Running Wild with Rosemary Raisin Bread (BBB June 2019)

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BBB: Let's Keep Baking summary: waywardness – again…; recipe for Wild Focaccia with rosemary and raisins – based on Judy’s County Fair prize-winning Rosemary Raisin Sourdough Bread recipe; commercial yeast in sourdough bread? I think not; outdoor baking; information about Bread Baking Babes;

Bread Baking Babes (BBB): Rosemary Raisin Sourdough Bread

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

BBB June 2019

If the bread is intentionally made to be completely flat instead of a loaf, can it still fall into the category of the BBB’s June bread?

Or should I be asking if it is “intensional”? :lalala:

indicates the internal content of a term or concept that constitutes its formal definition;
In logic and mathematics, an intensional definition gives the meaning of a term by specifying all the properties required to come to that definition, that is, the necessary and sufficient conditions for belonging to the set being defined.
-Bo Bennett, Logically Fallacious, The Ultimate Collection of Over 300 Logical Fallacies

In my defense – and a weak defense, it is – I WAS going to make Rosemary Raisin sourdough buns. But then, suddenly, the weather shifted for a moment. It was gloriously sunny and warm for a second. We had to use the barbecue to bake the bread! (I know; I still could have made buns. Shhhhhh!! Don’t say anything!)

I’m also going to claim that Judy gave me permission to alter the shape:

Please feel free to change it up, if you wish: different fruit or herb or sweetener. I look forward to seeing what you all do.
– Judy, June 2019 bread, message to BBBabes

Here’s how things went with making rosemary raisin sourdough bread:

BBB Rosemary Raisin Sourdough diary:

6 May 2019, 17:39 This sounds delicious!

Spring has been quite late here and, as usual, our potted rosemary plant from last year died sometime in February. Of course it did… why would this year be any different from previous years?

Here’s hoping I can get a good size small pot of rosemary from the garden centre.

5 June 2019, 10:19am I’m trying to learn to plan ahead and am thinking about making this bread tomorrow! (I know. This is unprecedented for me to be so early….)

I am even reading the recipe to make sure I have all the ingredients!

This is also the only baked good containing raisins that I will eat. The golden raisins add a nice touch of sweetness. – Judy, preface to BBB June 2019 recipe, message to BBBabes

Yay! I do have all the ingredients… (if you can count Thompson raisins as being equivalent to Golden raisins).

While looking at the recipe, my brain started hurting by trying to comprehend “ounces”. I had to alter the recipe to add the gram equivalents (I hope it’s correct that the honey and olive oil measures are ounces rather than fluid ounces):

5 June 2019, 19:18 We’re thinking about turning it into focaccia for tomorrow night’s dinner. I did transplant rosemary in the garden, but it’s very small and just hanging on. It’s still quite chilly at night so we are going to have to buy fresh rosemary. I don’t dare cut any from the poor spindly little plant shivering in the garden.

Recipe can be halved or doubled – BBB June 2019 recipe

Doubled!! With just over a kilo of flour called for, even the single recipe looks like it’s going to make a lot of bread.
28 oz [794 grams] bread flour
8 oz [227 grams] whole grain flour
1 oz [(28 grams)] Kosher salt
2 tsp. [6 grams] active dry yeast
1/8 cup [2 Tablespoons] chopped fresh rosemary
16 oz [454 grams] sourdough starter (100% hydration)
-BBB June 2019 recipe

I think what I’ll do is quarter the recipe. Except for the rosemary. Just half a tablespoon of rosemary seems on the low side.

And active dry yeast??? Why, if there is so much sourdough starter?

6 June 2019, 08:15 I have been playing with my calculator to quarter the amounts of the ingredients

Suddenly alarm bells are going off about how much salt is called for. A baker’s percentage of 2.7% feels rather high.

I’d better check again. click click ... click click click

Yes. I still get 2.7%. :stomp:

Ooops!! I forgot about the flour that is in the starter. I’ll try that once more: click click ... click click click ... click ... click click click That seems a little more reasonable at 2.2%. But I think I will still lower the amount and use just 6 grams in the quartered recipe. Especially considering my extreme naughtiness at turning this bread into focaccia. Which means I’ll be sprinkling salt on top as well.

