- The evening before baking the bread mix the levain ingredients and let stand at room temperature for 8-12 hours. Look for a 50-75% increase in volume. When ready, it should have a fruity tangy smell and taste.
- Soak the raisins in the rum and malt syrup with the vanilla seeds and cinnamon overnight as well.
- Combine the ingredients of the final dough, minus the yeast and salt, with all of the levain. Mix until fully incorporated and let rest for 30 minutes.
- Sprinkle the salt and yeast on top of the dough and mix by hand until well incorporated.
- Use the ‘slap and fold’ technique to develop the gluten in the dough for 3-4 minutes. If you are unfamiliar with this technique refer to our sourdough guide on the website.
- Allow the dough to rest for 5 minutes.
- Add the raisin mixture to the dough and mix roughly into the dough. The raisins will be further incorporated through the subsequent folds so full incorporation is not necessary at this point.
- Ferment for 3-4 hours at warm room temperature (23-25˚C) with two folds at 45 and 90 minutes or three folds at 30, 60 and 90 minutes if the dough is feeling very loose. The dough should increase in volume around 75% over this time.
- Divide the dough into two 900 g pieces and preshape into a light ball.
- Allow the dough to rest and relax on the counter for 20 minutes.
- Shape the loaf into either a Boule or Batard depending on the shape of your proofing basket, dust with rice flour and place into your proofing basket. A bowl lined with a tea towel will also work if you don’t have a proofing basket. The loaves can also be baked in two 2lb 9”x5” loaf pans.
- Preheat the oven to 475˚F with a cast iron dutch oven inside for at least 45 minutes. Placing the dutch oven on top of a pizza stone will prevent the bottom from getting too dark. See the sourdough guide for other baking methods.
- Proof 2-3 hours at warm room temperature until the loaf has increased approximately 75% in volume. You can also proof the loaf for one hour at room temperature and then overnight in the fridge. Test if the loaf is ready to bake by lightly pressing the floured pad of your finger into the loaf. If the loaf springs back slowly and not quite all the way back, it is ready to bake.
- Turn the dough out onto a piece of parchment, score with a razor and place in the preheated dutch oven with the lid on. Reduce the oven temperature to 450˚F. Remove the lid after 20 minutes and continue baking 10-20 minutes until deep brown. A fully cooked loaf will have an internal temperature of 210˚F.
- Cool on a wire rack.