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Jan 10, 2023

Fennel and Golden Raisin Bread

This fennel seed and golden raisin bread, with its soft crumb and crunchy crust, is perfect sliced and slathered with butter, as toast, and for sandwiches. 

Fennel and Golden Raisin Bread in a basket.

This bread is flavored with some crushed fennel seeds and lightly sprinkled with golden raisins, and the loaf gets it light golden color from durum flour.

The dough, even with a higher percentage of durum flour in the dough, comes together easily, and it is pretty effortless to work with and shape. 

Fennel and Golden Raisin Bread loaf on a cooling rack.

This bread is crusty on the outside and soft and moist on the inside. When you take the loaf out of the oven, you'll love hearing the crust crackle and pop as the bread is cooling on the rack. 

About Durum Flour: 

Durum is a high protein flour made from durum (hard) wheat. It's the same wheat that is used for semolina flour, which is more coarsely ground, like corn meal, and is used to make pasta. 

Durum flour adds a sweet nutty flavor and pale yellow color to your loaves. 

You can substitute some durum flour for your all purpose or bread flour in your favorite bread recipes, but expect the dough to behave a little differently depending on how much you add. 

If you want to experiment, try substituting about 25 percent of the flour in a bread recipe with durum. You may need to add a little more water than the original recipe calls for. The flour also benefits from "autolyse," which is when you mix the flour and water together and let it sit for a while before you add the salt and yeast. 

Fennel and Golden Raisin Bread slices on a round wood cutting board.

If you are using durum in a recipe that calls for long fermentation, keep a close eye on the dough because durum can speed up the proofing time. You don't want to overproof the dough because it might not be as resilient as when you use all strong white bread flour. 

This loaf is 66 percent durum flour. The dough rose rapidly for the first proofing. For the second proofing, I let it rise for one hour at cool room temperature, and then transferred it to the refrigerator for an additional 40 minutes, where it continued to rise. 

Finding durum flour: I haven't been able to find the flour locally in stores and usually order it from King Arthur Baking. If you are uncertain as to whether or not the flour you found is what you are looking for, look for the words "finely milled" or "semolina rimacenata."  

When I'm ready (and brave enough), I want to try King Arthur's (almost) 100% durum sourdough recipe

Fennel and Golden Raisin Bread slices on a round wood cutting board.

Tips for Making This Fennel Seed and Golden Raisin Bread:

It really helps to have a stand mixer to knead this dough, but you can definitely knead it by hand. Be sure to let the flour, water, and preferment autolyse (rest so that the flour can fully absorb the liquid) for about 30 minutes before adding the yeast and salt. 

This dough is 66 percent hydration. The dough will seem dry at first but will eventually come together. I only added a little bit of extra water (about a tablespoon) when I added the yeast and salt. 

Chill the dough about 40 minutes before baking. It will continue to rise, but will not become slack, making it easier to score and preventing it from deflating when scoring. 

Regarding the golden raisins, also known as "sultanas," be sure that they are fully inside the dough. Any that are sitting on the surface will pop out and turn dark and round. I had to pick off a few after removing the loaf from the oven. 

Fennel and Golden Raisin Bread Toast on a plate.

This bread emerged from the oven with a dark crunchy crust after baking it in an enameled steel pan. You can also bake this bread on a baking stone or sheet pan with steam, or in a preheated cast iron Dutch oven. Be sure to check your bread after 30 minutes of baking. 

Helpful Tools:

I used a granite ware roasting pan for baking the bread (I did not preheat the pan). As mentioned above, you can use a pre-heated Dutch oven, baking stone, or sheet pan for baking. Each may change the timing a bit. 

An instant read thermometer is the best way to figure out if your bread is done. Bake the loaf until the interior temperature reaches about 205 to 210 degrees F. 

A spice/coffee grinder comes in handy for chopping the fennel seeds. I have one for spices and one for coffee beans. 

I also used a stand mixer for kneading the dough. You could also knead by hand. 

Cambro food storage container with markings for letting the dough rise. 

Be sure to use a kitchen scale. I actually use two, one for flour and other irregularly-sized ingredients, plus a tiny one for weighing salt so that I can use either table, kosher, or sea salt and still use the same amount by weight. 

Fennel and Golden Raisin Bread on a round wood cutting board.

