Conditioning Raisins

 

Conditioning raisins is an important step in the production of raisin breads. If raisins are not conditioned but added directly to the dough, they will draw moisture from the bread during fermentation and baking. This also causes the bread to stale during shipping and distribution, which reduces the shelf life.
Raisins can be used right out of the case, but experienced bakers commonly condition raisins in advance. This involves re-hydrating raisins to the desired moisture level.

  • For small quantities, the American Society of Bakery Engineers recommends that quantities of not more than 30 lbs be conditioned by adding 12 to 15 percent of warm water by weight to the raisins right in the case. Temperature of the water should not exceed 75° to 80°F and 3.6 to 4.5 lbs of water to 30 lbs of raisins. Re-close the poly-liner, cover the container, and turn it a number of times to distribute the water uniformly. Turn again after about 2 hours and allow to stand for an additional 2 hours for a total conditioning time of at least 4 hours or overnight. Longer periods may over condition and release more solids from the raisins. Any remaining liquid should be added to the dough as part of the liquid component in the formula. Do not condition raisins in excessively hot water. For best results, raisins should be about 75°F at the end of the process.
  • For larger quantities, the American Institute of Baking recommends that raisins be placed in a trough or tank with a screened bottom opening for draining the water. Completely cover the raisins with water at 75° to 80°F and then, drain. Close the drain to retain leached solids and cover the trough or tank and allow the raisins to absorb the surface water for at least 4 hours or overnight. Longer periods may over condition and release more solids from the raisins. Any remaining liquid should be added to the dough as part of the liquid component in the formula. Do not condition raisins in excessively hot water. For best results, raisins should be about 75°F at the end of the process.