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I make a simple bread dough in a large bowl, cover with plastic, and let it rest overnight.

In the morning, I want to put some chocolate morsels and raisins in the dough, and then bake it.

No problem but:

On this occasion I want none of the raisins (etc) to come through the surface, to the crust, of the bread.

(Think of it as a surprise raisin bread, if you will.)

Are there any tips or accepted techniques for this?

What I will probably do is: just pull the dough ball roughly apart - spread it apart, butterfly it - then spread the raisins over that flat surface; push it together again. Of course this means there will only be rather a "layer in the middle" of raisins/chocolate.

I guess, one could roll out the dough ball quite flat, spread the raisins. Roll up. That would distribute them pretty evenly (and leave a non-raisin-layer on the outside) - but - then you'd be messing with the dough, removing all the air from it I guess - right?

I suppose the ultimate solution would be: mix the raisins through completely (probably the night before, before mixing in water). Separately, make some of the dough with no raisins. In the morning, "coat" the raisin dough with a kind of thin skin of the non-raisin dough. That seems wrong though, I don't know. And again you'd be rolling out the "no-raisin" part flat, I guess - no good right?

Again my question - is there any accepted technique for this, any way I don't know about, how it is done, how should I do it? How would you achieve it, if called to? Thanks!

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A couple other possibilities

If making a swirl bread doesn't appeal to you, you could mix the raisins (and chocolate) into the bread dough. You can then shape a loaf, then roll out a previously reserved piece of bread dough into a thin sheet which gets wrapped around the raisin-studded loaf. You can look up the technique in suikerbrood recipes, where the dough wrapping kept the sugar pearls from melting through the crust - it looks like a one-quarter portion of dough will encase a loaf of three times as much dough (four quarters equaling one loaf).

I suppose you could alternatively whip up a simple flour and water paste dough for the loaf's outer wrapping, or moisten the surface of the loaf, and roll in flour, until it builds up thick enough to hide the raisins. These kinds of wrappings will hide the raisins, but it will also change the texture of the surface of the loaf - a simple water and flour dough will be harder, leaner, and more brittle, than a loaf whose dough is made soft and tender with fats, sugars and proteins. On the other hand, it will be easier to make, doesn't require setting some of the dough aside beforehand - and the texture contrast may appeal.

Also, side note - make sure the dough has time to raise again after the shaping, it will let the dough bounce back and collect air again from being deflated during the raisin-filled dough being rolled, folded, or spiraled.

You could make pastries, rather than a loaf, if it pleases you - rolling the (plain) dough flat and making, for example, cinnamon style buns and filling it with raisins tucked into the spiral, or else flat folded over pastries with raisins layered flat in the middle, or in little pouches stuffed full of raisins and chocolates. Baking time will be shorter with these, and it will make interesting individual delicacies.

  • That included some good tips on what to do if indeed you do want to make a "skin" around it, thanks. – Fattie Nov 12 '16 at 15:20
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Rolling it up with the stuff inside is not only a reasonable way to do this, it's a really common kind of bread. Try searching for "raisin swirl bread" - usually this means cinnamon-raisin swirl bread, with cinnamon sugar along with the raisins, but you don't have to do that part.

You do take air out while shaping it, but that's normal when you're making bread. You let it rise again after shaping.

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