The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Farmer's Market Week 17 (Raisin Levain)

golgi70's picture

Farmer's Market Week 17 (Raisin Levain)

Well we've missed a few markets but I'm back.  And the great news.  The farmer's market will continue through the winter for the first time.  It will obviously be toned down by 75% as there are much fewer folks with product during the winter but a victory for humanity none the less.  I've built of a rye starter over the past couple of weeks and have been feeding it bi-daily and then retarding after letting it sit out for a couple of hours.  it's doing quite well and I opted to put it to use.  Breads made of mostly white flour really get a boost from small amounts of rye so I opted to use a Rye Sour and use 25% rye in the total formula, (all of which is in the pre ferment)  I added .25% cinnamon to the dough to give it a nice hint but not to be the front runner.  I also soaked the raisins in hot water so I can pull some of the sugar into the dough without adding any additional sugar, and added a vanilla bean while they soaked to give the raisins a nice flavor.  I'm pretty happy with the results.  Next time I might up the raisin soak by 50% and puree 1/3 of the raisins into the dough.


For 2 loaves

Rye Sour: 6-8 hours


195 g  Rye Flour, coarse ground

195g  H20

60 g   Mature Rye Starter


Raisin Soak:


120 g  Raisins

120g  H20, hot

1/2   Vanilla bean split and scraped




400 g  Bread Flour

200 g  Strong Flour

75  g  Whole Wheat

3 g     Cinnamon

311g  H20

20 g   Salt


1)  Make Rye Sour and let ferment for 6-8 hours

    Soak raisins with hot water and toss in vanilla bean caviar and all and stir up.  Cover and let sit.

2)  1 hour before the Sour is ready drain raisins.  

3)  Autolyse 1 hour:  Rye Sour, water, raisin water, final dough flour, and cinnamon

4)  Add salt and begin mix on speed one to combine well (3 minutes0
     Turn to speed 2 and continue mixing until medium devlopment.

     Add raisins and mix on low until well dispersed.  

5)  Bulk Ferment:  4 hours with 2 stretch and folds at 45 minutes and 1:30

6)  Divide and preshape.  Rest 20 minutes.  

   Shape to bowls and retard overnight. (my dough was a bit cool and would have benefited from 30-60 minutes                                                                  at room temp before retarding)

   Bake straight from retarder at 500 with steam for 13 minutes, then lowered to 480 vented for about 25 more.

   Cool on rack. 





Maureen Farndell's picture
Maureen Farndell

That looks quite yummy Josh. I tried a raisin loaf but because it was on the spur of the moment the raisins had not been soaked and they seemed to draw moisture from the dough during proofing so the bread was a little dryer than normal but the taste was great. I also added just a tiny pinch of nutmeg and only used white bread flour with a whole wheat starter...... There seems to be no end to the versatility of sourdough bread. Loving every minute of it all.

golgi70's picture

Soaking the raisins isn't necessary as long as your hydration assumes the loss.  I soaked so I can infuse the raisins with vanilla and at the same time pull some raisin sugars into the water.  In fact soaking them before hand means you need to be careful not to mash them into the bread.  I was okay with this and prepared.  

Thanks for the kind words



isand66's picture

What a great looking and I'm sure tasting bread Josh.  I'm sure the rye sour and flour addition added to the complexity of the flavor profile. 

Happy baking.


golgi70's picture

Definately gave the dough some character.  I really don't want to add nuts so the raisins are the star of the show in this loaf so i think I'll do as I mentioned.  I'll soak an extra 50% raisins to puree and see what that brings to the party

Thanks for the kind words as always


Wingnut's picture

I know I am accused of "Baking Bold" but those are perfect to me!



golgi70's picture

A bold bake gets you all the flavor available.  To bake lighter means you are throwing away potential flavor.  Of course each bread requires its own specific finish.  I read a woman's review a little ways back about Tartine's Bread.  She thought she got the "ugly duckling" of a loaf since she was late.  She thought it was burnt.  Many people do.  For those of us who like our bread this way its hard to turn the laymen onto the boldly baked bread.  This bread got dark fast because of the raisin water and doesn't taste as dark as it looks.  



dabrownman's picture

Love the scoring and the bold bake.  The addition of the vanilla beans is a extra treat for sure.  Here in the states we have bread flour and in the UK they have strong flour.  Supposedly they are somewhat equivalent?  How did you lay your hands on some strong flour from the UK?  Now I want some too after seeing the lift and crumb on this bread!. Just gorgeous as usual.

Glad the market will be open for you this winter too.  We just got the first of two winter pot gardens in last week,  This one will be replaced by the 2nd one at the end of January.   We already have tiny tomatoes set on with tons of greens coming up too.  It has been a while since we did a fist winter garden so it is very exciting.  Hopefully some stuff will be ready to pick by Thanksgiving.  So, maybe there will be plenty of cold loving stuff to trade for at your market.

I like your rye sour program of feeding twice a day and then in the fridge.  Is it at 100% hydration?  I'm doing a feed twice with progressively more flour and water at 100% hydration, with no tossing along the way, starting with 10 g of seed.   Then letting it double on the counter after the 2nd feed.  Then i feed it again, with larger amounts of flour, dropping the hydration to 66% and refrigerate it for 3 days after it rises 25%.  Then building a levain from that exactly the same way but only a 1 day retard after the 25% rise after the 3rd feeding.  I'm going to give yours a try for next Friday's bake using the same recipe as last Friday and see if I can tell any difference in sour between the two.  Just love these experiments.   No wonder scientists experiment on yeast more than any otter thing on the planet:-)

Happy baking Josh and good ,uck with your YW.

golgi70's picture

Thanks Dab.  The vanilla bean adds a nice aromatic and makes the raisins that much more delish.  I say strong flour because King Arthur Organic Bread Flour is quite strong compared to the bread flour I use.  For me bread flour is 11.5-12% protein or so.  Hi protein is up towards 14%.  I think King Arthur's Organic Bread flour is just shy of 13% so i wrote strong flour, more as a suggestion of a higher protein flour.  I suppose i should be careful with that as strong flour has its own meaning in other countries, as you mentioned.  I was being literal.  Maybe I'll just start noting the exact flour i use and its specs if I have them.  

My Rye Sour feeding is pull from fridge let warm for an hour or so.  Feed and then let go at room temp for a couple hours and then retard.  Repeat two days later.  I am discarding when i don't use but I'm only keeping a small seed so there is minimal waste.  When i want to use I just keep that discard and build it from there.  I'd like to learn a bit more about the temperature ranges and how they react on the flavor of rye.  If I can learn this i can have much more control on my Rye Sour's flavor profile.  


Skibum's picture

I am speechless! Very beautiful ears, crust, crumb . . . Okay I am trying a half version of this loaf. I love the idea of adding a vanilla bean to the raisin soak. Time to go shopping!

golgi70's picture

First I suggest sweetening the dough just a touch by doing what I might experiment with (soaking extra raisins to puree) or even a small amount of honey, agave, or if you must sugar.  The loaf has gotten good feedback but its confusing peoples palates as they expect it to be sweeter.  

I look forward to your results.