Sourdough Cinnamon Raisin Bread

This is a wonderful recipe which, for me, makes the perfect breakfast. When baked, and as soon as we can handle it, we cut beautiful slices which we freeze right away. In the morning, we pick a few slices, toast and serve them with salted butter. With a strong cup of coffee, it is heavenly. This recipe is rather quick in preparation and is mostly ” unattended “. You just need to leave your bread to rest on the counter for 8 hours, shape it with a final one hour rise and you can bake it in a your vessel of choice. I took the basic recipe from Breadtopia, an outstanding Home Artisanal Bread Baking Blog which provides with many recipes I have tried over the years. This is the kind of recipes I like, so you don’t have to solely dedicate your day to making a loaf of bread.

400 Gr. All Purpose flour
200 Gr. Whole Wheat Flour
1 Tablespoon Cinnamon
175 Gr. Raisin
50 Gr. Maple Syrup
400 Gr. Water – 28 Celsius
12 Gr. Salt
100 Gr. Sourdough Starter

Start by adding your sourdough starter with the water and using a whisk, “melt” the sourdough. Add salt and maple syrup in the large bowl and mix with a dough whisk.
Once mixed, add the flours, cinnamon and raisins and mix until combined. (I place the raisins in the microwave with a little water to soften them up, for just a minute).
Cover your mixing bowl and let the dough sit for approximately 8 hours, until the volume of dough doubles in size.
You can also stretch and fold a few times periodically, which I find so satisfying.
Turn out the fermented dough on a lightly floured work surface and shape into either a loaf or batard or elongated bread and then place the dough into a well floured (I use rice flour which does not stick so much on the dough) proofing basket, seam side up. Cover and let it sit at room temperature for an hour.
After 30 minutes, place your Cocotte or baking vessel (I use a Le Creuset and often an Iron skillet with great results)
in a preheated oven at 225 degrees celsius.
Bake the loaf for 25 minutes with the lid on and another 20 minutes without the lid.
Let the bread rest for an hour before slicing.

Various tips
If I use an Iron skillet with great results. Just keep in mind that you need to create steam in your oven. I often use a spray bottle and generously water the bottom of the oven. You can also pour a cup of hot water in another pan at the bottom of the oven.
If you use a Cocotte, to make it easier for you to transfer a rather soft bread, try using a piece of parchment paper,
I score my bread with a razor blade and again if you feel the dough is still too soft, use a pair of scissors and snip the top of the bread at various places.
My bannetons are not lined with cloth, so I generously cover the interior basket with a lot of flour, especially rice flour.
To ensure I have a good rise, I often leave the dough to rest in the oven at 40 degrees Celsius.
Don’t be alarmed if the top of your bread seems wet after the resting period, simply sprinkle a little bit of flour before folding it.
If you really want a dark crust, at the end of the baking period, turn off the oven and leave the bread in the oven with the door slightly ajar.

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