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Feb 14, 2013

Whole Wheat Sourdough with Toasted Walnuts and Cracked Wheat

Whole Wheat Sourdough with Toasted Walnuts and Cracked Wheat

This is the perfect bread to serve with flavorful cheeses and pâtés, along with fall fruits, such as apples, pears, and grapes. It is great thinly sliced and toasted. The crust is nice and crunchy, and the crumb has a wonderful toasted walnut flavor. 

It's also makes great toast with breakfast. Very hearty and satisfying with fried eggs. 

Whole Wheat Sourdough with Toasted Walnuts and Cracked Wheat

I adapted this recipe quite a bit from a recipe I found in Amy's Bread, a book about bread that I wholeheartedly recommend. 

The original recipe calls for a biga starter, whole wheat or rye berries, and making two one pound loaves in a steam oven. Instead of the biga, I used my 100% hydration sourdough starter. Instead of the berries, I used cracked wheat, and instead of the two one pound loaves in the steam oven, I made a 2 pound boule in a cast iron Dutch oven. I had to make some adjustments to the amount of flour from the original recipe since the water/flour ratio of my starter is different from the biga starter in the book. It's also hard to judge how much water the cracked wheat has absorbed. Just keep your flour and water ready, and add them by tablespoons to adjust for the variables (including the weather!).

Whole Wheat Sourdough with Toasted Walnuts and Cracked Wheat


57 g / 2 oz 105 to 115 degree F water
3/4 tsp active dry yeast
8 ounces of cool water
8 ounces of mature 100% ratio sourdough starter
1 T honey
1 T vegetable oil
85 g / 3 oz cooked cracked wheat (simmer for about 20 minutes. Can be kept in the refrigerator overnight)
255 g / 9 oz whole wheat flour
128 g / 4.5 oz unbleached bread flour plus an extra 75 g (about 5 T) of flour to add to the dough if it's too wet. 
3 T course corn meal or polenta
1 T kosher salt
6 ounces of toasted walnut pieces (toast on a sheet pan in a 350 F oven for about 10 minutes. Can be done in advance)


  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the warm water and yeast. Let rest for five minutes. 
  • Add the cool water, the sourdough starter, honey, and oil and mix with a dough whisk or large wooden spoon. 
  • Add the cracked wheat and continue stirring.
  • Add the dry ingredients, stir until combined, and then knead with the dough hook for seven to ten minutes. The dough should be tacky, but not sticky. Adjust the flour and water as you knead. 
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 20 minutes.
  • Add the walnuts and knead on low until just combined.
  • Form the dough into a ball and place it into an oiled bowl or dough rising bucket and allow to rise until doubled, about two hours.
  • Form the loaf into a large boule, place it seam side up into a floured banneton (or a bowl lined with a heavily floured tea towel), and allow to rise until doubled, about 90 minutes. Note, I mixed brown rice flour and whole wheat flour to dust the banneton. 
  • In the meantime, place the Dutch oven in the oven and preheat it to 450 degrees F.
  • When the dough is ready, carefully remove the Dutch oven from the oven and dump the dough out into it. Slash the dough with a sharp serrated knife, cover, and place back in the oven. 
  • Bake the loaf, covered, for 30 minutes.
  • Removed the Dutch oven from the oven and carefully remove the partially baked loaf. Place the loaf on a sheet pan, reduce the oven to 400 degrees F, and bake the loaf for another 15 to 20 minutes, until it reaches an internal temperature of 205 to 210 degrees F. 
  • Cool the bread on a cooling rack for at least 90 minutes before slicing. 

Side note: We all have assumptions about what we like and don't like, and in many cases, it precludes of from giving these foods a second chance (or even a first chance). For me that was nuts in bread. I'm now reformed. 

Would you like to comment?

  1. looks great Karen.... try to soak the wheat in water over night instead of cooking them, yu keep the crunchy texture and nutiness

    1. I definitely will! I haven't worked with wheat berries and am still experimenting. Love the feedback.

  2. You are really great with the bread Karen, I need to try one of these recipes they all look so great.

    1. Thanks! You should! Bread baking is addicting. Next thing you know, it takes over your pantry and freezer.


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