Breads (Sourdough) - Open Crumb

Country Sourdough Fruit Loaf

January 06, 2022 | Recipe by Bake with Paws
Country Sourdough Fruit Loaf

Country Sourdough Fruit Loaf

A few years ago when we still could travel before this Covid thing, I tried a Fruit Loaf while at Margaret River from a bakery called the Margaret River Woodfired Bread.  The bread from this baker was so nice that it has left a bread memory that has inspired me since. One of their must try loaves is their Fruit Loaf which you have to be lucky enough to catch fresh out of the oven. Recently, I baked a Sourdough Fruit Country Loaf in our home oven.  Of course, it doesn't taste the same but this sourdough version is very nice too and satisfies the craving since we can't really travel to Australia now. 

I have been experimented with this for a while and this is the one that I like the most.  It is quite similar to a Ciabatta method.

If you have any questions regarding this recipe or any other post, please leave me a comment in the “LEAVE A COMMENT” link and I will reply you as soon as possible.  Do tag me on Instagram @Bakewithpaws if you attempt on this recipe.

Recipe - Sourdough Fruit Loaf


270g bread flour (I used Japanese high gluten flour - around 12% protein) - 90%
30g whole wheat flour - 20%
240g water - 82% final hydration *
6g salt - 2%
60g active sourdough starter/levain (100% hydration) – 20%
70g dried fruits (fig, apricot, raisin and cranberry)
  • Please refresh  your starter several times before baking day in order to get a better result if you do not feed your starter daily or regularly.
  • Please reserve some liquid and not add it all in one go as each flour absorbs water and hydrates differently. 
Ambient temperature after adding in levain:  27C 
Total bulk fermentation (before retarding in the fridge): 5.5 hours 

    1. Feed starter (Day 1)
      1. Feed ratio of 1:1:1, keep at room temperature (28C – 30C) and wait until tripled, around 4 – 5 hours.  
      2. Please feed your starter at the ratio that fit your schedule as long as the starter is at its peak when use.   
    2. Autolyse (Day 1)
      1. Mix flour and water, stir until there is no more dry flour with a spatula.  The dough will tear easily when you pull on it. The dough is not extensible after immediately water is added, gluten is not formed yet. During autolyse, hydration of the flour causes the sticky and stretchy protein to form,  this helps development of gluten.
      2. Cover and leave for 1 to 3 hours at room temperature (28C - 30C).  
    3. Levain & Salt (Day 1)
      1. Wet your hand, add 60g sourdough to the dough and sprinkle all the salt on top. Mix for about 5 - 7 minutes or until well incorporated.  I also used rubaud method in between to mix.  
      2. Cover and rest for 30 minutes.
    4. Long Stretch and Fold (Day 1)
      1. Inside the bowl, pull and fold the four sides, flip over and round the dough.
      2. Cover and rest for about 30 minutes or until dough spreads.
    5. Lamination (Day 1)
      1. Lightly mist the counter top with water and wet your hand.  
      2. Pull from centre out to form a rectangle shape.  
      3. Sprinkle the dried fruits evenly.
      4. Pick up one edge and fold into the center.  
      5. Pick up other edge and fold into the center over first section.  
      6. Fold the top down half way.  Fold the bottom up.  
      7. Put dough in a new dish (square pyrex dish) that greased with a little oil.  The reason to use a square dish is because it is easier to judge how much  the dough has spread.  Cover and rest for about 40 - 45 minutes or until the dough spreads.  
    6. Coil Folds (Day 1)
      1. Coil Fold 1 -  At this stage, the dough is weak and extensible.  Fold the dough in the dish. Cover and rest for about 45 - 60 minutes or until dough spreads.
      2. Coil Fold 2 -  At this stage, the dough is still extensible but less when compared to the previous stage.  I do not want the dough to be too tight, so I decided this will be the last coil fold.  However, if the dough is too extensible and spread a lot, then you will need one or two more coil folds.   Fold the dough in the dish.  Cover and rest until dough rise about 50% - 60% in size since you added the levain.  This one took about 2 hours 5 minutes.
    7. Cold Retard (Day 1)
      1. Then retard overnight in the fridge (4C) for 12 - 16 hours.  This bread was about 12 hours.
    8. Shaping (Day 2) - 
      1. Transfer to a heavy floured counter top.  Dust the dough with some flour and cut into 2 equal portions with a scrapper. 
      2. Transfer dough to a parchment paper with the scrapper. Let the dough proof on the couche for another 45 - 60 minutes or until puff up in room temperature @ 28C - 29C.
    9.  Baking (Day 2)
      1. Preheat oven with baking stone and lava rocks (below or beside the baking stone) at 250C (top and bottom heat) for 60 minutes before baking.  
      2. Open the oven door, slide dough (together with parchment paper) on baking stone. 
      3. Pour 1 cup of hot water into the lava stone.  Close the oven door immediately.
      4. Bake with steam for 10 minutes.  
      5. Remove the lava rocks. 
      6. Lower the temperature to 210 - 220C (top and bottom heat) and continue baking for another  8 - 10 minutes or until golden brown.
      7. Remove bread from oven. Let it cool on the rack.



