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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!
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This was a fun loaf to make. I’m letting it cool right now and can’t wait to dig in! Thank you for another home run recipe!!!!!! You’re a GENIUS 🥳
I bet it smells amazing in your house!
Delicious bread, chewy crust with a very moist and open crumb. I was concerned that it was so sticky after bulk rise to shape into round, but it came out fine. Bulk rise in oven on “Proof” setting for five hours which was correct amount of time. Best sourdough bread I have ever made!
So glad it turned out well for you, Jim!
Hello! I don’t see in the directions where to mix in the walnuts? I noticed in the comments you mention adding them in sometime after the 2nd stretch & fold, but I can’t seem to see where in the directions it says to add them.
Thank you for catching! I had made an update a few weeks by adding a video to the recipe card, and that must have accidentally gotten deleted. It is now in, and you’ll mix the walnuts in during 3rd set of stretch and folds!
Wow you’re awesome, perfect timing! Thank you so much! CAN’T WAIT for this one!!
Thank you so much for this recipe. I personally don’t like Walnuts, but this now is my husband’s favorite sourdough bread. It turned out spectacular with a great rise and beautiful crust!
That’s wonderful to hear, so glad the loaf was enjoyed!
My friend had raved about this recipe and I’m not that keen on walnuts but thought it was worth a try because she said this is all she is baking now. Well, I’ve been making sourdough for 2 years regularly and this is the best sourdough loaf I have ever made. The crust was just perfect and the crumb was soft and springy and the best crumb ever. And so tasty! I used a lift and stretch method for the second rise but otherwise everything else was as per the recipe. Can’t wait to try your rye recipe!
So glad that you enjoyed this recipe, Liz! It’s one of my favorite bakes when I want something different from a regular loaf. And appreciate your friend sharing my site with you!
Hello do you have to do the second rise overnight in the refrigerator can I just put it in the refrigerator for about two hours for the final rise?
Hi Jessi! You can either do the final rise in the fridge, or on the counter until it has grown about 1/3rd, which usually takes about 1 1/2 to 2 hours depending on temperature of your home. This video will show you how to tell when your sourdough is correctly proofed and ready for the oven on final rise.
Love this recipe! Tried 2 different nuts( walnuts and hazenuts) and both turned out great. Will make this recipe again. Thank you for sharing!
that’s great to hear! i’ll have to try it with hazelnuts, sounds delicious.
My first bake of 2022! Great recipe — I doubled it and did one loaf with nuts, one without. Really like the addition of the honey — I might even play with increasing it a bit next time because I love the flavor and fragrance it brings to the bread.
Cheers to lots of sourdough baking this year! Glad you liked this recipe.
Loved this recipe! I made this loaf on Christmas Eve for my family. I used pecans and cranberries. This loaf was so soft and so good. A must make. I can’t wait to make another loaf.
yay, glad you liked it! now i can’t wait to try it with the pecans and cranberries. yum.
Family absolutely loves it! Hafa Adai from Guam. Thank you so much for sharing My family now insist on a weekly loaf. 😍
Oh, so great to hear, all the way from Guam! Really glad that your family is enjoying this sourdough bread.
Another epic recipe, super easy to follow and absolutely delicious
so glad you enjoyed this one, Louise!
Do you put the parchment paper in the dutch oven or do you grease it? Silly question but its my first time making bread. Do
hi! i score my bread while it is on the parchment paper, then transfer parchment paper with bread on it, into the dutch oven. i do not grease it.
So happy I stumbled upon this recipe. I had some difficulty shaping because of the stickiness of the dough; but keeping my hands well floured and my silpat barely floured was really helpful. I persevered and it paid off. Getting the nuts dispersed evenly was also a bit tricky. I think adding them at the second set of stretch and folds instead of the third would work better. I added 1/4 of them to the top of the dough before each fold. Adding them at the second set would have given me one more set of folds to incorporate them more thoroughly. Oh! I almost forgot – I doubled the recipe. In the end, the loaves were fantastic and tasted wonderful. The texture and the crisp, brown crust were perfect. I will definitely add this recipe to my collection. I still can’t believe I can make sourdough just as good as any bakery.
Wonderful, so glad to hear you liked the bread! The reason for not adding the nuts in the 2nd set of stretch and folds is because they would inhibit the gluten formation and structure, making the dough weaker. That is why it is good practice to add them later in the process.
Just made this bread and it’s gorgeous and delicious.
I have a question though! Have you tried more starter in the recipe?
Hi Joana! I like to keep the starter amount where it’s at in this recipe so that it proofs at a nice and gentle pace. Feel free to experiment though!
So it’s 6pm here and I didn’t realize I needed to bulk ferment twice. I was hoping to do my stretch and folds and wack it in the refrigerator overnight. Is that possible? 😬
Hi Melissa! I advise against doing the bulk fermentation in the fridge – just the final rise in the fridge. It slows fermentation done so much, and during the bulk fermentation is where you really want the yeast to be in a warmer environment where it’s happy.
A really delicious loaf, thank you!
I am wondering if I am supposed to put the dutch oven into the oven while it is preheating? I did not do it and it just does not seem to be cooking right.
hello! no need to preheat the dutch oven. will bake perfectly without!
Oh my goodness! The most perfect loaf of sourdough yet. Such an easy, calming recipe to make. Absolutely joyful experience. Thank you!
Yes,If works out for me I’ll love to send you a pic. Luz. I’m baking it right now 🙏
I made this bread today and it’s absolutely delicious!! Thanks for posting :)
oh, so wonderful to hear! glad you enjoyed the loaf.
