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.
Suas 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!