The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Spiced Raisin Cranberry Sourdough

Danni3ll3's picture

Spiced Raisin Cranberry Sourdough


This is a repeat of the Spiced Raisin Sourdough that I did a few weeks ago with a few changes, of course. ;-) I switched out half of the golden raisins for cranberries and I changed up the method quite a bit. It was a pain in the neck and made for a very long day (I started at 7:30 am and finished at 8 pm) but I think the results are worth it!




112 g red fife wheat berries

1000 g unbleached flour (split into 880 g and 120 g portions)

50 g freshly ground flax

179 g cranberries

179 g golden raisins

670 g water (split into 620 g + 50 g portions) plus another 10-15 g or so.

35 g kefir

2 tsp cinnamon

3 tsp mixed spice (4 tsp cinnamon, .5 tsp ginger, .5 tsp cloves, 1 tsp nutmeg, 1 tsp coriander)

22 g salt

465 g levain (building this is included in the instructions below)



  1. A couple of night before making the dough, mill the red fife berries and sift out the bran. Mill the bran again on a finer setting. Reserve both the bran and the sifted red fife flour for the levain. Since I need a total of 234 g for the levain, measure out 120 g from the 1000 g of unbleached flour and reserve that.
  2. The morning before making the dough, start building the levain as follows: Build #1: 17 starter, 33 g water, 33 g bran/sifted flour. Let rest 8-10 hours. There was not a lot of real rise or activity. Build #2: 66 g each of water and sifted flour. Let rest 8-10 hours. It rose about 75%.  Build #3: 134 g each of water and sifted/unbleached flour. It was ready after 4 and half hours. This almost doubled but the activity was very evident. It was bubbling so much it looked like slow motion boiling water. You should have 465 g levain
  3. The night before making the dough, soak the cranberries and the golden raisins in 620 g cool water. Make the mixed spice by combining the ingredients in the brackets. Set aside. Remember you will not be using all of this, just 3 teaspoons as stated. 
  4. A couple of hours before the levain is ready, place the 880 g of flour and the 50 g ground flax in a bucket or bowl. Pour the mixed fruit with the water into the mix and mix as well as you can. Add the 50 g of water and work into the dough until all the flour has been hydrated. This was a pain in the neck when you are making 4 batches. Keep at it though and it will hydrate. Let rest covered until the levain is ready.
  5. Mix in 465 g levain and incorporate well. Another pain in the neck trying to integrate liquid levain into a stiff dough. Cover and let rest in a warm place for 1 hour.
  6. Mix the cinnamon, mixed spice, salt into the kefir and set aside.
  7. After the dough has rested, spread water onto a counter and scrape the dough out of the bucket onto the counter. Spread it out into a large rectangle and spread out the kefir/spice/salt mixture onto the dough. Roll up the dough like a jelly roll and then roll it up the other way. Do a 150 French slaps and folds on the counter to distribute the salt and the spices. My hubby just loves hearing me slapping dough on the counter about a half hour with those four batches. He asked me on the fourth batch if I was done beating the dough! 
  8. Place back in the bowl or bucket, cover and place in a warm spot to rise. Do 3 sets of stretches and folds one hour apart. I wet my hand for each fold to add a little more hydration as I felt the dough was pretty stiff. Adjust how much water you use, if any, according to what you are comfortable with. Then let rise until the dough has risen 50-60%.
  9. Scrape dough out gently onto a lightly floured counter and divide into portions of ~830 g. Gently fold the portion in half and round out the dough with a scraper and your hands. Let rest covered with a tea towel for an hour.
  10. Do a final shape by gently cinching the dough à la Trevor (gently pull one side and fold to the middle, pull the other side and fold over the first side, roll the top towards you and gently pinch into place and continue rolling until the seam is underneath). Do not deflate the dough at all. 
  11. Place seam side down into floured bannetons, cover and put to bed in the fridge for the night (~12 hours).
  12. The next morning, heat the oven to 450 F with the Dutch ovens inside for at least 45 minutes. Place parchment rounds on the bottom of the pots and gently drop the boules inside seam side up. Cover and drop the temperature to 425 F, and bake for 25 minutes. Remove lids, admire the huge ears on the loaves and then bake for another 20 minutes at 400 F or until the insides measure 205 F. This is a change from my usual temperatures since the bottoms of my first batch were borderline burnt when using those.
  13. Cool for at least a couple of hours before cutting and enjoying!


Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

And I loved it. Now I've seen yours and I have to give it a go again. With golden raisins and cinnamon to-boot. Lovely! 

I know you make them for other people so I just have to dream about the crumb shot. 

Danni3ll3's picture

for us so here is the crumb shot. It really tastes amazing!!!

trailrunner's picture

I am going to experiment with this and do the " all in at the same time " thing with minimal touching and see what happens . Will post back. It will be a couple weeks though due to family stuff. Stay tuned. I hope it comes out half as lovely as your bake !  c

pul's picture

You always set the bar very high. Nice looking loaves and must be tasty!


isand66's picture

This looks perfect and I can imagine how tasty it is!



Danni3ll3's picture

and then using the soaking water in the dough really brings out the sweetness right through the loaf. You would think I used a ton of sugar in there. I also find that the spices are more evenly distributed this time.

 It sure would be nice to figure out a way to simplify the process. 

trailrunner's picture

after seeing pul minimize I am on a mission to get as much from as little as possible :) Call me lazy but I think it is so amazing to watch nature at its best. Your loaves are simply stunning !!  That color is amazing. Can smell the cinnamon all the way here in VA. 




alfanso's picture

For those few breads that I make with dried fruit, I always add the hydrating water from the fruit to the dough.  How much difference it makes, I really don't know, but it must.

Just a beautiful bread, and it seems almost like a snack bread.  Which can be dangerous, ya know.

Considering that tree bark and some spice additives can be a yeast inhibitor, how do you calculate how much yeast/levain to add to the dough, and would you add just as much if you eliminated the offending spices?


Danni3ll3's picture

off someone’s recipe who has done something similar and experienced success. 😉

CarlThePigFarmer's picture

This made me chuckle.

It's how I've learned most of every department. hah.

leslieruf's picture

Added to my bookmarks - another one to do!! it looks delicious!

just lovely.


PalwithnoovenP's picture

I am speechless. I wish I could replicate this.

dabrownman's picture

Lucy is very impressed but not enough to want to go to Chilly Canada to get a taste.  It's been 80 F here til today so Lucy has been sunning herself and rolling around in the grass.  Very well done Indeed and

Happy baking Danni

CarlThePigFarmer's picture

Love this!! Putting it on the must try very soon list.
My mom told me I have to learn to make some fruit breads so the timing is perfect.

MontBaybaker's picture

Danni, looks wonderful!  I don't have a mill yet, so what weight of good sprouted wheat flour and bran would substitute for the wheat berries?  Otherwise, ready to go.  I've got raisin soaking water in the freezer from this morning's tanghzhong bake, and it would work well in this recipe.  Thanks! 

Danni3ll3's picture

And just put the flour through a sieve to separate out the bran. I just use a normal kitchen strainer.