And because I’ve already transgressed, I’m also going to add less honey and olive oil into the dough…. :lalala:

14:15 The dough is beautiful! It’s rising nicely and I can’t imagine how crazily it would be expanding if I had added commercial yeast as well! I threw a couple of handsful of raisins onto the dough, covered it put it back into the oven with only the light on. Then we headed out on our bikes to go out again and look at the high water on the lake (the only way to see the break water is to know where it’s supposed to be).

The current water level [on Lake Ontario] is about 82 cm above average for this time of year and […] the water will remain “very high” well into the summer. […] Toronto announced earlier this week that the lake had hit 76.03 metres above sea level — the highest point in recorded history.
– CBC News, 2 June 2019

On the way home, we’ll get rosemary and salad items for tonight’s dinner.

17:46 We got home about 20 minutes ago. The dough looked perfect! So, I shaped it as focaccia, tossing several sprigs of rosemary on top, covered it with a tea towel, and will let it sit until just before dinner.


T will take over the baking – on the barbecue, of course; it’s absolutely beautiful outside.

19:51 T is turning on the barbecue. I sprayed the bread with water and dimpled it, drizzling more olive oil on top and scattering some fleur de sel around. How much did I add? I have no idea!

BBB June 2019

20:13 We sat outside in the garden, gazing up at our beautiful locust tree, that is just starting to leaf – at least 2 weeks later than in previous years.

Locust Tree

Somewhere high in the tree, hidden by the tiny chartreuse coloured leaflets, a robin sang exuberantly. From time to time, T would lift the lid of the barbecue, saying “it’s puffed up nicely” and “almost” and “look at how nicely golden it’s getting”.

At last it was time for dinner! The bread is a little smaller than I thought it would be. I guess I could have made half the recipe instead of a quarter. But. It’s gorgeous!!

How wonderful to have our first summer-like dinner! We did eat indoors (it’s still a tiny bit cool) but celebrated being able to sit outside in the evening, as we cooked dinner.

BBB June 2019

We had a big salad. And Judy’s bread.

Who knew that raisins and rosemary would be such a fantastic combination? (Actually, we did – if only we had thought about it for a moment. One of our favourite pasta dishes, Nigella’s chicken, calls for raisins and rosemary!)

BBB June 2019
BBB June 2019

I know we were supposed to turn the bread into a loaf but I cannot imagine it being better than it was as focaccia. This is definitely a keeper.

Thank you, Judy!

Here is the BBB recipe for rosemary raisin sourdough bread that we were given. And here is what I did to it:

Wild Focaccia with Rosemary and Raisins
adapted from Judy’s second-place ribbon (sourdough breads) recipe for Rosemary Raisin Sourdough Bread at her County Fair

makes 1 focaccia – enough for 2 hogs or 4 normal people


  • dessert spoonful Jane Mason whole wheat starter (100% hydration) from fridge
  • 50gm 100% whole wheat flour
  • 50gm water


  • flour [the full BBB recipe calls for “28 oz bread flour” + “8 oz whole grain flour”)]
       » 185gm unbleached all-purpose flour
       » 57gm 100% whole wheat flour
       » 4gm vital wheat gluten
       » 5gm malted barley chops
       » 6gm wheat germ
  • 114gm water, divided – hold back 14gm for mixing in the salt [full BBB recipe calls for “16 oz room-temperature water”]
  • 0gm (zero tsp.) active dry yeast [the full BBB recipe calls for “2 tsp. active dry yeast”]
  • 5gm honey [the full BBB recipe calls for “2 oz honey”]
  • 15gm olive oil [the full BBB recipe calls for “4 oz olive oil”]
  • all of the leavener from above [the full BBB recipe calls for “16 oz sourdough starter (100% hydration)”]
  • 6gm seasalt [the full BBB recipe calls for “1 oz Kosher salt”]
  • 2 handsful Thompson raisins [the full BBB recipe calls for “4 oz raisins” and Judy suggested we use golden raisins]


