Raisin & Cinnamon Sourdough Loaf

Raisin & cinnamon sourdough bread
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A country loaf is great! But, add a little sweetness to it and throw in some raisins and a pinch of cinnamon! Now you’ve created a to-die-for loaf for your weekend brunch! Cinnamon and raisins are a match made in heaven and the duo has been there for centuries. Lately, this has been my favorite weekend bread!

The fact that it can be eaten warm on it’s own or toasted with a little butter, this makes the perfect accompaniment to morning coffee on a lazy weekend morning. Ever wanted to sleep in and just enjoy your coffee with something sweet but hearty, then this is your recipe.

Raisin & Cinnamon sourdough bread

This has also become a favorite among the students who join my sourdough workshops! I show them how easy it is to tweak the base ‘country loaf recipe’ to create different flavors. It is very simple and I try to convince people that you can literally add a hand-full of pre soaked raisins, molasses and cinnamon, follow the same steps to make this bread! But I get asked for a recipe and a detailed blog post all the time. So this one is for you.

Why soak the raisins?

soaked raisins

Well, simple answer is to hydrate them. If we don’t do this, the dried fruit will steal water(moisture) from the bread dough which is going to dry-out the dough. A drier dough will yield a different texture and it will also affect the oven spring (expansion in the oven). So soak them in hot water for at least an hour or until nice and tender. It is not just water that you can use, but other things like tea, rum, orange juice. This will add a nice third dimension to the flavor profile. You can soak the raisins over-night if you are going with flavored liquid.

Molasses! Are there any substitutes?

Molasses is used in bread making to add both sweetness (sugar) and color. It comes in liquid form and is very easy to incorporate to a dough. Also, it has a deep caramel/malt like flavor and not a sharp sweetness like many other sugar types (golden syrup, brown sugar). So if I am using molasses in a recipe that is necessary and I do it with purpose. For this reason, I’m reluctant to recommend substitutes as it will change the outcome at least a little.

If you can’t find molasses however, the best 1:1 substitutes would be, treacle, dark maple syrup or honey. Keep in mind if you use a pungent honey, that is going to come through. You can also use golden syrup or brown sugar but use 3/4 of the amount. Substitutions may affect color and flavor!

Because we add extra sugar, we use a little extra starter/levain too. Sugar can obstruct yeast activity so it is recommended to add extra yeast to sweet recipes to counterbalance the negative effect.

ingredients

Gather the ingredients. I measure water and molasses into the same container. Make sure you have active levain (fed sourdough starter) ready to go

molasses, water and starter

Mix the sourdough starter/levain with water and molasses

Raisin & Cinnamon sourdough bread
hydrate flour

Add the liquid to the flour and mix. I have used a combination of flour but you can use just white bread flour.

I always add a little high extraction(T85) flour (about 50-100g) to my bread. It is not the same as wholemeal. Read more about flour here.

mix the dough

Just mix until all the flour is hydrated. Cover and leave in a warm place for about an hour

Add salt and knead until salt is dissolved and a dough is developed. Use slap and fold technique and you’ll get a smooth dough in about 40 seconds

smooth dough

Place the smooth dough in a greased bowl, cover and leave in a warm place for 45 minutes. perform a coil fold followed by another at 45 minute interval. So two coil folds.

developed dough

The dough after the 2 coil folds. And now let it rest again for 45 minutes.

Raisin & Cinnamon sourdough bread
stretch the dough

Once the dough has rested, now it’s time to add the raisins. Stretch the dough on a wide enough surface until very thin.

add raisins

Drain the raisins and sprinkle evenly along with cinnamon

roll the dough

Roll the dough into a tube

place in a bowl

Swirl up and place in a lightly greased bowl, cover and leave in a warm place until proofed. For about 2 hours at 70°F or until puffed up

proofed dough

The dough will expand and may look puffed up. It will look bigger but not exactly doubled in size. If the dough doesn’t look fermented enough, leave it for another hour.

preshape

Tip the dough over onto a floured surface and pre-shape. In other words, stretch the surface and tuck it under gently without deflating until you get a nice round dough. Cover and let it rest for about 20 minutes

Use a light dusting of flour to stop it from sticking

shape and in the basket

Shape into a boule and place in the banneton basket. You can shape the loaf into a batard or any shape you like. Place in a plastic bag, tie up and place in the fridge for 18-24 hours. You can retard it for longer if you prefer or bake on the same day too.

proofed bread

When you wan to bake, pre-heat the oven to 500°F. When the oven is ready, bring out the bread. Notice that it has risen (grown) a bit.

Raisin & Cinnamon sourdough bread

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score

I will be using a Dutch Oven to bake this bread but you can ‘open bake‘ if you want. Tip the dough on to a parchment, score and bake!

Using a Dutch Oven

A Dutch Oven (DO) is very reliable and you can make sure the bread is baked to perfection every time. Cast iron, ceramic, porcelain anything works. A Dutch oven creates a nice hot environment and traps moisture. So you don’t have to worry about providing steam. However you can place a few ice cubes inside the preheated Dutch Oven with the bread to create extra steam. This helps expand the bread and create that thin crispy crust.

Place a rack in the bottom third of the oven. Then place the Dutch oven (with Lid on) and preheat the oven to 500°F with conventional or 4750°F with convection settings for about an hour. Then Place the bread in, close the lid and bake for 20 minutes. After the 20 minutes, remove the lid, reduce the temperature to 450°F and bake for another 20 minutes.

This is my baking setup for open baking. I use a bakingsteel original.

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A pan with boiling water for steam. A little spray and a big ice cube for extra steam.

Preheat the oven to 475°F(convection). As soon as you place the bread in, reduce temperature to 450°F. bake for 20 minutes. then remove the pan of water. bake for another 20 minutes. If the loaf is getting too dark, reduce the temperature to 440°F – 430°F.

cool the bread

Once baked, let the bread cool before slicing.

Raisin & Cinnamon sourdough bread

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2 comments

  1. Tried this recipe on Good Friday. The taste was tremendous! You can taste the molasses and it had a soft crumbed texture. Hubby said it tasted magnificent. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

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