Another lovely recipe! Can’t wait to try. I’m very interested in purchasing a challenger bread pan but concerned about the weight of it. Would you speak to that?
Baking your rustic rye bread this morning. Your recipes are amazing thank you !
Hi Beth! I can’t say enough good things about the Challenger Bread Pan. It is absolutely a game changer for consistently great oven spring, and such a thin crust!
It is made from all cast-iron so definitely has some good weight to it. However the handles on both pieces of the pan make it very easy for me to move and use. Here’s a quick link for you to reference the pan, they just reduced the price by $70 which is also great news! https://challengerbreadware.com/product/challenger-bread-pan/?ref=heartbeetkitchen
Thank you! It arrives tomorrow and I can’t wait to use it!
I made my 31st loaf today with your recipes 💕
I’ll keep you posted!
Hi there! I’m enjoying your recipes and I have a question about the Challenger Bread Baker. I’m used to making your recipes in my Le Creuset – not preheating it first and putting the scored dough into the cold dutch oven and baking with great results. If I get the Challenger pan, can I bake your recipes the same way – cold pan? Or do I need to preheat the Challenger pan in the oven while it preheats also? And if so, do I adjust the temperature of the oven also? Thank you so much for your recipes – I’m enjoying making sourdough from all you’ve taught!
Hi Bari Jo!
Yes, you can bake the same way with the Challenger Bread Pan, in a cold pan. I’ve done so with great results. But I encourage you to try the recipes by preheating the Challenger – the results are seriously the best I have ever had. Super thin crust, incredible rise. If you chose to preheat the Challenger, do so at 500 degrees F, then turn oven down to 450 degrees F when bread goes in.
Hi – Do I have to use all 3 types of flour?
Followed your recipe to the gram and wow. What a great bread profile. My wife asked for a walnut bread and I found your recipe in a search and it will be in my regular line up Thank you for sharing!!
so glad to hear you enjoyed the recipe! it makes great french toast, too. :)
I really liked the texture of this bread and it came out perfectly after doubling the recipe. I did the overnight proofing which made it really easy and I was able to adjust it to my schedule that way. I preheated our clay baker before baking and adjusted the baking to 20 minutes in the baker and 20 minutes without the lid. I used a thermometer to determine when the interior of the bread reached 210degrees. This bread is not sweet and because of my sweet tooth I will add more honey or sugar when I bake it next. For now I will use it for cinnamon toast and I’ll bet it makes fabulous French toast!!!!
Will this recipe work with all purpose flour or do I need to use the comb of flours?
Hi Kathy! All purpose flour on its own would be too weak for this recipe. You’ll need to use the combination.
Do you need to oil the inside of the Dutch oven or put in baking parchment first. Many thanks in advance.
Hi Glen! I use parchment paper underneath my loaf, in the dutch oven.
I want to try this, but can you add the honey later in the process? Like during stretch and fold?
Hi Olivia! The honey needs to be added with the other liquid to help it disperse. If added during the stretch and fold, it will not work because it will not mix into the dough and you will have sticky dough that you will not be able to work with.
This is my favorite recipe ever. I’ve made it quite a bit these past few weeks and decided to double it this last time around. I only have one dutch oven and the one I cooked outside of it burned. 😢 Would you recommend turning the temp down? Or cooking it for less time??? I’d love to make this is bulk.
Hi Katelyn! I’m so glad this recipe is a favorite of yours! Unfortunately you’ll need another cast iron dutch oven, or bread cloche, -aff link- because of the high heat of the oven. Baking bread on a baking sheet, or any type of aluminum, etc, just can’t protect the bottom of bread with that
high of heat. So if you’re thinking of baking sourdough in bulk, maybe look on your local Facebook marketplace of Craigslist for dutch ovens or bread cloche’s. You can find some good deals on them!
I made it yesterday. It turned out great, except Walnuts were not evenly spread out thru bread. Is it all right to roughly chop walnuts? But this is a great bread everyone should try making .
What is the difference between “bread flour” and “all purpose flour”? We don’t have flours called by those names in Denmark.. The bread looks soooo good, and I must try a new recipe on sourdough bread! 😋
hello! bread flour here in the states is wheat flour that has a higher protein percentage, around 13%. all-purpose flour is also wheat flour, but has a protein percentage around 11%. hope that helps!
And flour for pizza has an even higher percentage, right?
If you are a bread novice and not fluent with sourdough starter, would it be possible to make this with classic yeast?
I love making bread and the huge reward it offers, but somewhat irregular in having the time so maintaining a starter unfortunately out of the question 🙈.
Hi Jane! Unfortunately, I don’t have much experience with converting sourdough recipes to be used with classic yeast. I did find this conversation on the topic of substituting dry active yeast for sourdough starter though: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/18931/how-substitute-yeast-sourdough
This is beyond beautiful – like I’ve never been all about walnuts but you might have converted me it’s so gorgeous.
I absolutely love the little crunch and toastiness. Give it a go! Thanks for reading. xo
Walnut Sourdough was a big success, as was the red fife recipe! Looking forward to your next sourdough post! Thanks very much, Deborah
ps happy to send a photo 😊
Hi Deborah! So glad you liked both of the recipes! Would love to see a photo – you can email me at email@example.com — xo!
OMG OMG This looks SO GOOD. I will try and make this within the next month and send you a photo (if successful haha).
Yes, Lisa! I want to see your creation!
This sourdough is absolutely gorgeous, Amanda! Also here in New England I definitely use my oven as an alternative heat source ;) There’s nothing like standing by a hot oven, cooking something delicious, while it snows out!
Thank you, Sarah! We enjoyed this loaf several times over the last few weeks. Stay warm!