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 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.


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. So washing them and patting them dry have helped me solve this problem. Also this recipe calls for a higher hydration too.

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

After the kneading, it will start to look much smoother.

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 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 proof.

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

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!

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