• 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).

Final dough

  • 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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5. A ¼ cup serving of raisins provides 6% of the daily value for potassium.