Hamelman’s Golden Raisin Bread with Levain

There are various breads in ‘Bread’ made with raisins. This one is in the levain or sourdough section. This tasty and ‘good for you’  number is created with a liquid levain starter, some water-soaked oats, a little wholemeal flour and some good raisins.

While baking my way through this book I have had time to think about the order of mixing ingredients, especially when there is a substantial sourdough component. Often this is made with one flour and then you add other flours into the final dough. It is very easy to end up with patchy looking bread, not a real problem from an eating point of view, but aesthetically it is not that wonderful, so what I do is mix all the flours for the final dough together very carefully so that they are as evenly mixed as possible.

When putting the dough together I add the water to the levain first and make sure it is well mixed and loose, and not with big lumps in it. If using a soaker, like seeds that have been in water, or old bread, or, as in this case, oats, I add that next and again mix it well to distribute the new material in the liquid part. I then add the flour to the liquid if I am mixing the dough in the Kenwood. It doesn’t work if the flour goes in first very well. On the other hand if I am mixing by hand then I add the liquid to the flour. The point of this bit of discussion?  Don’t be afraid to adapt your mixing methods to suit yourself!  I recommend adding any fats in once the rest of the ingredients have been mixed and the flour has hydrated.

Golden Raisin BreadSuas recommends holding back part of the water from any recipe and adding it once you have mixed the dough. It cannot be stressed too highly that flour has very variable absorption powers and reading other people’s posts makes me aware that we have very different experiences with the wetness of the dough we end up with.

This one was not perfect, but only because I overproved it – it ended up waiting in a queue for the oven as we were making supper at the time. The oven needs cleaning again, don’t tell me!

It makes lovely breakfast toast with melted butter. I don’t know what else to do with it though. Any suggestions?

To see the other versions of this bread please visit my fellow Mellow Bakers who can be found with links to their blogs on the Mellow Bakers forum.

If you want the formula for any of these breads there is usually someone somewhere on the internet who has written them out, easy enough to find by Googling. For example here is the recipe for this one. You could always buy the book though, authors need us to buy their books, it’s how they make a living!

18 thoughts on “Hamelman’s Golden Raisin Bread with Levain

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      I have yet to meet anyone who enjoys the process. This one is a pyroclean. So you are fooled when you buy it into thinking it will do it all itself… in fact.. you have to take all the side rungs out and the regular shelves and clean those by hand, and to do the door requires mechanical skills that I do not possess. Then the pyroclean thing must use enough power to run a small city for a day as it superheats the ovenspace and burns everything in its reach to a white powder, so I don’t do it very often.

  1. heidi

    The bread looks great for standing in line- in queue – for a while.
    Mine end up looking quite forlorn and flat.
    Of course, when they have to wait it is usually because I’m baking an
    order of teddy bear breads- and no bread looks quite as forlorn as an
    over raised teddy bear!
    Enjoying your bread from over here! It’s beautiful from a distance!

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      I think it was over/borderline because the slash didn’t open at all, it might of course have been on the point of ‘perfect prove’ but most of the people whose breads I look at bake from a point of underproof and so they get more spring and pretty slashes. The line is if in doubt, go for baking from under. Though too under and you get bursts on the sides of the loaf and sometimes a sort of heavy line at the bottom of the loaf. But you know all this stuff as you are a pro yourself. I love the way your teddy bear breads look, no one here bakes breads like that for local bakeries…

  2. cityhippyfarmgirl

    When someone refers to a double hydration method is that just holding back some of the water, and then adding it at the end dough?
    I’m playing with oats in my sourdough at the moment, so any extra ideas are more than welcome. I’m loving the chewiness of them. This loaf looks perfect for breakfast, I’d probably slap an inch of peanut butter on there as well.
    …and cleaning ovens? I prefer denial.

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      Double hydration? I have just been back to Steve’s breadcetera blog and he explains the theory very well here on his ciabatta post. I hold water back, usually when making doughs with soakers because you never know quite how they will mix up and I’d rather not add extra flour,( because then that throws the salt out – the salt being a percentage of the total flour weight….) Dan Lepard has a gorgeous soya linseed loaf which has oats in it which you can adapt to sourdough very easily, makes a great sandwich bread and healthy too.

      I’ve run out of peanut butter :(

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      Thanks Celia ! Don’t forget we have central heating and double glazing… and a boiler cupboard which when the heating is on is very warm indeed. It’s where I put my bannetons to dry out.

  3. C

    It looks gorgeous Joanna – I love fruited bread for my breakfast, so this one looks perfect for me!

    Other ideas to use it up? I guess you’ve thought of bread and butter pudding, or perhaps using it to make the sides of an apple charlotte – raisins and apples seem to be quite happy together!

    My oven cleaning denial is easy – I don’t have a see through door and I just avoid looking at the base of the oven…..

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      I don’t know how to make an apple charlotte either….

      The see through door is very lovely in that Zeb can sit on my lap and watch the bread spring but bad in that when you can’t see the bread any more you know you should think (the operative word here, is think) about cleaning it.

      1. C

        I can’t say I’ve ever attempted either b&b pudding or apple charlotte, but if I were to want to, I think I’d turn to Delia for a recipe:
        or there’s a choice of b&b puddings here
        but as I say, none of them are tried and tested by me – sure lots of other people will have made them though ;-)

        1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

          Thank you!!! That was kind of you. I will read up what the Delia has to say on the subject. I always think of B and B as something I had at school, sweet and eggy and creamy and very high in calories. I prefer, if I’m going for stodge, the idea of a steamed golden syrup pudding. Trying to avoid sugar a bit at the moment though. Lapsed already, eating my gingerbread yeti which I found in a lock and lock yesterday….

  4. jan trounce

    I should think that would make a yummy bread and butter custard with maybe a little rum – I have a pyroclean oven too and have exactly the same experience. I loathe cleaning the racks – although I’m wracked with self-recrimination because I haven’t done it for a while:) When it’s in pyro-mode it makes me nervous and I tend to give it a wide berth. (I’m sure someone’s written an ode to the lost sock – or even a paean to the glorious pair.)

  5. azélias kitchen

    that slice looks very attractive Joanna with even spread raisins…and airy throughout.

    I’ve been tackling those baps with my adaptations and when reading this post your comments about adding one bit of the recipe to another has reminded me of the recipe. The first time adding the sponge to the melted fat and water I had a real task achieve it well but was better by the second.

    by the way love the loaf on your twitter page.

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      Other slices later on had a better distribution of raisins, but I was pleased that for some mysterious reason only one popped out the top of the loaf with an audible ‘ping’ during the bake. Can’t wait to hear about your baps too Az!

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