Spiced Fruit Sourdough

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My weekly sourdough baking is aligned with our weekend breakfast routine. Saturday brunch, if we are home, is our most anticipated time of the week. This features my sourdough, our favorite deli spread(smoked bacon, cheese, maple syrup, butter, relish) poached eggs, avo, beans and sausages (on someday) and home brewed coffee. We have been doing this ever since we moved to Seattle, which is almost a year now.

fruit sourdough

Back in Melbourne, we used to go out as there were plenty of good, soulful, cosy cafes that served real sourdough bread and the best coffee in the whole world. Not to mention the fine french pastries and pies and cakes and slices….

fruit sourdough

There was one particular breakfast (I have this for lunch too) at a deli cafe in the hills, which was my favorite. This was a toasted fruit sourdough served with sticky baby figs and mascarpone. I have recreated this dish many times since. The most important part of this dish, the fruit sourdough, obviously, was from a local sourdough bakery, which I used to work for, for two years(lucky me!). So my fruit sourdough is inspired by this bread, but I have tweaked the recipe so much over time to suite our taste.

apricot, fig and raisin

I use different dried fruit combinations and use different spices every time to make it exiting. You can use most of the dried fruits like Sultana, Raisins, Currents, Cranberries, blueberries, apricots, prunes, plums, figs etc. I always keep it limited to three verities, two sweet and one tangy. But it’s up to you.

Dates add a nice sweetness. You can use dried figs too

You can also use spices like cinnamon, cloves, pumpkin spice, nutmeg to give it some warmth. This will really enhance the flavor and the house smells festive every time I bake these breads.

Make sure to wash the dried fruits, specially the dark colored once. This will wash off excess residue and also help them hydrate slightly. I figured this out the hard way. The dried fruit tend to absorb water from the bread dough resulting in a tougher dough, which inhibits fermentation, gluten development and the oven spring later.

Alternatively, soak the dried fruit over night, drain and pat dry

The dough that is just mixed would look wet and sticky. After an hour of aulolyzing(or fermentalizing), this will be a lot firmer and easier to handle

After the kneading, it will start to look much smoother. This dough is now ready for bulking.

As always, incorporate the fruit at the end of the kneading, just before the bulk proof. This will make sure the gluten development is not disturbed.

The wet dough is about 75% hydrated as the dried fruit will absorb some moisture later.

Also fruit brings in sugar to the dough and to counter balance that we need to up the leaven percentage a little. Sugar is hygroscopic and will compete with yeast for water, which could inhibit fermentation.

If you mix the dough with the fruits in it, more sugar is going to get incorporated into the dough, so adding fruits later prevents this. Also we just fold the fruit in, by hand and not mixing vigorously.

Once fruit is added, then we let it bulk (3-4 hours). Bulk includes three coil folds in 45 minute intervals at the beginning of the bulk. Once bulk is over you just have to shape the bread and place in the refrigerator for slow fermentation.

When you are ready to bake, check the bread to see if it has proofed enough. If not, leave it at room temperature until proofed. Do the “poke” test to make sure.

Use either flour or semolina to dust the bread

Once proofed, slash(score) and bake in a preheated oven

This bread can be served in many different ways. Eat it as is on the same day, it will be moist and great with butter or maple syrup and some fresh berried. It is already loaded with fruit so you can pretty much eat it on it’s own.

toasted fruit sourdough

It is also great toasted with cream and berries. Or cut it in to thin wedges and toast both sides. This will be similar to biscotti and you can serve with tea or coffee. I love these with lemon curd, cream cheese.

dipped in lemon curd

Try this bread with your favorite dried fruits, you won’t be disappointed.

fruit loaf

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  1. Hi, I love this kind of bread and want to try your recipe, one thing that bother me is your starter quantities are you sure it is right 127g flour + 236g water + something like 40g culture???
    Starter 185% hydration?

    Water in your bread 478g flour 471g = 101% hydration without wholegrain

    1. It is a mistake. should be 1/2 cup water. In other words roughly 1:1 flour : water by weight.
      I will update the recipe. Thanks for pointing out

  2. Hi, I should be more patient and wait for your answer before I started working with so wet dough LOL, I add some flour later and manage to get right consistency that was after I think 12 cycle of stretch and fold. Well looking at the bright side none other dough will be wet for me after this one and the bread is delicious.

