100% Whole-Wheat Sultana Bread

 

With the success of the 100% whole-wheat bread recipe, I wanted to create a whole-wheat sultana loaf that was tender, soft and speckled with sultanas and spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg.

I wasn’t overly impressed with the dough mix not rising much after I waited over 1 hour for the first prove, but I persevered. On the second prove, I was still unimpressed. After waiting 2 hours, I gave up, spritzed it with water, sprinkled on some sugar and bunged it in the oven. Every time I peeked at the loaf baking in the oven, I didn’t see any vertical movement. When I took the bread out of the oven I thought I had created a cannon-ball bread, rock hard with no air bubbles.

I couldn’t wait for the bread to cool, so I wanted to see what kind of abomination I had created, so I sliced it whilst still pretty hot. It actually sliced pretty well, and although it looked dense on the outside, it wasn’t. The bread was surprisingly good! It had a delicious sugary crust, with a moist, tender interior and super-squidgy sultanas bursting with flavor inside!  You would never tell this bread was 100% whole-wheat!!

 

100% WHOLE-WHEAT SULTANA BREAD

Makes 1 loaf

 

Ingredients

For the soaker

  • 225 g (1 ½ c) whole-wheat flour
  • ¼ t salt
  • 200 ml (¾ c and 4 t) milk/milk alternative
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • 1 t ground nutmeg

 For the biga

  • 225 g (1 ½ c) whole-wheat flour
  • 1 t dry active yeast
  • 170 ml (⅔ c and 1 t) water at room temperature

For the final dough

  • All of the soaker
  • All of the biga
  • 250 g (1 ⅓ c) sultanas (raisins), soaked overnight in 2 T rum and 2 T water
  • 55 g (⅓ c and 1 t) whole-wheat flour
  • ½ T yeast
  • 3 T dark muscuvado (brown sugar)
  • 1 T butter, melted and cooled
  • Additional coarse sugar for sprinkling (optional)

 

Method

1. Soaker Mix all the ingredients together, ensuring that the flour has fully absorbed all of the liquid. Knead, cover and allow to rest at room temperature for 12-24 hours.

2. Biga – Mix all the ingredients together, knead for about 5 minutes, rest for 1 minute and re-knead for another 2-3 minutes. The dough will feel tacky. Cover and place into a refrigerator for 12-24 hours. Two hours before forming the full-dough mix, take the biga out of the fridge to take the chill off.

3. Final Dough – Cut the biga and soaker into 8 individual pieces and place into the stand mixer bowl. Add all of the additional ingredients and with the dough hook, knead for 5-10 minutes. Cover and allow to prove in a warm spot for 60 minutes or until double in size.

4. Shape the dough to fit a well-greased 11 ½ cm x 21 ½ cm (4 x 8 inch) loaf tin (pan), cover with a damp tea-towel (kitchen towel) and allow to prove in a warm spot for 60 minutes or until double in size.

5. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.

6. Spritz the loaf with water, and sprinkle with coarse sugar if using. Place the loaf onto the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes, turning 180 degrees at half the cooking time. Check the doneness by tapping on the underside, if it sounds hollow, it’s ready.

7. Remove from the pan and allow to cool  on a wire rack before slicing and enjoying.

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