Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Golden Raisin Bread: Mellow Bakers

One of the breads in the lineup for the Mellow Bakers this month is this Golden Raisin Bread. I made this bread first because I had just refreshed my sourdough starter and needed to use it. I had been neglecting my starter so it was time to refresh it or lose it. One of my goals this year is to include more wild yeast in the breads I make instead of (or in addition to) dry yeast, depending on the formula.

The Three-Stage 90% Sourdough Rye (another bread in the Mellow Bakers’ lineup) takes a few days so I started the liquid-levain build for the Golden Raisin Bread and the freshening step for the sourdough rye at the same time. I’m not always this organized, but I’m going out of town next week on business so I wanted to get a jump on my baking for the month.  I was very pleased with the outcome of both breads.  I do like it when that happens. :)

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I used bread flour and coarsely ground whole wheat flour that I had milled and frozen a couple of months ago. Another one of my goals for 2011 is to use what’s in my refrigerator and freezer. I usually mill my flour using the finer bread flour setting, but I had milled this flour coarsely for another bread and had some left over so I used this flour and adjusted the formula. Whole wheat flour, especially home-milled flour, soaks up liquid so I added a good bit more water to the dough.


Golden Raisin Bread

Adapted from: Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes by Jeffrey Hamelman


This step called for a liquid mature culture. My starter wasn’t exactly liquid, but I made the build using the formula below anyway. I adjusted the hydration by adding more water in the mixing phase to make the dough the correct consistency.

  • 1 1/8 cups bread flour
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons mature culture

You make the final build 12 to 16 hours before the final mix and let it sit in a covered container at about 70 degrees.  I don’t know about you, but my house is not 70 degrees in the winter even in Atlanta. So I put the container in my oven with the light on overnight and it worked out wonderfully.


  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely ground whole wheat flour
  • 4 1/4 cups bread flour
  • 2 1/2 – 2 3/4 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dry yeast
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 5/8 cups raisins (I only used about 1 1/2 cups at the most)
  • Liquid Levain (all less 2 T)


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 the raisins. In a spiral mixer, mix on first speed for 3 minutes, correcting the hydration as necessary.  The dough should be slightly on the soft side.  Turn the mixer to 2nd speed and continue mixing for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes, until the dough has a moderate gluten development.

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Add the golden raisins and mix on first speed just until they are evenly incorporated.

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Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it bulk ferment for 1 to 2 hours.  If you let it bulk ferment for 2 hours, fold the dough after 1 hour.

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Divide the dough into 1.5-pound pieces; and shape into round or oblong.  Let the dough ferment for about 1 hour.

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I decided to try a couple of different baking and steaming techniques with this bread.  I baked one loaf on a baking stone with a steam pan underneath.

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I baked the other loaf in my La Cloche.  The loaves baked in a preheated 450 degrees oven for about 15 minutes, then I turned the oven down to 425 degrees and finished baking the loaves another 20 to 25 minutes until they were golden brown.

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Here are the two loaves cooling on the wire rack. The one in the background was the one that was baked on the baking stone.  The bread in the foreground was baked in the La Cloche

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Although I liked the one baked on the baking stone, I must say the one baked in the La Cloche wins hands down this time.  The crust was crispy and crackly and a beautiful golden brown color.  I think I let the loaf on the baking stone bake a wit bit too long so it was a little bit browner.

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This bread has been YeastSpotted. Please visit Wild Yeast to view all of the lovely breads in the roundup.


Click here to learn more about the La Cloche.  

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Thanks for visiting the Bread Experience bread-baking blog.  I hope you’ll join me again soon.

Happy Baking!


Mellow Bakers was started by Paul at Yumarama.
We’re baking breads from Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes by Jeffrey Hamelman.

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