    1. This bread is baked in a DO or on a pizza stone, like any other free standing sourdough.
      If you use less starter, it will late longer to bulk.
      The reason, this uses a lot of starter is that this recipe has got so much fruit (sugar)

  3. Reading your post came just as I was trying to have a question about sourdough with fruit. I made a sourdough boule today that had figs that had been hydrated and after draining the reconstituted figs, the water left behind was sweet and good. I considered replacing the water in the recipe with the sweet fig water but resisted. After reading your post I realize that the sweet water would retard the development of the gluten and the dough would need more starter with fruit added. Do you have a way to add flavored water from fruit in a sourdough bread?

    1. That is correct. If you add the fruit soaking water, you will have to increase the culture.
      Option 1: use 250g instead of 200g starter

      Option 2: Make a concentrated starter with 30% culture 70% water
      eg: use 100g flour 70 g water 30g culture to make the starter. This starter will be ready in 4-6 hours (depending on the room temp and starter strength)
      Then use this starter in the bread with fruit soaking water.

  4. Hi, how much fruit should there be? The recipe state 1 1/4, but didn’t give a unit of measurement. 1 1/4 cups? Tablespoons? Help please! Thanks!

    1. The weight depends on the fruit you choose to incorporate. This doesn’t have to be exact.
      If you don’t have cup measures, use roughly about two handfuls of chopped up dried fruit

  5. I have a couple of questions regarding your bread

    1- your recipe calls for 1cup of fruit, but I see from other peoples comments they put in 1.25 of fruit. Which is correct?

    2- the recipe calls for 4 coil folds with 45 minutes in between.
    Regarding Step #17 – after the last coil fold, do I let the dough sit for an additional 1.5 to 2 hours?

    3- I used white bread flour and rye flour. My dough is very wet (even after all the folds) and there is no way I could get it to look like your picture of the dough before the fruit was added. Do you know why?

    1. Hi Peggy,
      1 – Depends on the fruit you use. If the chunks(dates,figs) are big you may use 1.25. If you are using smaller fruits like resins, cranberry, currants etc, 1 cup is enough. If you think you need more fruit, you can add more next time you bake.
      2 – The recipe calls for three coil folds. It’s okay even if you give 4. After the final coil fold leave it to bulk for a further 1.5 – 2 hours or until you see considerable growth of the dough.
      3 – Your dough is sticky due to the rye. Rye flour is sticky and it has a very low amount of gluten forming proteins. Hopefully once you add the fruit, the dough will get less sticky as the fruit absorb some moisture.

      Hope this helps.

  6. Thanks Vindi for your quick response
    I think next time I may try using spelt. Is it similar to rye regarding gluten proteins?
    I did not do the extra 1.5 – 2 hours which explains why it has not risen
    I left the bread in the fridge after the last fold for 32 hours and it is going into the oven right now. I’ll let you know how it goes.

    1. Spelt is a better option, but may be use 10-15%. Spelt has gluten, but that gluten is very fragile and very water soluble. Spelt is similar to whole meal and care should be taken when mixing.
      If you want to incorporate more whole grains, try using high extraction flour with a finer grind from a local mill

    1. Yes. It is due to rye mostly and also not enough fermentation.
      Try the exact recipe once and then try variations.

  7. I have been making a sourdough rye since 2009. I gradually moved away from high hydration because I liked the feel of handling a tacky non sticky ball of dough. Cut my fermentation times too. I followed your instructions to a T and was worried the dough was so wet it was hard to form into a loaf. It’s in the oven now. OMG IT’S GORGEOUS. I’m going to try to go back to higher hydration and longer, cooler proofing again for my regular sourdough rye.

    BTW the placement of the salt in the recipe threw me. I had already formed the loaf and set it out on my cold porch when I realized I forgot the salt. I fetched it and plopped it on a floured surface and tried to knead some salt in. The fruit kept popping out! Hopefully there’s enough salt. Was worried I handled it too much but it rose beautifully. Bread is so forgiving!

    1. I’m glad your bread turned out great! Looks like you are a very experienced baker and you have handled the little hiccups quite well.

      About the salt, if I forget the salt and already shaped the loaf, I usually just bake it like that and later sprinkle some sea salt on my slice or use a salty cheese to serve. I think salt flakes add another dimension or it’s just me trying to be positive 🙂 haha


  8. Hello Vindi, Could you clarify how warm your dough is, how warm your kitchen is? 1.5 to 2 hours for bulk rise just doesn’t seem long enough to do anything. What percentage of rise am I hoping to get during this time? My dough never gets “fluffier” during cold proofing and is nice and firm when I take it out, thanks to the cold, so how can you do a poke test right out of the fridge?

    1. You can create a warm place. Eg: place you dough container in the oven and place a bowl of boiling water and close the door. Or you can buy a proofing box. There are other creative ideas that you can find online if you google. If your bulk fermentation is successful, the final loaf will proof in the fridge.

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