Breads (Sourdough) - Soft Buns/Rolls

Christmas Fruit Bread (Sourdough)

November 29, 2022 | Recipe by Bake with Paws
Christmas Fruit Bread (Sourdough)

Christmas Fruit Bread (Sourdough)

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November is coming to an end, December is coming and it is time to get into Christmas baking!  I got this cute  CHEFMADE Star Shaped Non-Stick Cake Pan recently and instead of baking a cake, I baked this soft and delicious Sourdough Fruit Bread.  

This bread smells insanely nice!  There is nothing like the sweet aromas of Christmas to get us into a festive mood :)

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.

How To Make Christmas Fruit Bread

Recipe - 350g 

Yields:  2 bread (Shorter bread)


Sweet Stiff Starter (50% Hydration):
60g sourdough starter (100% Hydration), preferably use at its peak 
180g bread flour (I used Japan High Gluten Flour)
75g water or 90g milk
30g sugar (I used organic brown sugar)

Main Dough:
140g bread flour (I used Japan High Gluten Flour)
All stiff starter (above)
20g - 25g brown sugar (I used organic brown sugar)
1 salt
20g milk powder (omit this if milk is used in sweet stiff starter)
1/2 tsp mixed spice (Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger and coriander)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
Zest of 1 orange
100g egg, whisked (from 3 medium egg, balance use for egg wash)
85g butter, room temperature
10g milk

145g dried fruits (cranberry, dark raisins, golden raisins and candied orange peel) 

Egg Wash: 
Balance of eggs + 1 tsp water

Recipe - 400g 

Yields:  2 bread (Taller bread)


Sweet Stiff Starter (50% Hydration):
70g sourdough starter (100% Hydration), preferably use at its peak 
215g bread flour (I used Japan High Gluten Flour)
90g water or 100g milk
35g sugar (I used organic brown sugar)

Main Dough:
150g bread flour (I used Japan High Gluten Flour)
All stiff starter (above)
25g - 35g brown sugar (I used organic brown sugar)
1 1/4 salt
25g milk powder (omit this if milk is used in sweet stiff starter)
1/2 rounded tsp mixed spice (Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger and coriander)
1/2 rounded tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
Zest of 1 orange
115g egg, whisked (from 3 medium egg, balance use for egg wash)
95g butter, room temperature
10g - 15g milk

150g dried fruits (cranberry, dark raisins, golden raisins and candied orange peel) 

Egg Wash: 
Balance of eggs + 1 tsp water

2 units of 8" CHEFMADE Star Shaped Non-Stick Cake Pan  or  
2 units of 6" round pan or 
2 units of 300g non stick loaf pan (22.3 X 8.7  X 7.7 cm / 8.8" X 3.4" X 3")

  1. Sweet Stiff Starter 
    1. In a bowl of stand mixer, dilute starter with water, stir in sugar and add in bread flour.  Mix with paddle attachment until well mixed and all come together. 
    2. Cover and let it ferment until tripled. I prepared a night before and leave it in aircond room (approximately 24 - 25C room temperature) overnight until tripled.  It took about 8 - 9 hours depending on your starter.  It should take around 4 - 6 hours to get triple at room temperature at 28C - 30C. 
  2. Main Dough:
    1. Rinse the dried fruits with hot water and let them dry on a kitchen paper towel.
    2. Put all ingredients (except butter), including all the stiff starter into a bowl of stand mixer.
    3. Slightly combine the mixture by hand with the paddle attachment before turning on the machine so that the flour will not splash out.  Using the paddle attachment, mix for 2 minutes or until all incorporated. This step is critical to prevent  an uneven mixed dough as the stiff starter is rather hard and a dough hook may not be able to mix it well enough.
    4. Change to hook attachment and knead for another 3 minutes or until the dough comes together. Add in butter and continue knead for 13 - 15 minutes or until reach window pane stage.  The whole kneading process, I stopped few times to scrape down the dough from the hook to be sure it is evenly kneaded and also to prevent the motor from overheating.
  3. 1st Proofing/Resting:  
    1. In the same bowl, let the dough rest for 30 - 45 minutes. Keep it covered with clingfilm or use a lid.  This dough I rested for 45 minutes and the dough rose quite a lot in 45 minutes.  
  4. Shaping:
    1. Transfer the dough to a clean floured surface then divide dough into 12 equal portions. Please use a kitchen scale if you want to be exact.  
    2. Form each portion to a ball and rest for 15 minutes.
    3. Shape one at a time.  Please refer to the video and diagram below.
    4. Place buns onto the pans.  6 buns into one pan.  Cover with plastic.
  5. Final Proofing:
    1. Let it proof at a warm place until the dough rise double in size.  This one took approximately 2.5 hours to 3 hours at room temperature 29 - 30C.  The duration of proofing depends on your ambient temperature and starter.
  6. Baking:
    1. Preheat oven at 190C (top & bottom heat) or 180C (fan-forced)  for 10 - 15 minutes.
    2. Brush with egg wash.  
    3. Bake in a preheated oven for 18 - 20 minutes, or until golden brown.  
    4. Remove bread from oven and let them cool on rack.

