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Dec 23, 2015

Cranberry, Walnut, and Pecan Rye Bread

Cranberry, Walnut, and Pecan Rye Bread

This cranberry, walnut, and pecan rye bread will make your house smell amazing while it is baking. It's the combination of the the toasted walnuts and pecans, plus, naturally, the smell of baking bread.

It's delicious with goat cheese or Boursin and, of course, it's wonderful just toasted and buttered.

Cranberry, Walnut, and Pecan Rye Bread

Bread Geek Talk Alert:

This bread is comprised of 50 percent rye flour, which has an entirely different character than wheat flour. It's lower in gluten and behaves differently when kneaded. It can get kind of "glue-like" if overworked so you have to be really careful to not knead it too much. It will seem pretty sticky while you are working with it, but it's important to resist the urge to add more flour or your bread will be way too dense. As it is, the crumb (interior) of this bread is tighter than a typical loaf with the same hydration level (the percentage of water to flour).

Cranberry, Walnut, and Pecan Rye Bread

The dough was pretty easy to work with, and proofed fairly quickly. I also got a decent oven rise out of this loaf, but would have liked more. Next time, I might try replacing about 3 1/2 tablespoons of the bread flour with vital wheat gluten.

The nice thing about rye is that the loaf develops flavor over time. With such a high percentage of rye, it's actually better to wait about 12 hours before cutting into the loaf.

This recipe is the Bread of the Month for the Facebook group, Artisan Bread Bakers. Check out the group. There are some pretty amazing master bread bakers (serious master bakers) as members.

The recipe was contributed by David of Hearth Baked Tunes. He adapted it from Jeffrey Hamelman's amazing book Bread: a Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes.

Cranberry, Walnut, and Pecan Rye Bread


Sourdough Starter

272 grams whole rye flour
219 grams water
14 grams 100 percent hydration sourdough starter

Final Dough (Makes two loaves)

113 grams dried cranberries
All of the sourdough starter, minus a scant 2 tablespoons
400 grams water
590 grams bread flour (see note above about vital wheat gluten)
45 grams whole rye flour
17 grams salt
1 1/2 tsp yeast (you can skip this if you have about double the time for both proofings)
58 grams toasted and coarsely chopped walnuts
58 grams toasted and coarsely chopped pecans


  1. Mix the sourdough starter ingredients, cover, and set aside to mingle for 14 to 16 hours. 
  2. Soak the cranberries in water for about 15 minutes and drain. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the starter and water, and mix with a spoon.
  4. Add the bread flour, rye flour, salt, and yeast. 
  5. Mix on the lowest speed for three minutes. Next, mix on the second speed for 3 minutes. Add the cranberries and nuts and mix on low until just combined. 
  6. Form the dough into a ball and place it into an oiled bowl or Cambro bucket. Cover and let rise in a warm spot for 60 to 120 minutes, until doubled. 
  7. Divide the dough in half and shape into rounds or oblong loaves. Proof in floured and covered bannetons or floured tea towel lined bowls until puffy, about an hour to 90 minutes. 
  8. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 460 degrees F with a baking stone on the middle rack and a broiler pan underneath for steam. 
  9. Bring one cup of water to a boil on the stovetop for the steam. 
  10. When the loaves are ready, turn them out of their baskets onto a parchment lined peel. Slash the loaves and transfer them, parchment and all, onto the baking stone. 
  11. Cover your oven window with a dish towel and pour the boiling water into the broiler pan. Shut the oven door.
  12. Bake for 15 minutes, and then lower the oven temperature to 430 degrees F. Bake for an additional 22 to 25 minutes, until the loaves reach an internal temperature of 200 degrees F. 
  13. Cool completely on a wire rack. 

Would you like to comment?

  1. It does take a lot of skill to make a nice bread with rye flour, in my kitchen it normally involves a lot of frustration and a few choice words...

    I like the flavor of rye, but it's definitely a skill that takes patience to master baking with it

    As usual, you get an A++++


  2. рецепт хороший. Мы очень любим ржаной хлеб с добавками.Но очень хотелось бы посмотреть на разрезе на мякиш. Спасибо.

    1. I wish I had a shot. It's a fairly tight crumb.

  3. Beautiful bread Karen! I just made a very similar bread but mine was whole wheat - I'd love to try the rye version.

    1. Thanks Marie! Rye is pretty different, much stickier.

  4. Note: In the US, very few homes have scales to measure the weight of ingredients; it took me a while to convert to standard volumes (cups, teaspoons, etc.) I did add gluten at the rate of 1 Tbl/cup flour and the results is spectacular. The elasticity returns and rises like regular flour. In my variation i added 1 cup of chopped walnuts Plus the cranberries. We serve this with creamcheese spread in our BnB, Journeys End Lodge in Williamstown Massachusetts. Our guests love it. It also excellent for french toast.

    1. I'm so glad you and your guests liked it! Your gluten addition sounds just right.
      Regarding scales, I have four, and am a total convert for using a scale in baking. In a pinch, this master weight chart works very well.

  5. Lovely bread, This time around I have added a little bit of honey (previously used molasses) and cinnamon, result in the wholesome breakfast fruit n nut loaf. Thanks Karen.


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