A healthy starter is very crucial as advised by Baking with Gina.   It is advisable to feed your starter regularly if you want your bread to rise nicely and to use the starter (levain) at its peak.  A starter that is fed regularly will be more active in general.  If the mother starter is not strong, the bread dough will not rise a lot even though the starter is used at its peak.  


The liquid measurement given is also a guide.  It is advisable to always reserve some liquid and not add it all in one go.  This would give you the opportunity to adjust if necessary. If dough is too dry, add the reserve liquid one tablespoon at a time until the right consistency.  This is because each flour absorbs water and hydrates differently. 


Bulk fermentation starts when you add in levain to the dough and ends when the dough is ready for shaping.  


Ambient temperature plays a very important part in sourdough baking.  It will affect the dough temperature and eventually affect your fermentation time.  The cooler ambient temperature will extend the fermentation time.  The greater degree of proof, the stronger the dough will be as explained by Trevor J. Wilson. 

The ambient temperature that worked for me is between 25C - 26C and bulk fermentation time is between 4.5 hours to 5.5 hours.  At the end of bulk fermentation, my dough would have increased 50% in volume.   The dough should look puffy.  It should jiggling when you slightly shake it.  This is the end of bulk fermentation.  

But, my kitchen ambient temperature (without air-conditioner) was 29C - 30C.  So, I have to bring down the temperature. 

How to bring down ambient temperature?
  1. Air-conditioner room - Rest the dough in air-conditioner room during bulk fermentation.  I used this option sometimes.  I turned on my air-conditioner when I added in levain and try to maintain temperature between 25C - 26C.
  2. Home oven (that's turned off) -  Place ice cooler packs inside along with an ambient temperature thermometer.  Then place your dough during bulk fermentation in the oven. Keep an eye on that thermometer and try to keep between 25C - 26C.


Too strong (tension or elastic) dough will take a longer time to increase (proof) in volume.  So too strong dough may not have good oven spring and open crumb.  While too weak dough (extensibility) dough may not hold it shape and rise with good oven spring too.  

So over-working the dough (too strong dough) or under-working (weak dough) may affect the crumb structure and oven spring.  

The number of coil folds is not fixed and very much depends on the strength and extensibility of the dough.  

As demonstrated in an experiment by Kristen (Full Proof Baking) the over-worked dough rose super tall but was smaller in overall size and had a more dense crumb while the control dough rose tall during the oven spring and had a better overall result.

How do we know when it is enough and no more coil folds are needed? 
We usually do 3 coil folds for this method.  However, if by the second coil fold the dough is strong with less extensibility as you lift up a part of the dough then it should be the last coil fold, or just do a half coil folds instead of full. The resistance of the dough to being folded should be an indication to refrain from folding further.

How do we know when to do the next coil fold or stretch & fold?
When the dough spreads. Please do not rely on the time given in the recipe as it is just a guideline.  Please watch your dough and not the clock.  


  1. how do you refresh your starter several times a day ? exactly how many times do you feed it within a day?

    1. Hi, thank you for visiting Bake with Paws. I did not refresh my starter several times a day. I fed my starter almost everyday as maintenance. You can click on the link in General Notes above "How to Make Sourdough Starter & Sourdough Maintenance" to see how I maintenance my starter.

      Cheers :)

  2. Hi YL, can I check with u if I do not have time to proof after the dough b4 lamination day, can I retard the dough in the fridge? And I do not have lava stones for baking, can I put my loaf in the Dutch oven to bake? Tks in advance

    1. Hi, thanks for visiting Bake with Paws. I am not sure it will turn out at this result if you retard the dough in the fridge before lamination. Yes, you can bake in Dutch Oven.

      Cheers :)

  3. Hi, can I do the shaping first before the overnight retard? Thanks

    1. Hi, thanks for asking. This recipe is like ciabatta and don't required shaping. It is actually cut and divide the dough. You can try to cut the dough and retard in the fridge provided you have enough space in your fridge.

      Cheers :)


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