- 12 hours before final mixing, mix the sponge ingredients until a cohesive dough is formed. Move to a covered container and let rise for 12 hours at 75˚F.
- Also 12 hours in advance, macerate raisins in water*, just to cover. Drain well prior to mixing (ideal macerated weight is reflected in the formula).
- Mix flour, yeast, salt, water, eggs and applesauce in a spiral mixer on low for 3 minutes.
- Add biga and mix on speed 2 for 3 minutes more.
- Over the last minute slowly drizzle in oil and mix until fully absorbed.
- Add drained raisins and mix to disperse evenly.
Shaping and proofing
- Let dough ferment for two hours in a covered container with a fold after the first hour.
- Turn out dough after the second hour and divide into 200 g pieces.
- Flatten dough pieces into rectangles, dust heavily with cinnamon and premold tight 5″ cylinders.
- Let rest for 20 minutes, roll into even strands roughly 24″ long. Using two strands, weave into a braid.
- At the ends, tuck the longest piece over the others and give the braid a quick roll to make the thickness more uniform.
- Move to a well-sprayed loaf pan, lightly egg wash and proof for one hour.
- Just before baking, brush again with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar crystals and cinnamon.
- Bake at 350°F on low convection for 25 minutes.
- De-pan and cool on rack.
* To add character, consider accenting with a dash of Grand Marnier, Marsala or vin santo.
Nutrition Facts Per Serving(Calories from Fat %); ( );
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Raisins are fat and cholesterol free.