The Fresh Loaf

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The perfect fruit sourdough

Syd-a's picture

The perfect fruit sourdough

So, I am looking to do a big final (for now) sourdough bread bake this week. I have a very good sourdough recipe that last (and the first time) I did it give some very nice airy crumb. 

I want to maintain and maybe even enhance that airy crumb even more, but this time around I am looking to add some raisins and sultanas as I love fruited breads.

Question 1. What percentage of fruit should ideally be used for a sourdough?

Question 2. What level of hydration will give the best airy crumb for this type of bread?

This first sourdough was 65% but now I am learning more about stretch and folds and dealing with wetter doughs so I think I could deal with more hydrated doughs.

Any other tips on a recipe and procedure for fruited sourdoughs are most welcome.

Thanks everyone




golgi70's picture

Raisins would be quite nice in a sourdough but as you add in you generally lose some of that open crumb you speak of.  Not to say it becomes a brick but your adding something that interferes with the gluten structure and weights the dough down.  For a fruit and nut bread I think between 10-20% is common for the add in.  Maybe if you chopped the raisins and went on the lower side (10%) you'll get results that your happy with.  Be sure to soak the dried fruit in advance so it doens't steal water from your dough or you'll also lose some of that open structure you seek.  If it were me I'd soak the fruit for an hour or so in warm water (and a splash of rum) to plump, drain them and then use the drained water in your dough for added flavor and color. (keep in mind this is now sugary water)  .  Some add in competely during the stretch and fold phase.  I like to stir them in at the end of mix on low speed just to get them incorporated and then the stretch and folds will disperse them evenly.  As for hydration I'd probably stick with what works and then see the results.  If the crumb isn't quite open enough you could up it in future bakes.  This way your at least starting with a base you've had good results with.  Too many changes make it hard to assess problems.  Just my $.02.  

Also what is your procedure?  My understanding is a cold bulk ferment will open up the crumb quite nicely without any change to hydration.  Maybe a simple way to get where your going without changing the formula at all. 


Hope this helps and Good Luck



dabrownman's picture

with his comments.  I like to use the fruit soaker water as the liquid, or part of it too.  After soaking don't forget to squeeze any excess liquid out of the fruit too.

If you are using white flours 70% hydration is no problem,15% whole grain use 72 % hydration,  25 % whole grain use 75% hydration.  50% whole grain then 78% -80% hydration.  Just make sure to autolyse the whole grain portion for 3-4 hours to make sure it is hydrated before mixing.

The more you work with high hydration dough the easier it becomes.  Above 72% I always use slap and folds folds to develop the gluten and S&F's to maintain it while incorporating the add ins like fruits, nuts and seeds to get then evenly distributed doing the least amount of damage to the gluten strands. 

You won't get the open crumb like a white bread but the higher hydration, retarding and proofing to 90% before baking and baking at high temperature with mega steam will give you the best rise, spring and resulting open crumb you can get with the recipe, 

Syd-a's picture

Thanks very much to both of you. I think I will just dive right in and just give it a shot with a little more hydration and put one of the planned loaves in the fridge overnight for baking the next day. Should that be done before or after the final shaping in general for sourdough?

Thanks once again, a big help as always.


dabrownman's picture

in the fridge and then shape the next morning, proof and bake - like Ian does.  I prefer to bulk retard in the basket or tin and bake after it warms up and finishes proofing on the counter.  there isn't much difference in either but I think the crumb is more open by retarding in the basket.

I noticed that Josh retarded his last bake and baked it right out of the oven woth good results.  Can't do that if you bulk retard.  Some recipes double in the fridge and some only proof 30% so it depends on teh recipe if you can bake right out of the fridge 

Syd-a's picture

This is the Dan Lepard way of doing a sourdough.

I must admit that some elements, bulk fermentation, retarding and autolyse (is that when the dough is left to rest between kneads?) I cannot exactly pin down.

1. Mix together all ingredients.

2. Leave 10 min

3. Knead 15 sec

4. Leave 10 min

5. Knead 15 sec

6. Leave 30 min

7. Knead 15 sec

8. Leave 1 hour

9. Knead 15 sec

10. Leave 1 hour

11. Knead 15 sec

12. Leave 2 hours

13. Divide dough into 2 or 3 pieces

14. Leave 15 min

15. Shape dough 

16. Leave about 4 hours

17. Bake

I plan on doing this with adding raisins tomorrow and will also do another sourdough bread with at least 50% wholemeal.

When should I add the raisins to the first sourdough, using the protocol above?

Should I increase my hydration level from 65% to say 70 or 72% for the wholemeal loaf?

Thanks again for all your help.


Syd-a's picture

I am also thinking of going crazy and adding some dark molasses to really enhance the flavour of the loaves. I am worried about making bricks though, that would not be a good thing.

dabrownman's picture

8-10 g is plenty for white breads up to 1,000 g total weight,  a little more with whole grains in the mix.   There is no bitterness to counteract in white breads and you might be adding some besides the sweetness.  Honey might be a better choice for white breads.