If you’re new to sourdough, and are looking for a sourdough starter to begin, I ship my 13+ year old starter to anyone in the U.S! You can order it here.
As most northerners know, heating your house in the winter with oven heat gives you the greatest return on your investment. ☺️ In this case, a fresh loaf of honey sourdough bread with roasted walnuts.
I’ve had plenty of time to test this recipe over the last few weeks, during the frigid polar vortex we’re experiencing here in Wisconsin. I’ve been alternating between baking this loaf and my rye sourdough.
I’ve made a few nut and dried fruit sourdoughs, but decided to keep the fruit out of this one and focus on the roasty, toasty walnuts which give the bread a fabulous toasted flavor, and texture. The roasted walnuts are tossed in cinnamon while warm, to then infuse the dough when folded in.
The bread is lightly sweetened with honey, just 30 grams in the whole loaf, leaving room for a good slather of butter and extra honey when it’s fresh out of the oven. And it’s über delicious.
A combination of bread flour, all-purpose, and sprouted whole wheat lead to a flavorful and and fluffy crumb, with a dark, crunchy crust. Heavenly.
For this recipe, you’ll use your sourdough starter when it’s at its peak, using the technique from Artisan Sourdough Bread Made Simple.
a. mix starter, water, and honey
b. mix in flours and salt
c. autolyse for 1 hour (means to let the dough rest so that the flour can absorb the water)
d. perform 2 stretch and folds, 30 minutes apart
e. fold in walnuts
f. bulk ferment until doubled in size
g. shape and score
h. 2nd rise, on counter or in refrigerator
A few common questions and notes:
You’ll know your sourdough starter is ready for baking if doubles within 4 to 5 hours and has a domed top. You want to use it then, when it’s at its peak. You can also test it by taking a teaspoon of it, and gently putting it in a glass of water. If it floats, you are good to go. I have lots of tips on starters HERE, if you’re looking to learn more.
Since this recipe has nuts in it, you want to be more careful and make shallow cuts when you are scoring, rather than deep. I use this type of bread lame. The sole purpose of the scores in this loaf are to let the gasses escape while it is baking, rather than trying to create a big ear or other artistic designs.
I tested different cold rises and I found that 8-10 hours was the sweet spot. When I went past 14 hours, the bread did not have as much rise in the oven and resulted in a flatter loaf. Still delicious, but not quite the outcome I was looking for.
I use a 5 quart Le Creuset Dutch Oven. This allows the bread to bake with steam the easiest way, rather than having to put a pan of water in the oven. Well worth the investment!
My absolute favorite part of this bread is seeing the walnuts stand out on each slice, a surprise each time your knife cuts a piece. And the presence of irregular holes throughout, which show the work of the wild yeast, helping it to naturally rise!
Oh, and those holes are best filled with honey and butter, just sayin’. 😉
Bake and be merry, friends!