The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hamelman's Golden Raisin Bread (Take#3)

Mebake's picture

Hamelman's Golden Raisin Bread (Take#3)

I've baked this recipe twice before, but this one i wanted to exclude the yeast and extend the bulk fermentation. Actually, this bake was sort of a controlled test that was aimed at verifying whether or not i could bake during my working weekdays, which i'am happy to say: YES, it works!

First day eve, I started feeding my starter one day to creat the levain for the next day;

Second day, when i came back from work i mixed the levain into a dough and retarded the dough after 2.5 hours;

Third day after work, i preshaped, shaped and baked.

i'll have to admit, though, i don't like to split the joy of baking into several days, but the convenience of having bread anyday of the week was my incentive.

One thing worth mentioning: i added 1/2 tsp of diastatic malt to compensate for the extended refrigeration of the dough (21 hours).

Flavor wise, there was no noticeable sourness to this bread, though the sweetness of the raisins may have masked it. It was a good basic bread with sweet pockets of raisins, but nothing more. Could i be too accustomed to wholegrains that i can't appreciate delicate flavors of white-ish breads anymore? Could it be the malt? All i know is that the original recipe with the yeast added had a better overall flavor.

Still, though, i like this bread and loved the idea of being able to have bread almost any day of the week.



Alpana's picture

Hi Khalid,

The bread looks perfectly turned out. Of course, I can't comment on the flavour, but as you say the white flour must be too tame for you. But the joy of daily home made bread!

Mebake's picture

Thanks, Alpana! 

hansjoakim's picture

Those are two very, very fine samples of bread, Khalid! Great oven spring, and it looks like you nailed the timing already on your first try. Impressive! Even a small amount of wholegrain flour goes a long way, so that could be part of it, as you say. At least, I can't think that your timing or logistics should penalise flavour in any way whatsoever.

I too find it a bit hectic and stressful to bake during the week, so I mostly end up doing it during weekends. When I do it during the week, I tend to mimic mostly what you did here (refresh sourdough the night before, mix levain for final dough first thing next morning, mix final dough, bulk ferment and shape that evening and proof in the fridge up to 24 hours; bake directly from the fridge). It works, but I keep reminding myself that it's supposed to be fun and relaxing to bake.

Anyways! Again, wonderful golden raisin loaves, Khalid!

Mebake's picture

Oh this is a compliment i hold dear to, Hans! Thank you!

Yes, baking is a relaxing chore...'s picture

I'd compost this over-the-hill Hot Cross Bun I'm having with my morning coffee in a heartbeat for a slice of that bread, Khalid.  Thanks for the reminder about that one.  I love breads with sultanas.  And your process timeline -- seems to be one many are adopting.  Working for me too.

Enjoy some buttered toast.  Nice bread!


Mebake's picture

Thanks , Tom :)

I haven't tried toasting a slice of this bread yet, but it sounds promising as breakfast with coffee and butter.

Many thanks for the ideas.



isand66's picture

Khalid looks like you were more than successful with your experiment.  What a lovely looking loaf of bread.  As you know I usually bulk ferment my dough in the refrigerator and bake it the next day which allows me to bake during the week as well.  Now I work from home so I have more flexibility but it's nice to be able to make bread on any schedule.

Nice crust and crumb and scoring.


Mebake's picture

Thanks , Ian!

Yep, convenient, though i'm unsure whether the final product suffers in terms of flavor. 

I hope you have a safe trip to China, Ian!

dabrownman's picture

nice raisin bread Khalid. I'm with you on the white bread too and don't really make bread with less than 25% whole grains anymore and even below 50% is pretty rare.

Since I can't bake on weekends, I plan my bakes for Monday Wednesday and Friday. On Saturday night I crank up my starters building all the leavain I need for the week for 3 larger sized loaves. I create 250 g od YW, 250 g of WW SD adn 250 g of Rye sour - all at 100% hydration.

By Sunday morning all are ready. What ever bread I am baking on Monday I stiffen that one to 80% for its last 4 hour build and leave it out on the counter and start the 4 hour flour autolyse for it. The other two get stiffened to 65% and left out for 1 hour before refrigerating until needed later in the week. I try to bake the rys our last so it has na chance for the levain to really get sour Thurday morning.

The first bake it ready for retarding on Sunday night for the next day or evening bake. This wasy I can usually get 3 loaves of very different bread done with a very easy and relaxed schedule

Very nice baking Khalid

Mebake's picture

Thanks, DA! 

What a great way to utilize time to you baking advantage! I like how you retard your breads to fit schedule, and still make wonderful breads.


varda's picture

Hi Khalid,  I baked this once a couple of years ago.    I can still remember how good it tasted.   And of course yours looks much better.   Great that you are figuring out how to adapt your excellent baking to your work schedule.   -Varda

Mebake's picture

Thanks Varda! 

This is a recipe i keep coming back to, it is really simple and flavorful. Why don't you have another go at it again?



Janetcook's picture

Hi Khalid,

What a beautiful loaf.  I think you did an outstanding job for your first attempt at spreading the 'work' out...and now you get to tweak :-)

Congratulations on finding a timing schedule that works with your work schedul too.  I never knew how to do that until I discovered TFL.  Now using my refrigerator is a big part of my baking.  Love the way I can use it to slow things down when breads are rising ahead of schedule or how I can do my bulk ferments in it overnight.  Such a simple concept yet it never entered my mind on my own.  Guess I was always afraid it would kill the yeast and now I know it merely slows them down and that it is heat that kills they yeast...

