchen. the last loaf of sourdough finally has it. think it was bcse mixed up with starter and flour, the starter mixed up with them i mean, the night before.

    2. Hi,

      Mixed spice is the term used in Australia. I believe it's called pumpkin pie spice in US (and probably in Canada as well). The spice is the blend of cinnamon (majority), nutmeg and coriander seeds.

      You can also check the Wikipedia out (link is below).

      Glad that you enjoy making sourdough.

  13. Hi Bob,

    Glad to hear you and your wife love the bread.

    That would make three of us preferring this fruit bread over Hamelman's:)


  14. Sue- I just found your recipe- and the bread looks yummy-- I'm trying it now, but was hoping you'd clarify something for me-- you say "Prepare sourdough built: Mix all ingredient together"... but I don't see a separate list of ingredients for the "sourdough built" (which is a term I'm not familiar with, as SD bread is rather new for me).
    I noticed the difference in flour/water from the ingredient list and the final dough list, so I mixed those together last night with a pinch of yeast, but upon adding all the other ingredients together for the first rise I'm seeing no action/rise. The dough does have a lovely aroma and taste though.
    I sprinkled a bit of yeast on the dough after an hour and worked it in hoping to liven it up and get a rise. Any advice would be appreciated- I do so much want this bread to turn out- thanks!!

    1. Hi Beth, I have corrected the instruction now. Sourdough starter is a mixture of flour & water at 1:1 ratio. It helps to leaven the bread. If you don't have the sourdough starter, add 200 g of flour and 200 g of water into the dough. You'll also need 15g of yeast to help leavening the bread in lieu of sourdough starter.