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Jan 27, 2013

Sourdough Bread with Walnuts & Raisins

Sourdough bread with walnuts and raisins

This is great bread. I'm just saying. And, yay, I had all of the ingredients!

I was a little worried about the medium rye for a while. I have a written inventory of all of the different flours I've got in the house. Pretty organized, right? Except I couldn't find the book in which I wrote the inventory....

Sourdough bread with walnuts and raisins

I found the dark rye, the white rye, the pumpernickel. Where is the medium rye? (first world problems!). I was getting ready to combine some dark and white rye (although I'm pretty sure that's not exactly a substitute, I'm not a rye expert) but then, eureka, I found it at the bottom of the garage refrigerator, a refrigerator that was purchased specifically to support my ingredient habit. If I had more room in my garage, I'm not ashamed to say that I would add a freezer.  Fortunately, reason prevails. So far. We still use the garage for the purpose for which it was intended. Cars. Imagine that.

Sourdough bread with walnuts and raisins

There was also some additional drama. As I dumped the loaves out of the bannetons onto the baking stone, my oven began to go a little bit crazy. It suddenly insisted on baking on "convection roast" at the wrong temperature. I got it to bake (actually convection roast) at the correct temperature, but every time I opened the oven door, it would revert to 375 degrees F. I was going to spray the oven interior to add additional steam, but I was so freaked by the turn of events, that I skipped that. I did, however, fill a steam pan with boiling water.

A baker with a wacko oven? This is just not going to work. I definitely regret having just one oven (first world problems again).

Sourdough bread with walnuts and raisins

Fortunately, the loaves came out beautifully. They baked a lot faster that the recipe described. Thank goodness for the instant read thermometer. The bread was getting really brown so I decided to take its temperature. This bread was ready way before it was supposed to be. The bread actually took about 15 minutes less time to finish baking.

Interesting. While I'm not happy with the turn of events, I might actually experiment with the convection bake and roast modes once we get this beast repaired.  Now, how will we get a technician out to the house to get this thing fixed in time for some baking projects I have urgently planned (more first world problems)?

Sourdough bread with walnuts and raisins

This bread is "mixed method," which means it involves both natural yeast and commercial yeast. It takes two days to make. On the first day, I made the levain, which is made from a sourdough starter. On the second day, I mixed the levain into the rest of the ingredients. If your sourdough starter has not been fed for quite a while, feed it the day before you make the levain.

Sourdough Bread with Walnuts and Raisins



82 grams unbleached all purpose flour
41 grams water
66 grams sourdough starter


308 grams unbleached bread flour
119 grams whole wheat flour
47 grams medium rye flour
3/4 tsp instant yeast
13 grams salt
All of the levain
341 grams water
95 grams coarsely chopped walnuts
95 grams raisins


To make the levain:

Add the ingredients to a one or two quart bowl and mix until incorporated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and ferment at room temperature for 8 hours or overnight. 

To make the bread:

In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk all of the dry ingredients except the raisins and walnuts. Add the levain and the water. Mix in the levain and the water with a large spoon or dough whisk. Mix with the dough hook on low or "stir" for one minute. Increase the speed to the next level and mix for 15 minutes. Lower the mixer speed to the lowest level and add in the walnuts and raisins. Mix for one minute, remove the dough, and knead by hand until fully incorporated. 

Place the dough into an oiled container and allow to rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until almost doubled. 

Gently deflate the dough and divide into two even pieces. Shape into boules.

Allow to ferment for about 60 to 90 minutes, until doubled. 

Bake the loaves in a 450 degree oven on a baking stone with a steam pan for 40 to 50 minutes. 

Or maybe convection roast for 30 minutes?  

This recipe is the January bread of the month (the BOM) for the Facebook Artisan Bread Baker's group is Sourdough Bread with Walnut and Raisins. Darlene posted a photo of her bread and I asked her if she was willing to share the recipe with the group for the BOM. Thank you Darlene for a wonderful contribution.

Would you like to comment?

  1. Yum. Looks so delicious .. I always have a hard time making bread but I must try this recipe.

    1. You should! Bread baking is unlike any other baking.

  2. Rye!
    Kin the future when such a small amount of medium rye is used feel free to substitute with whole rye.

    Whole Rye =endosperm, germ and bran
    Medium Rye= Endosperm and germ
    Light Rye= endosperm only

    Also if you did make this sub, I would also include bread flour in the levain, why not, this is chance to get a little more gluten development!

    Bake On!

    1. Thanks David! Good to know. You are the rye expert =)

  3. Nice loaves and very funny story! My Jennair also sometimes turned rogue on me, switching from baking to broiling mode, only letting me know what had happened by emitting black smoke from incinerated baguettes...
    Medium rye is really a special thing, though very popular for bread baking in Germany it is hard to come by in the US (I got mine from NYBakers). Before I ordered it online, I experimented with different ratios of white rye and whole rye, but never got the same results.
    By the way, I compared NYBakers medium rye in a side by side test with German Typ 1150 (brought from my last visit) - I liked the bread made with the US medium rye better!

    1. That is good to know! And what is it about these expensive ovens. Must be the computers! I'm such a nut about watching bread as it bakes (I'm going to burn out my oven light) that I was able to adjust. Again, thanks for the flour information!


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