The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sourdough Walnut Bread

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txfarmer's picture

Sourdough Walnut Bread

Another winning recipe from Nancy's Silverton's "Breads from the LA Brea Bakery", I adapted it slightly to use my 100% starter, and changed the fermentation schedule a little too. The best part about this walnut bread is ... the walnuts, A LOT OF walnuts. The original recipe asked for 14oz, which is a lot to start with, I tend to go overboard with nuts and dried fruits in breads,  ended up dumping in all the walnuts in the jar, a little less than a pound. I don't regret one bit. So fragrant, rich, and crunchy, walnuts are a great match for the ww and rye flour in the dough.


Walnut Levain

*makes 2 big loaves, each a little over 2lbs

- sourdough sponge

mature starter (100%),139g
barley malt syrup,21g
ww flour,227g
rye flour,99g

1. Mix, cover, leave at room temp for 5 hours until there are visible bubbles on the surface, put in fridge for 8 to 12 hours.

- main dough

water,170g (I added a bit more to make the dough softer, didn't measure how much more though, I tend to like softer/wetter dough)

sugar, 1tsp

bread flour,624g


walnut oil,2tbsp


walnut halves, 14oz (I used almost 450g)

2. Mix water, sugar, flour, sponge, autolyse for 20min. The books says: add salt, mix until medium strength, mixer at medium speed for about 5min. Add oil, mix until well absorbed, another 2 min. Knead in walnuts. I mixed for much less time since my dough is softer and I intend to S&F.

3. Original recipe says to store the dough in the fridge right away for overnight bulk rise. I know from experience that it wouldn't be enough time, and I don't have a lot of time the next day to finish the bulk rise, so after mixing, I let the dough rise at room temp for 1 hour then put the dough in the fridge. Since my dough is softer than the original version, I did 2 S&F during that hour too.

4. The next day, take the dough let it continue to rise at room temp to double of original size if it hasn't so far. Mine needed another hour. Divide into two portions. Round, rest, shape into whatever shape you like. Rise upside down in brotform. Mine only needed 1.5 hrs, even though the book says 2 to 2.5.

5. Bake with steam for 45 min at 450F.


I really like this scoring pattern.

It bakes pretty dark, and that's the way I like it. The fully caramelized crackling crust matches perfectly with crunchy walnuts. And it sings!

There are so many walnuts, they are peaking out everywhere

This is a bread perfect for toasting. The recipe yields a lot of bread, I at first considered to only make half, luckily I didn't. It's so delicious and fragrant that we can't seem to stop eating it!

From all the breads I've made, and there have been a lot, this is definitely one of our top 10! And it's not hard to make at all.


Sending this bread to Wild Yeast's YeastSpotting event.


Pmccool's picture

Absolutely beautiful!


txfarmer's picture

Thanks Paul!

louie brown's picture
louie brown

It's true, this bread has a rich, deep flavor. But my sponge was exhausted and my formed loaves were overproofed in an 85 degree-plus kitchen. I must work on scoring for the batard. The boule is fairly straightforward. Also, I don't care for the floured top on this bread. I think yours is much nicer. Here is my crumb:

I covered slices with marscapone and thin slices of very ripe figs. Absolutely delicious. This loaf is the perfect accompaniment for cheese, better than anything you will find in a restaurant.

txfarmer's picture

That looks great! I also doubt any restaurant would stuff so much expensive ingredients into a bread.

dmsnyder's picture

You used almost 50% (baker's %) nuts! It must be wonderful with cheese. I'm thinking a tangy blue, say a mountain gorgonzola.


txfarmer's picture

50% nuts - I know, isn't it great! :P

breitbaker's picture

I have to agree! this looks gorgeous! So often when I'm adding a large percentage of nuts/dried fruits to my sourdoughs the crumb suffers! Is there any tips out there on this?  The last bread I made of this sort was from the CIA Artisan Breads book.  Walnut, Cranberry and Apple SD...the flavor was outta this world, but I though the crumb certainly could have been more open. The book didn't show a crumb not sure what I should expect...

Cathy B. @ brightbakes

Franko's picture


I've been seeing some great formulas and ideas out of Nancy Silverton's"Breads from the LA Brea Bakery" recently. Your Sourdough Walnut bread just looks excellent Txfarmer! With breads like these in the book, it's one I'll have to pick up.  Thanks for sharing the recipe.


txfarmer's picture

I love that book, which has a lot of good everyday breads, as well as some unusual ideas. I adapted her sourdough bagel formula and it has become a favorite. Also made her chocolate cherry bread, then added my own spin - another personal favorite.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Marvelous!  And great photography too!  ...Bringing out those gorgeous nuts and dark crust!  I like your scoring too!  

I've got a blue cheese spread (crumbled blue with thick cream + a few days) waiting in the cool box.  Sweet butter, this spread and your bread...  ahhhh the good life!  Gotta get cracking those new walnuts.


txfarmer's picture

That blue cheese spread sounds delicious!

ehanner's picture

Very nice txfarmer. I'll have to try this soon.


txfarmer's picture

Thanks Eric! I think it will work well with pecans too, perfect for fall and Thanksgiving.

wally's picture

With all those walnuts, it must be gorgeous with a good cheese. 


txfarmer's picture

Well aged cheddar - that's what I am having it with, delicious.

ananda's picture

Hi txfarmer,

I also think the changes you have made in the process make a lot of sense and will improve the bread.

They charge me £10/kg for walnuts in College...what a nerve!   I'll have to just make it at home instead!



txfarmer's picture

That's a lot of money for walnuts! I get mine from a warehouse/wholesale place here in TX, not a bad deal, and it comes in 4lb bags.

BerniePiel's picture

TxFarmer, I must say your breads are really looking stunning.  The photography is superb, I think some of the best on this website.  But the breads themselves, as is evident here, are at the top of the craft.  Great work and thanks for sharing in such detail.  Much appreciated.

Bernie Piel

caryn's picture

i know you posted this a long time ago, txfarner, but I stumbled upon it while browsing this site for Nancy Silverton's breads because I just borrowed her old book from the library. This bread is fantastic! And apparently very flexible, as I realized this morning that I was not going to be home this morning to bake it on the prescribed schedule. I let the dough sit out for 3 hours  in my proofer at 78 degrees,. (it had not doubled overnight in the refrigerator.) then after dividing the dough into proofing baskets, I returned the loaves to the refrigerator while I went to my appointment. When I returned I removed the loaves from the refrigerator and baked them after 2 hours. This recipe is wonderful. I recommend it to anyone.