I have tried a lot of different recipes for sourdough fruit breads, and with varying degrees of success. Some call for the fruit to be mixed in right at the start, others for it to be folded in or rolled like a Swiss roll; each method has its positives and negatives, and I have tried to blend the best bits together in this recipe.
The first fruit sourdough recipe I tried was from Yoke Mardewi’s Wild Sourdough – an excellent recipe book with a wide range of sweet and savoury breads. It was a fig and walnut sourdough, made from a blend of spelt flours and with a swirl of fruit and nuts through the centre. Although it tastes fantastic, I have had a few problems with the recipe in the past. The biggest problem has been that the fruit and nuts in the centre, if the dough is not rolled tightly and evenly, tend to spill out – something which is an issue when you throw a couple of slices in the toaster. Also, it can be hard to ensure that the very centre of the dough is cooked through, surrounded as it is by a thick layer of fruit.
The flavour, however, is worth the trouble, and is the inspiration for this bread. For the method, I have continued playing around with my current favourite – a mix of Emmanuel Hadjiandreou’s “quick knead” and Ken Forkish’s overnight sourdough.
Fig and raisin sourdough makes 2 large loaves
- 400g rye starter @ 150% hydration
- 400g wholemeal spelt flour
- 400g strong white bread flour
- 700g lukewarm water
- 375g figs, roughly chopped
- 100g raisins
- 20g salt
- Refresh the starter 8 hours prior to making the bread.
- Combine the starter, flours and water. Autolyse for 20 minutes.
- Add the fruit and salt. This is a very wet dough, so dip your hand into a bowl of water and begin “stretching and folding” the dough to incorporate the fruit and salt. Rotate the bowl with your free hand as you do so – knead like this for a few minutes until well combined.
- Rest for 10 minutes, then repeat the stretch/fold 10 times. Rest for another 10 minutes and repeat.
- Rest the dough for 30 minutes. Dip your hand into the water and stretch fold another 10 times. Repeat this process every 30 minutes twice more. (So, by this point you have done a stretch fold at 0, 10, 20 minutes, and then 3 times more over an hour and a half.)
- Bulk ferment for 2 and a half hours.
- With a wet hand, scoop the dough onto a very well floured surface. Prepare two bannetons or bowls by flouring well with rice flour. Divide the dough in half and gather each half into a loose ball. Rest for 5 minutes.
- Gather each half into a ball again, flouring with the excess flour from the work surface. Transfer each to a banneton or bowl, place into a plastic bag, and refrigerate overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 240˚C with a Dutch Oven (Le Creuset style pan with lid) on the middle shelf.
- Transfer the first loaf to a floured peel or baking sheet. Remove the Dutch oven, remove the lid, and slide the dough inside. Replace the lid and place into the oven.
- Bake for 30 minutes with the lid on, reduce the heat to 230˚C and bake for 15 minutes with the lid off. Cool on a wire rack.
- Repeat steps 10-11 with the remaining loaf.