Sweet Stiff Starter

Main Dough



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.  


Gluten forms when flour comes in contact with water.  Hydration of the flour causes the sticky and stretchy protein to form, giving structure to the bread.  This makes your bread trap air and rise. 

Gluten in dough can be developed by autolyse, resting, kneading or folding.

The windowpane test is used to determine whether the dough has been sufficiently kneaded.  By gently pulling the dough (or you may pinch off some dough) and trying to stretch it into a thin membrane.  If you are able to stretch the dough paper thin and translucent  without tearing, then the gluten is fully developed.  However, if you can stretch it without tearing but the membrane is not transparent, then the gluten is not yet fully developed.  

However, from my experience not all the recipe can achieve a thin and translucent window pane stage easily.   For example low hydration and low fat dough.  For such recipes, a reasonable window pane is good enough and it can be left to rest. Gluten will continue to develop while resting.  Exercising restraint to not over-knead the dough prevents the gluten from being overworked and broken.   Some of you may have experienced the dough breaking during the second proofing.  It is because the dough is over kneaded. 

The total kneading time for me is usually 15 minutes at low speeds except brioche dough with high fat percentage or dough using liquid fat which usually takes a little longer (maybe 18-20 mins).

From my experience, I found that high hydration dough with high percentage of fat will be easy to stretch and achieve a paper thin windowpane stage.


Why do I use milk powder?  
  1. Milk or milk powder will enhance the flavour of the bread and makes the bread texture softer due to the fat content of the milk. 
  2. Milk powder is shelf stable and you can have it anytime when you want to use.  Unlike liquid milk you need to finish within a certain time before it spoils.

For kneading, please regard the timing provided as an indication only. It is only meant as a guide.  Timing may differ depending on the brand of flour and electric mixer used. The protein content may vary from one brand of flour to another.


The right flour plays a very important role in bread making.   To achieve fluffy, soft and light bread, I used Japan High Gluten Flour in most of my bread baking.  The protein content is around  12 - 13%.


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. 


Please note that the proofing timing may also vary depending on your climate, environment, flour and your starter. 

If you are unable to judge by just looking at the dough, you can do the finger poke test:

  1. Lightly press the side of the proved dough with your finger.  If it bounces back immediately without any indentation, it means the dough is under proved and needs more time before baking.
  2. If the indentation stays and it doesn’t bounce back, it means it has been over proved.
  3. If the indentation slowly bounces back and leave a small indentation, it is ready to bake. 
  4. There will be a final burst of rising once the bread is placed to bake in the oven and it is called oven spring. 

If your bread collapses or gets wrinkled on top after removing from oven, it could be because your dough over proved during the second proofing. Please proof until the tip of the dough just reaches the rim of the pan, around 80% - 90% in size.


Do also note that the baking temperature and timing provided are what works for my oven and should also be regarded as a guide only. Every oven behaves a little differently, so please adjust accordingly for your oven.


  1. Hi, do u have non-sourdough version of recipe of this bread? Thanks!

    1. Hi, Thanks for your interest in this recipe. Please use Brioche recipe using instant yeast in my blog to bake this bread. Just added the spice and dried fruit that you like.

      Biroche Recipe Link:

      You may use 350g or 400g Flour recipe as you like. You will end up with taller bread if you use 400g flour recipe.

      Cheers and happy baking :)

  2. Hello! Thank you for this beautiful recipe. Sorry for my delayed question. Am thinking of making it tomorrow 😄 What is the purpose of rinsing the dried fruits? Is it just hygiene or some other chemical reasons that may affect the rising of the bread? BlueWren

    1. Hi, thank you for your interest in this recipe. No worry.. The reason I rinsed the dried fruits is because I found there are some trace of wax in it. If you can get organic dried fruits then you can skip this step. Anyway, rising the dried fruits will soften the texture too.

      Happy Baking and Merry Xmas :)

    2. Great, thank you so much for your quick reply and explanation. I followed your advice. Wow! I tried your recipe today, and it is amazing!!! So soft!! So fragrant! Thank you so much for sharing! I will be making this again :) You have a gift for making things easy to follow, so I don’t feel scared to try 😄
      Have a blessed Christmas! BlueWren

    3. You are most welcome.. Thank you for trying and glad to hear that you like it. I hope next recipe will not disappoint you.. lol
      Keep baking and hope to hear from you...

      Happy Holiday :)


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