  • good shot fresh rosemary leaves, chopped coarsely [the full BBB recipe calls for “1/8 cup chopped fresh rosemary”]
  • good shot olive oil
  • fleur de sel, to taste
  1. leavener In the evening of the day before making the bread: Put the starter, whole wheat flour and water into a smallish bowl. Mix with a wooden spoon until the flour is stirred in well. Cover the bowl with a plate and set aside overnight in the oven with only the light turned on.
  2. mix the dough If it is warm in the kitchen, in the late morning of the day you will be making the bread: When a small forkful of the leavener floats in a small bowl of room temperature water, you can go ahead and mix the dough. If the leavener does not float, stir in a little more whole wheat flour and water – even amounts by weight – cover with a plate and leave for about 30 minutes more. Chances are that it will now float. Put flours, wheat germ, vital wheat gluten, barley chops, all but 14 grams water, honey, olive oil and the leavener into a large mixing bowl. Use a wooden spoon or dough whisk to mix these ingredients to make a rough dough. Cover the bowl with a plate and leave on the counter for about 40 minutes.
  3. adding the salt: In a small bowl, whisk the salt into the final 14 grams water. Pour the salt mixture over the dough. Use one of your hands to squoosh the salt and water into the dough; use the other hand to steady the bowl – this way you always have a clean hand. At first the dough might be a bit messy and seem like it’s coming apart. Persevere. Suddenly, it will seem more like dough than a horrible separated glop. Keep folding it over onto itself until it is relatively smooth. Cover with a plate and leave to rest for about 30 minutes.
  4. Stretching and folding the dough: Turn the bowl as you fold and re-fold the dough into the center. Cover the bowl with a plate and leave on the counter (or if the kitchen is cool like ours in winter and spring, into the oven with only the light turned on). Repeat the folding step about 3 times in all at 30 minute intervals. You’ll notice that after each time, the dough will feel significantly smoother). Dump the raisins into the bowl after the second last time folding. For the final time of folding, fold until the raisins are incorporated. At that point, the dough is ready to pre-shape.
  5. pre-shaping and topping: Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit a jelly roll pan (walled cookie sheet). Oil the parchment and place the dough in the center. Use your fingers to stretch it towards the edges of the pan. It will try to bounce back. This is to be expected. When it’s almost to the edges, cover with the chopped rosemary. Cover with a clean tea towel and allow to rest on the counter for about an hour or until the dough has almost doubled.
  6. shaping and final topping: With wet fingers, dimple the dough liberally, leaving lots of indentations in the dough. Drizzle the top of the dough with olive oil, letting it pool in the wells you have created. Spray liberally with water. Scatter fleur de sel evenly over top.
  7. baking:
    • on a gas grill: Preheat the barbecue to medium high heat. Place the pan directly on the grill and close the lid. After about 5 minutes, check to make sure the bottom is not getting too brown. Cook the bread over direct heat for 10 minutes, then turn off the burner below the bread and continue cooking with indirect heat. Turn the tray around a couple of times to allow for uneven heat. To make the top golden and prevent it from scorching on the bottom, finish the focaccia on top shelf to capture all the heat that is rising.
    • in a conventional oven: Of course, focaccia can be baked indoors as well. Preheat the oven to 425F. Place the focaccia tray on the top shelf of the oven and immediately turn the oven down to 400F. Bake for about 20 minutes til golden. It’s a good idea to turn the tray around half way through the baking time – to allow for uneven oven heat.

Cut into squares with a pizza wheel and serve immediately.


flours: The BBB recipe calls for using bread flour and whole grain flour in the dough. Because our leavener is made with 100% whole wheat flour, I adjusted the amount of whole wheat flour for the dough, as well as adding wheat germ, all-purpose flour and vital wheat gluten (to mimic bread flour) in the dough. Because Ligurian Focaccia typically calls for malted barley, so I also added malted barley chops.

yeast: The BBB recipe calls for quite a lot of commercial yeast to be combined with an active sourdough starter in the final dough. Our Jane Mason starter is quite lively these days, so we decided the commercial yeast was not required. (If we had added it, we were concerned the dough would have been voracious and overrisen very quickly.)

leavener: The leavener is made with a 100% hydration starter. It takes about 5 days to create and happily resides in the fridge after that – our starter has been happily bubbling away and raising fabulous bread since July 2017. (Please see our take on Jane Mason’s Natural Starter made with Wheat Flour.)

shaping: Rather than turning the dough into focaccia, the BBB recipe called for it to be shaped into a loaf. Of course this would work. But I think if we did turn it into a loaf, we would fold the rosemary into the dough at the same time as the raisins. Please see Judy’s recipe (link below) for instructions on how to shape and bake it.

