Not too long ago I shared with you The Best Sourdough Recipe, and in that post mentioned that a second bread from Maurizio’s site was undergoing fermentation. So, here I am to talk about that bread, probably one of the top ten best we’ve enjoyed in the Bewitching Kitchen. Considering how many loaves of bread I’ve baked through several years of blogging (almost seven, my friends), I wouldn’t take such a remark lightly…  Something about mixing a sweet and tart fruit with toasted walnuts, plus the complex flavor of the sourdough makes this loaf pretty spectacular.  It was superb with a nice Roquefort cheese, but toasted and enjoyed even without adornments it was a feast for the taste buds.

Cranberry Walnut Sourdough2

(adapted from The Perfect Loaf blog)

for the liquid levain starter:
(make 12 hours before making the dough)
35 g liquid starter (at 100% hydration)
35 g whole wheat flour
35 g bread flour
70 g water

for the final dough:
400 g white bread flour
88 g whole wheat flour
12 g rye flour
440 g water at about 90 degrees F (divided, 400 g + 40 g)
10 g sea salt
100 g toasted walnuts, in pieces
70 g dried cranberries
125 g levain (made as above)

Build the liquid levain 10 to 12 hours before you want to make your final dough. Leave it at room temperature (around 72 F).

Next morning, mix flours and  400 g of water very well in a bowl and cover. Ensure all dry flour is hydrated. Leave it to autolyse for 1 hour.  Add the levain with the reserved water and hand-mix it into the dough until it is very well incorporated.  Leave it 30 minutes at room temperature, or if you have a proofer, set it to 78 F and keep the dough at this temperature all the way through. After 30 minutes, add the salt, and mix well.

After the salt is incorporated perform folds for about 2-3 minutes in the bowl. Grab under one side, pull up and over to the other side, then rotate the bowl a bit and repeat. Do this about 30 times or so (it goes fast and easy). At the end the dough should still be shaggy, but it will be a little more smooth and will slightly start to hold itself together more in the bowl. Now you are ready to start bulk fermentation.  If your home is at 78 to 82 F, bulk fermentation should last 4 hours.

During fermentation, do 4 to 5  sets of stretch and folds (I did five), adding the walnuts and cranberries on the second cycle of folding. Perform the first three foldings at 15 minute intervals, the remaining ones at 45 minute intervals then leave the dough to ferment for a full hour undisturbed.  If your dough is too “weak”, seeming to lack structure, add one extra cycle of folding, then leave the dough undisturbed for another hour.

Lightly shape the dough into a round, cover with inverted bowl or moist towel, and let rest for 20 minutes.  After 20 minutes remove the towel or bowl and let the dough rest 5 more minutes exposed to air. This step helps dry out the dough just a bit so it’s not too sticky during shaping.  Lightly flour the top of your dough rounds and flour the work surface. Shape into a batard or boule. Place in a banneton very well floured, leave it at room temperature for about 20 minutes, then retard in the refrigerator  for 15-16 hours.

Heat oven at 500ºF. Bake 20 minutes at 500ºF with steam, and an additional 25-35 minutes at 450ºF, until done to your liking. Cool completely on a rack before slicing.


to print the recipe, click here


Comments: For a bread so heavy with goodies, the crumb turned out a lot more open than I expected. I decided to add one extra cycle of folding (for a total of five) because I felt the dough was asking for it. When the dough speaks to me, I listen.  This method of retarding the dough in the fridge overnight and baking early next morning is perfect. You can use this basic recipe and add other nuts, seeds, dried fruits, olives, just use it as a basic formula.  If your additions are heavy, wait for the second cycle of folding to incorporate them, because it will be easier.  The proportion of white, whole wheat and a touch of rye was perfect to our taste, I would not change it a bit.

Maurizio, thanks again for a great recipe!

crumb shot
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    • I take it out while my oven is heating – I have a big oven that takes a while to heat, so I say my bread stays about 45 minutes at room temperature… Which is not that bad, the oven has to reach temp anyway 😉


    • You can have it for breakfast, you can have it for lunch, you can also have it for dinner… 😉 Seriously, it’s such a great bread, we fell in love with it from the first little bite…. (it was stilll hot, we could not quite wait)

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Your loaf is beautiful, I follow Maurizio and he is a master bread maker, even milling his own flour. You produced a beautiful loaf I would love to have that skill but really have to learn how to work with levain and understand hydration etc.. You did a great job.


  2. I too follow Maurizio closely and his breads are beautiful! Your loaf looks spectacular Sally and I am convincing myself to make this one real soon since I have all the goodies at hand 🙂 Thanks for sharing!


  3. You did Maurizio’s recipe proud, Sally. This bread looks fantastic and I love how the nuts and cranberries are spread throughout each slice. I started following his blog after you last mentioned him and he, like you, has some wonderful bread recipes. It’s a treat viewing the loaves of the two of you.
    Seven years? Wow! Now that’s an accomplishment. Whether it’s your actual blogiversary, congrats!


    • Nope, not yet – 7 years in June, and of course I will not let that date pass unnoticed… 😉

      so glad you enjoy my breads, it’s indeed one of my favorite things to make in the kitchen, although I tend to bake bread only occasionally. We love it, but take it more as a treat rather than daily thing.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Nice to “see” you here, Maurizio! I see several of my readers already know your blog and follow you… I am not surprised! I might bake something this weekend, not sure yet what bread… so many recipes, so little time!


  4. Well, that looks awfully good! I love the colour of the crust.

    Many thanks for saying what the hydration of your starter is. (I can’t quite bring myself to get another pet. The scars from the last one are still too vivid.)


      • They can indeed be very cruel. I think I need a whole other lifetime to recover. And a bigger bank balance (the last time, trying to get rid of excessive sourness, I had upped the feeding schedule to almost every few hours – it probably wasn’t that often; but it did begin to feel like I was dealing with a squalling newborn. Flour prices had also gone up yet again and I just couldn’t justify throwing out so much flour.)


        • I discovered there are so many recipes that use sourdough starter discard–pancakes, scones and cakes to name a few–that you never have to throw excess starter out.


  5. Just made this, following the recipe to the letter, which I rarely do. I wanted to make sure I got it right before playing with it. My house is rather cool, Irish houses are full of draughts! I put it in the hotpress to rise and it worked perfectly. I’m waiting for it to cool before I can slice it but the loaf looks wonderful already. I’ll try dark Greek cherry and pecan next time

    Liked by 1 person

    • So glad you tried this one… I have a recipe that is similar in terms of additions, but not sourdough – I really need to find a chance to blog about it – it is delicious


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