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  • Nithya

Sourdough Freedom Bread - My version of Sourdough Fruit Bread

Food nostalgia is a very powerful emotion that transports you to the past. When I posted my Mousakka recipe I mentioned about food nostalgia. This bread is also on the similar note….brings back so many memories:)

We lived in Milwaukee for a few years and Breadsmith was one of my most favorite bakeries there. I used to buy fresh loaves of bread, dessert breads and variety of bakery items. One of my most favorite ones was the Freedom Bread. I think it was available twice in a month. The lady at the store gave me an idea of freezing them. So I used to buy two loaves, freeze one and use one. I was just crazy about this bread. Now with all the sourdough obsession, I thought I should come up with my own version of the Freedom Bread. I went to their web page to check the ingredients, yeast was mentioned. I wanted to bake it my way using sourdough. This is my take on my favorite Freedom Bread aka Sourdough Fruit Bread. Overall it was wonderful, the sweetness from the dried fruits, a bit of sweetness from the honey, everything put together makes it absolutely delicious!!

Nothing beats a delicious homemade bread!

Unlike the traditional Sourdough breads that rely on flour and water, sweet levain uses sugar along with the mature starter. A levain is also called levain starter is an offshoot of your sourdough starter, its a mixture of flour, water and some mature starter. This mixture will be used entirely in a batch of dough. It doesn’t make the sourdough bread sweet but it gives a milder flavor while allowing for a longer fermentation. I added about 30gm of sugar to 50gm flour,50gm water and 50g sourdough starter. Let it sit overnight and it bubbled up pretty well the next day. I ended up with 160gm of sweet levain that I used entirely in this recipe.

*Note - For a typical Sourdough bread I would bake it covered for 20mins and without lid for 15-16mins. But this Bread turns dark pretty fast. I have burnt my first Freedom bread as I let it bake for 15 mins with the lid open. This time around I pulled it out at 12mins, I think 10 mins should be good enough.

Here is the video -


Makes one loaf


To make the sweet levain

50gm mature sourdough starter

30gm sugar

50gm flour

50gm water

Combine all the ingredients, cover and allow it to rise overnight.

For the bread

160 gm sweet levain ( from above)

275 gm water

425 gm bread flour

4gm salt

5 tbsp honey

150 gm mixed dried berries


1. Combine the sweet levain and water, stirring until the starter is fuller dispersed.

2. Add the flour, honey and salt. Mix and bring them all together, making sure there are no dry bits of flour on the bowl. Do not over mix.

3. Cover with a kitchen towel and allow it to rest for 30 mins. This process is called the Autolyse/Autolysis - gently mixing of the flour and water, followed by 30 mins of rest time.

4.After the first 30mins, we need to stretch and fold four times in 30mins resting each time. Pick up a side of the dough, stretch it and fold it over. Now, rotate the bowl about a quarter turn, stretch again and fold. Turn the bowl another quarter turn and stretch and fold once again.Repeat one more time, so a total of 4 times. This is one round. Cover with a kitchen towel and allow it to rest for 30mins. Repeat the round/same process three more times, resting for 30mins in between.The more you stretch and fold the dough will become more tighter. During the third stretch and fold, add in the dried fruits, tap it on the top to make it stick to the dough and fold again. Repeat the stretch and fold the fourth time as well. Cover and let it sit for 30 mins.

5.  Bulk fermentation -  Remove the dough and move it to a floured surface. Gather the dough together and form a round shape. Put the dough back in the bowl and allow it to rise for 3-4hours or until doubled.The amount of time it takes for the dough to double depends on the temperature of the home, quality of the starter etc.

6. Remove the dough from the bowl and place it on a counter. Use flour if need be. Leave it uncovered on the counter for 30 minutes, this will allow the surface to develop a skin, so that it does not stick to the banetone basket during the next rise in the refrigerator.

7. Now comes the last rise in the refrigerator, put the dough in the counter and pre shape it into a ball. Stretch it from all ends  making it look like a square. Fold 1/3rd to the middle, fold the other side to meet the first fold. Now tuck the roll from one end and gently roll over to form a small log. Pull and tuck the sides under the loaf. Place this log onto the banetone basket, seam side facing up.

8. Move the basket to the refrigerator, You can cover it with a plastic bag, or use the banetone basket liner or leave it uncovered for 8-12 hours.

9. Preheat the oven at 450F. Place the dutch oven inside with the lid on for 30 mins. Carefully remove the dough from the basket and place it on an parchment paper. Seam side down. Dust off the excess flour using a brush( This is a must, else you will end up with the flour on top and also it ends up being a little crusty). Do the scoring. Slash the top of the bread in one long, shallow angled slash.(I did not score my bread this time, missed it) You can come up with your own design too. Carefully open the lid, slide the dough (along with the parchment)inside the dutch oven with the scoring side facing up, cover and bake for 20mins. Open the lid and bake for 10-12mins or until you see a nice brown color. Mine took about 12 mins. Remove the bread carefully and allow it to cool down for an hour at least before you cut it. (* See notes)



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