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Oct 13, 2014

Golden Raisin and Fennel Sourdough Pocket Bread

Golden Raisin and Fennel Sourdough Pocket Bread: Karen's Kitchen Stories

These Golden Raisin and Fennel Sourdough Pocket Breads may look like muffins, but they are are actual sourdough breads baked in a muffin tin.

Golden Raisin and Fennel Sourdough Pocket Bread: Karen's Kitchen Stories

These are filled with raisins soaked with ground fennel seeds, shaped, and then rolled in cornmeal. The flavor combination is exceptional.

Golden Raisin and Fennel Sourdough Pocket Bread: Karen's Kitchen Stories

The concept of pocket breads comes from Josey Baker, a bakery owner and the author of a new book, Josey Baker Bread. When he was first starting his business, he developed these small loaves for potential customers who didn't want or need to buy a large loaf of bread. His book has several pocket bread flavors, including dark chocolate cherry, chocolate peanut butter (with mini peanut butter cups!), and cheddar chive.

Golden Raisin and Fennel Sourdough Pocket Bread: Karen's Kitchen Stories

The theme for this month's Bread Bakers event is grapes, which could mean grapes, wine, raisins, or anything else grape. I originally intended to bake a bread with fresh grapes, but when I found these pocket breads, I had to try them. This is not your typical raisin bread. The sourdough aroma and flavor is perfect with the cornmeal, fennel seeds, and the golden raisins. And they are so cute, right?

One of my favorite ways to serve these is toasted with melted Havarti cheese. So good.

Golden Raisin and Fennel Sourdough Pocket Bread

Makes 12 Pocket Breads


Raisin Soaker

2 tsp ground fennel seeds
1/2 C (70 g) golden raisins
1/4 C (40 g) cornmeal
1/2 C hot water, about 100 degrees F

Mix the ingredients in a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest for about 8 to 12 hours. Drain before using. 

Sourdough Pre-Ferment

15 g (1T) active sourdough starter
1/2 C cool water
105 g (3/4 C) whole wheat flour

Mix the ingredients in a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest for about 8 to 12 hours, until bubbly. 

Final Dough

All of the pre-ferment
1 1/4 C lukewarm water
450 g (3 C) bread flour
12 g (2 tsp) fine sea salt (or regular non-iodized)
All of the raisin soaker, drained
About 3/4 C cornmeal for coating the pocket breads


  1. Scrape the pre-ferment into a large bowl.
  2. Add the water, bread flour, salt, and raisin soaker, and mix with a wet hand until combined. 
  3. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes. 
  4. Do four "stretch and folds" of the dough (check out this post for a video of the stretch and fold method), every 30 minutes. 
  5. Cover the dough and let rise until doubled, about 3 hours. 
  6. Spray a muffin tin with spray oil.
  7. Divide the dough into 12 equal parts, about 100 grams each. 
  8. Form each into a ball (the dough will be sticky so flour your work surface and wet your hands). 
  9. Lightly spray the balls with water, roll the formed balls into the cornmeal, and place them, seam side down, into the cavities of the muffin tin. Cover with oiled plastic wrap and let rise until puffy, about 3 hours. 
  10. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. 
  11. Slash the tops of the breads, and spray the tops with water.
  12. Bake the rolls for 5 minutes, open the door of the oven, and spray the rolls once more with water and close the door. 
  13. Bake for another 25 minutes, until nicely browned.
  14. Remove the rolls from the oven and turn them out onto a cooling rack. 


I'm so excited about this month's Bread Bakers theme, which is all things grapes. Check out the amazing grape-themed breads the #BreadBakers made this month:
#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme.  Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to

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  1. I have a legendary disdain for raisins, but I actually LIKE golden raisins in bread. Throw in some fennel? MONEY! I love the look of these wee pocket breads!

    1. Thanks my friend. I think they are pretty cute too!

  2. Perfect little pocket breads for folks who don't need a whole loaf! I love the concept, Karen, and I especially love your flavor combination. Thanks for joining our Touch of the Grape event!

  3. Wow! I always look forward to seeing what you bake, Karen, and you never fail to amaze. These are GORGEOUS and what a great flavor profile (I'm getting all Top Chef-y here)! I bought Josey Baker's book a couple of weeks ago but haven't had much chance to look through it. Running for it now!

    1. Thanks so much Robin! That book has been hanging around here for a few weeks too, and I'm so glad I gave these a try.

  4. Thank you for introducing me to pocket bread. Now it's another bread on my to-do list.

  5. What an amazing flavor profile! Love it. Thank you for introducing me to Josey Baker Bread cookbook too, Karen. I will have to check that out!

  6. This looks so fantastic. I had no idea what "pocket bread" was. Now I know. Thanks for sharing with #breadbakers.

  7. These are awesome on so many levels! I can't wait to make them for a picnic or road trip. (Please make the other recipes!)

  8. I hereby nominate you the Bread Baking Queen Extraordinaire!

    What a great recipe, I never thought of making sourdough in a muffin tin, and now I cannot stop thinking about it... portion control by definition

    great post, Karen....

  9. I love the they are little pockets with a lot of flavor.

  10. These are gorgeous! I never would have thought of that flavor pairing but it sounds really good!

  11. I really love this concept! I should start baking more bread like this. Lovely flavour combination!

  12. Hi Karen, I have a dumb question. What do you mean by an active sourdough starter?

    1. Not a dumb question at all! It means a starter that has been fed and given a chance to get all bubbly.


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