Well, it’s official. We like this walnut raisin boule so much here at Chez Grace that it is now a staple.
This little gem hits our morning craving for sweet bread without adding too much sugar or fat to our diets, which is a good thing since diabetes reared its ugly head in our house last fall. So, with deepest gratitude for the foundation recipe to the folks at King Arthur Flour Company and their book, King Arthur Whole Grain Baking,1 this is my adapted version and my first sourdough bread recipe. Ta da!
Making a 100 Percent whole wheat sourdough walnut raisin bread from scratch
Sure, making this loaf requires a bunch of little steps over seven hours, but your real working time investment is only about thirty minutes overall. Even that is broken up into five or ten minute bursts, sometimes only a couple of minutes. The yeast in the sourdough starter, time and the oven do all the rest. The waiting for the bread to cool enough to slice at the end is the hardest part!
After the recipe, you will find a captioned slide show that illustrates the process step by step. For a list of the special tools you need, see Sourdough baking tools and common kitchen substitutes.
Whole wheat sourdough walnut raisin bread recipe
Capped with a crunchy crust, and punctuated with juicy raisins and chunky walnuts, this recipe makes a moist, slightly dense, but tender loaf with a nutty flavor underscored by hints of both sweetness and sourdough.
Serving size: 1 slice
Time: 7 hours, including 30 minutes active time, broken into small bits throughout, and 45 minutes bake time
Oven temp: 450º Fahrenheit (F) first 15 minutes, then 400º F
- 6 oz active stiff whole wheat sourdough levain
- 8 oz filtered water
- 10 oz stone ground whole wheat flour
- 1 t sea salt
- 1/2 C organic, unsulfured raisins
- 1/2 C organic walnuts, coarsely chopped
- Break the levain into a small bowl and pour the water over. Soak for ten minutes.
- Mix in the flour, salt, raisins and nuts until well-blended and all the flour is moist. It takes three to four minutes to do this by hand.
- Cover the dough loosely and let it rest for twenty minutes.
- Turn the dough onto an unfloured board and with lightly flour-dusted hands, knead for ten minutes (eight minutes if using a machine, according to King Arthur), periodically scraping up any dough that sticks to the board and incorporating it back into the ball.
- Quickly make a rough ball of the dough and set it in an ungreased bowl, loosely covered, in a cool spot (King Arthur recommends 60º F) for three hours. At the end of the three hours, the dough should be about double its original size.
- Gently turn the dough out onto your unfloured board and quickly form into a rough ball. Be as gentle as possible with the dough. Cover loosely and let rest for twenty minutes. (This step helps the dough relax and be more pliable for shaping.)
- While the dough rests, lightly dust a banneton or linen-lined bowl with flour.
- Following the shaping method illustrated in this King Arthur video, shape the dough into a ball and place upside down in the banneton or linen-lined bowl.
- Set in a warm place, such as on top of the refrigerator or in the oven with the light on. Cover basket and all with an inverted bowl and let proof for 90 minutes, or until dough has nearly doubled.
- If proofed in oven, remove basket from oven and set aside. Place your pizza stone in the oven on the middle rack and a cast iron pan on the lower rack. Set the oven to preheat to 450º F and the timer for 30 minutes.
- Heat a cup or so of water on the stove top for pouring into the cast iron pan just before baking the bread.
- Dust your pizza peel with corn meal and carefully turn the dough onto it, right side up. Using a pastry brush, dust off excess flour.
- Set out your razor blade, lame, or sharp knife for slashing the bread. If you have wee ones about as I often do, set this tool where tiny hands cannot reach it.
- When the timer goes off, slash the bread in whatever design suits you, then open the oven and very carefully pour one cup of the hot water into the cast iron pan. Immediately slide the bread from the peel onto the baking stone and close the oven door.
- Bake for 15 minutes, then re-set baking temperature to 400º F and bake 30 minutes more.
- Remove loaf from oven to cooling rack. Top should be golden brown. Bottom should resound with a hollow “thok” when you tap it with your knuckle.
This is a YayYay’s Kitchen recipe. Please link back to this page if you base a recipe of your own on this one.
The process, in pictures
For me, photographs are a big help when I’m learning a new method or working with unfamiliar ingredients and tools. If that’s true for you, too, here’s a slide show illustrating the steps.
Small accomplishments feel good don’t they?
Well, that’s it. I’ve achieved a small milestone with this first recipe and it feels good! I’m looking forward to experimenting lots, building on my knowledge and adding to my recipe bank.
What big or small accomplishment have you achieved lately? Go ahead, brag about it! We all deserve a pat on the back now and then, and I’m happy to give some.
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1“Sourdough: 100 Percent Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread,” in King Arthur Whole Grain Baking: Delicious Recipes Using Nutritious Whole Grains (Woodstock, VT. The Countryman Press, The King Arthur Flour Company, Inc., 2006), 290-291.