The ideal salt concentration in a dough is 1.8% (baker’s percentage). […] Avoid iodine-enriched salt. Iodine is toxic to sourdough microbes. Don’t bother buying expensive gourmet salts – you won’t notice the difference. Otherwise, any type of salt is OK for breadmaking. Large salt crysatls take up twice as much volume as fine crystals. Weigh salt using the baker’s percentage system for accurate measurements.
– Lisa Rayner, Wild Bread: Hand-baked Sourdough Artisan Breads in Your Own Kitchen, Dough Basics, p. 69
Food professionals agree that “artisan” salt, with its aromatic flavorings, tastes exactly like non-iodized table salt in cooked foods. Neither of us is able to distinguish among salt types in baked breads.
– Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François, Artisan Breads in Five Minutes a Day, chapter 1: Ingredients
[S]tick with table salt for uses like baking and soups where the flavor and texture will be lost, but for use at the table, skip the cheap stuff. Go with sea salt to get a big flavor boost and add some home-harvested interest, too.
– LoveSeaSalt (, Different Types of Gourmet Sea Salt


BBB June 2019

Bread Baking Babes BBB: Let's Keep BakingRosemary Raisin Sourdough Bread

Judy is the host of June 2019’s Bread Baking Babes’ project. She wrote:

This is one of my most favorite breads ever. When I was in culinary school, we played around with adapting bread recipes for starter, and this recipe was the results of our efforts. It always performs! (Famous last words.) This is also the only baked good containing raisins that I will eat. The golden raisins add a nice touch of sweetness.

One summer, I entered it into the County Fair, and it won a second-place ribbon for sourdough breads. It was featured in an article in the local newspaper, complete with story, recipe, and photos.

Please feel free to change it up, if you wish: different fruit or herb or sweetener. I look forward to seeing what you all do.
– Judy, in message to BBBabes

We know you’ll want to make rosemary raisin sourdough bread too! To receive a Baking Buddy Badge to display on your site: make the bread in the next couple of weeks and post about it (we love to see how your bread turns out AND hear what you think about it – what you didn’t like and/or what you liked) before the 29 June 2019. If you do not have a blog, no problem; you can also post your picture(s) to Flickr (or any other photo sharing site) and record your thoughts about the bread there. Please remember to email the Kitchen of the Month to say that your post is up.

Please note that it’s not enough to post about your bread in the Facebook group. Because of the ephemeral nature of Facebook’s posts, your FB post may be lost in the shuffle. Please make sure to directly contact the kitchen of the month if you want to be included in the BBBuddy roundup.

For complete details about this month’s recipe, the BBB and how to become a BBBuddy, please read:

Please take a look at the other BBBabes’ June 2019 bread.


BBB June 2019

As I type this, it’s quite cool again – it’s just 17C in the middle of the day! It’s a little hard to believe that the first day of summer is just around the corner!

This entry was posted in baking, BBBabes, bread - yeasted & unyeasted, bread recipe, food & drink, posts with recipes, wild yeast (sourdough) on by .

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3 responses to “Running Wild with Rosemary Raisin Bread (BBB June 2019)

  1. Kelly

    It looks fantastic as foccacia! And now that I think about it, would be great dipped in some of those herbed olive oil dipping sauces for bread. You also reminded me that I reduced my salt slightly as well.

    Good idea, Kelly, for the bread when it’s shaped the way it is supposed to be shaped as per the actual BBB recipe! (But it really is awfully good when it’s shaped as focaccia….) – Elizabeth

  2. barbara

    It looks gorgeous! I can’t imagine it being better as a loaf. Good idea to reduce the salt a bit so you could add lots of fleur de sel on top.

    Thanks, Barbara! Next time, I’m planning on using another kind of finishing salt (we have several choices in the cupboard) to see if we can detect any difference in flavour. – Elizabeth

  3. Cathy

    Your foccacia looks delicious! Great idea to bake it on the barbecue. Judy did say we could change it up so there you go! I think it qualifies.

    Thank you for the reassurance, Cathy. Although…. I’m not sure that Judy meant the shaping when she said we could change it up. :lalala: – Elizabeth


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