This month, the Bread Bakers are baking breads with dried fruits. Thanks Kelly of Passion Kneaded for hosting. 

Bread Bakers Logo.

#BreadBakers is a group of bread-loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme.

We take turns hosting and choosing the theme each month. 

Fennel and Golden Raisin Bread sliced in half.

Fennel and Golden Raisin Bread

Fennel and Golden Raisin Bread
Yield: 2 loaves
Author: Karen's Kitchen Stories
Prep time: 30 MinCook time: 40 MinInactive time: 18 HourTotal time: 19 H & 10 M
This fennel seed and golden raisin bread, with its soft crumb and crunchy crust, is perfect sliced and slathered with butter, for toast, and for sandwiches.


For the Preferment
  • 113 grams (1 cup) bread flour
  • 113 grams (1/2 cup) water
  • Pinch of instant yeast
For the Final Dough
  • 340 grams (1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon) 75 to 80 degrees F. water, plus an additional tablespoon for incorporating the yeast and salt
  • All of the preferment
  • 454 grams (3 1/2 cups) patent durum flour
  • 120 grams (1 cup) bread flour
  • 2.7 grams (3/4 teaspoon) instant yeast
  • 14 grams (1 tablespoon) salt
  • 4 grams (1 tablespoon) fennel seeds, coarsely chopped
  • 116 grams (3/4 cup) golden raisins


  1. The night before, mix the preferment ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. Cover and let rest at room temperature for 14 to 16 hours.
  2. To make the final dough, add the water to the bowl with the preferment and stir with a large spoon or dough whisk. Add the flours and stir until you have a shaggy dough. Mix with the dough hook for about a minute or two until you can't see any dry ingredients. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel and let rest for 30 minutes.
  3. Sprinkle the top of the dough with the yeast and the salt, along with a tablespoon of water. Using your hand, pinch and fold the dough to incorporate the additional ingredients until you can no longer feel them in the dough.
  4. Knead the dough with the dough hook on low for three minutes and then knead on medium speed for two more minutes. The dough should be smooth. Knead in the fennel seeds and raisins for one minute.
  5. Tranfer the dough to an oiled bowl or dough rising bucket, cover, and let rise in a warm spot for 2 hours, folding the dough at the 1 hour mark.
  6. Divide the dough in half and form each half into a boule. Place them, seam side down on a lightly floured surface and cover with plastic wrap. Let rest for 20 minutes.
  7. Continue to shape the loaves so that they are oblong (batard) and place them, seam side down, onto a floured tea towel on top of a plate. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for one hour at room temperature.
  8. At the one hour mark, move the loaves to the refrigerator and chill for 30 to 40 minutes. Heat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  9. When ready to bake, score the loaves lengthwise with a lame or thin serrated knife. Bake in an oven set up with a steam pan for about 40 minutes. Alternatively, you can bake the loaves individually in a granite ware pan or pre-heated Dutch oven. The second loaf can wait in the refrigerator while the first loaf is baking.
  10. Cool the loaves completely on a wire rack before slicing.

Nutrition Facts



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durum, raisins, fennel seeds
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Recipe adapted from From the Wood-Fired Oven by Richard Miscovich. If you ever wanted to build your own wood-fired oven in your backyard, this is the book. Plus, it's filled with amazing bread recipes. Published in 2014. 

Would you like to comment?

  1. That looks amazing and I adore fennel in my bread!

  2. You always have such beautiful crumbs! I love that chill before baking. Scoring is always so tricky with high hydration doughs.

    1. I recently tried it and I'm going to use that trick in the future.

  3. That's a beautiful and flavorful filled bread Karen!

  4. That crust is absolutely perfect, Karen! What a beautiful loaf!

  5. I love anything with fennel. I can't wait to give this a try, Karen. Thanks for sharing. You are such a goddess with bread. So inspiring.

  6. Hi Karen! I found this recipe on pinterest and made one loaf with fennel and raisin and the other one with mixed seeds... they were amazing!!! the dough was such a pleasure to work with, the preferment and the semolina flour gave these loaves a very nice flavor and lovely color. Now I just want to make all you breads!!! they look wonderful! I'll be coming back to your blog for more recipes definitively....thank you so much for sharing your knowledge... greetings from Colombia.


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