I know when I first started spreading my baking out it felt odd too but now, since I bake daily, I have fallen into a rythm with it so it is like I am continually baking and I am more than comfortable with my routine.  It has become a rhythm that shapes my day.  ( I no longer work outside of the home and my children are all grown and gone except my 16 yr old son who is still here so my schedule if very different from someone who works outside of the home and has younger children wanting attention :-)

Thanks so much for the lovely post.

Take Care,


P.S.  Not sure if you have baked Phils Golden Raisin Fennel and Walnut loaf....but that loaf is loaded with flavor.  I know because I just baked it a couple of days ago - lots of whole grains and wonderful aroma as it baked....Works well being spread out over time too though I change the amt. of pre-fermented flour to 15% only.

Mebake's picture

Thanks Janet! 

Yeah, i learned tons here too by interacting with all fellow TFL members. What a great community to be part of! 

As to Phil's fennel walnut raisin, no, i haven't tried it though i really admire this recipe. unground spices aren't a welcome ingredient in bread with my wife, so i have to try the recipe with ground fennel instead. 

Thanks alot for the kind comments Janet.


Floydm's picture



Mebake's picture

Thanks, Floyd! And welcome back.

breadforfun's picture

Hi Khalid,

It looks like it would be good toasted with a schmear of cream cheese on it for breakfast!  And you got the raisins so well distributed throughout.  Enjoy it.

Like many other commenters, I've been experimenting with long autolyse & fermentation times.  It takes a little longer to make a bread, but it's usually worth it.  I'm surprised the straight dough version tastes better.  Maybe it just needs a small formula tweak, a bit of whole grains, like you say.


Mebake's picture

Thank you Brad!

Yeah the bread lends it self well with dairy toppings. 

The recipe comes from Hamelman's book under: levain breads, but it contains a teaspoon of yeast to speed things a bit. It also includes somevwholewheat and rolled oats. This bake is lovely though. 



bakingbadly's picture

Looks pretty darn good, Khalid. I certainly wouldn't mind if I was offered a slice or two, especially with a dallop of cream cheese or European-style butter. (Admittedly, I do love my breads with a faint to mild tang.)

I haven't been able bake on a working weekday, but if you can do it... why can't I?

As always, have a jolly baking,


Mebake's picture

The looks are also as good as the flavor, Zita! This recipe makes a tasty loaf.

Yes, once you figure out your perfect schedule, you can bake any time.

Thanks, Zita!

SylviaH's picture

I love bread with golden raisins.  I always keep a box in my pantry...not just for sweet breads.  What a beautiful bake and crumb.  I enjoy a tuna sandwich on this type of raisin bread.



Mebake's picture

Funny you should say that, but i had the most delicious honey tuna bread with this loaf.

Thanks Sylvia, Always much appreciated.


dmsnyder's picture

The refrigerator is surely a help to the home baker with a "day job."

Looking at your procedure, I wonder whether doing a longer bulk fermentation before retarding the dough would help with the flavor. I would go for a 3.5 to 4 hour fermentation with hourly S&F's which should work, since you omitted the yeast. If you have time in the evening, you might also try getting through shaping and retard the shaped loaves, then just complete proofing and bake the next day.

Let us know how your tweaks work out. There is obviously lots of interest in being able to bake during the work week.


Mebake's picture

Thank you David, great suggestions! I'll have to try extending the initial fermentation as you said, and i'll let you know.


Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

The crust look so nice on those.  Nice and dark!

you could probably use any dried fruit in this breadmwhich could make it a nice go to recipe for a fruit bread.


Mebake's picture

Thank you John,

Most dried fruits should work well with a bread fermented for so long.

Much thanks!

rossnroller's picture

I bet the aroma during the bake was divine. That's one of the things I love about enriched breads.

I'm with David on proofing strategy (although my starter seems very active and therefore my bulk proofs are generally a bit shorter - around 3 hours, except in the chill of winter, when 5 works well).

My methodology, which initially grew out of scheduling demands similar to yours (I think), is as follows:

  1. Feed starter in the morning so it's ready to use that evening
  2. In evening, mix dough + complete bulk proof
  3. Same evening, shape and start final proof out of fridge (depending on bread, time required ranges from 15 mins to an hour, depending on ambient temp), then transfer to fridge for retarding overnight. Working out the best out-of-fridge final proofing time is the problematic bit - takes some experimentation.
  4. Bake first thing next morning - OR, next evening. I prefer the former, but whenever I have had to wait until evening, the results have been fine.  I guess the type of bread you're doing is a factor. 

Hope that helps.


Mebake's picture

Thanks for tuning in , Ross

Yeah, the schedule you are talking about appeals to me.

As the the final shaped proofing, i got good results mostly because i used 1/2 tsp (1tsp max) of malted wheat flour (diastatic - -home made). I have read somewhere that the magic ingredient in famous artisan bakeries is the malt, as it helps the bread retain its color and vigor by creating excess dissolved sugars for the yeast.


Mebake's picture

Thanks, Oksana,

Sorry, Can't divulge copy rights of Chef Hamleman.

Best wishes to you,