The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Potato-Nut Bread from South Tyrol made with Rye Sour

dmsnyder's picture

Potato-Nut Bread from South Tyrol made with Rye Sour


I made this bread from Salome's formula a couple months ago. At that time, I couldn't get good quality hazelnuts, so I made it with walnuts only. It was very good tasting, had amazing keeping quality and was excellent after having been frozen.

A new crop of very good tasting hazelnuts finally appeared in my local Whole Foods Market, so it was time to make this bread again. Salome has posted this bread on her own TFL blog since I first made it. She made her bread using a rye sour rather than a wheat flour levain. This sounded like a great idea, so I did it.




Amounts (grams)

Baker's percentage

Bread flour



Roasted potato



Toasted hazelnuts & walnuts

200 (100 gms each)





Active rye sour






Ground coriander

2 tsp



Notes on Ingredients

You may note that I have increased the flour for this bake. Maybe my potatoes had more water content or my flour had less. (Or my water was wetter?) In any case, the dough was even gloppier than previously as I mixed it, so, after giving it a good chance to develop but still having medium-consistency batter in my mixer bowl, I added 100 gms more flour. The ingredient list reflects this.

At this point, I'm not sure what to recommend to others except to not add “too much” flour. This is supposed to be a very slack dough. Alternative methods I would consider would be to hold back some of the water and add water as needed (rather than flour) during mixing. This has the advantage of not throwing off the percentages of other ingredients relative to the flour. Another related solution would be to plan on using the “double hydration” technique often recommended for very slack doughs. This entails initially mixing with only 2/3 to ¾ of the total water until the dough has developed some (gluten) strength, then adding the remainder of the water and mixing until it is incorporated.


  1. The night before baking, activate the rye sour by mixing 20 gms starter with 100 gms of water and 80 gms of whole rye flour. Cover and ferment for 8-12 hours.

  2. The next day, roast, steam or boil the potatoes. Peel them.

  3. In a large bowl (or the bowl of your mixer), dissolve the rye sour in the water. Add the flour and potatoes, mashed or put through a ricer and mix to a shaggy mass. Cover and let rest (autolyse) for 30 minutes.

  4. Add the salt and coriander and mix to moderate gluten development. (10-13 minutes at Speed 2 with a KitchenAid)

  5. Transfer the dough to a floured board and, with well-floured hands, stretch it to a 14” square. Distribute the nuts over the dough, roll it up and knead for a few minutes to evenly distribute the nuts throughout the dough.

  6. Form the dough into a ball and place it in a lightly oiled large bowl. Cover the bowl tightly.

  7. Ferment the dough until doubled in volume with stretch and folds at 30, 60 and 90 minutes.

  8. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured board. Divide it in two equal pieces and pre-shape each into a log. Dust with flour and cover. Let the dough rest for 10-20 minutes.

  9. Shape each piece as a bâtard and place them, seam side down, on a linen or parchment paper couche.

  10. Cover the loaves and proof them until they have expanded to 1.5 times their original volume.

  11. 45-60 minutes before baking, pre-heat the oven to 430F with a baking stone and your steaming method of choice in place.

  12. Transfer the loaves to the baking stone and bake with steam for 10 minutes, then another 20 minutes without steam. If the loaves are browning too fast, turn the oven down 10-20 degrees.

  13. Bake until the internal temperature of the loaves is 205F.

  14. When the loaves are done, leave them on the baking stone with the oven off and the door ajar for an additional 5-10 minutes to dry the crust.

  15. Remove the loaves to a cooling rack and cool completely before slicing

I sliced the bread and tasting it after it was completely cooled. The crust had softened somewhat but was still crisp. The crumb is moist but pleasantly chewy. The nuts are soft but provide little pops of nuttiness. This is particularly true of the hazelnuts, which I roasted longer than I usually do. The overall flavor is outstanding. There is more of a sour flavor than my previous bake of this bread, presumably due to the rye sour. There is no discernible rye flavor, but it does add to the overall complexity of the flavor as well as to the sourness.

I do prefer this version with the walnuts and hazelnuts and with the rye sour. 

I'm taking one of the loaves up to San Francisco tomorrow to nourish 3 of my siblings who otherwise would be suffering with only bread from Acme, Boudin, Semifreddi, Arizmendi, Tartine, Noe Valley, etc. to eat. <sniff>





Janedo's picture

Mmmm! I have a hazelnut tree and so LOTS of hazelnuts. Must give it a try soon. It looks wonderful.

dmsnyder's picture

This is a wonderful bread. I  recommend it. You could certainly bake it will all hazelnuts rather than a mix of hazelnuts and walnuts.

Another bread I've thought of making with hazelnuts is the Pecan-Cherry Levain. I'm overdue to make that one again.


ehanner's picture

I must say David, that is a beautiful photo of a wonderful looking bread. Your photo and baking skills are now "in tune".


dmsnyder's picture

I'll gladly share my special photographic techniques.

1. Point.

2. Shoot.

Well .... I do fiddle with a few camera settings. Then again, a few Photoshop tweaks ...


Salome's picture

Simply beautiful.

The dough is wet, still I was surprised that, after the folds, I was able to shape it like a normal bread. But I'm convinced that you know how to handle wet dough and that you're not scared of such doughs that I completely trust your judgement and some more flour was needed.

Send me over a slice (or better, a whole loaf!) - as I started university last monday I don't get to bake bread. My head is too full of other things I want to do, need to do, should do. In the meantime, I'm eating rather dry, packaged, whole rye sourdough. Not satisfying.


dmsnyder's picture

It is amazing how the dough comes together by time it's ready to shape. I wonder if this is an effect of the potatoes.

I go into withdrawal if I cannot bake bread for more than a week. I hope you find a kitchen you can use on weekends.

If I could fax you slices of the bread, I surely would! My brother and sisters are enjoying it a lot.

So, are you studying law? What university?

The brother from whose home I'm writing is an attorney specializing in real estate. One of his particular specialties is vineyard deals in Northern California. There may be a way to package your several interests.

Good luck with your school year!


hansjoakim's picture

Great bakes, David :)

I was just about to post a rather nasty joke about killers, thieves and lawyers, but now I think I'll keep my mouth shut.

Salome's picture

haha, Hansjoakim, I'd still be interested in hearing your nasty joke. ;-)

I'm studying Social Science ("Gesellschaftswissenschaften", an interdisciplinary subject consisting out of sociology, political science, ethnology, culture antrophology, gender studies, sustainable developement and pedagogy) and law. It's complicated to explain - basically I'm getting a social science bachelor and along the way I get the basics of law as well. But this way I'm not becoming a lawyer or something comparable, if I not decide to fully focus on law.

Maybe it's easier to understand what I'm doing if I tell you which classes I'm taking this semester:

  • private law (Obligations)
  • introduction to social science
  • methods of social science
  • socioscientific basics of sustainable developement
  • developementsociology
  • international relationships
  • the history of the middle east (20th century)
  • Proficiency class of English

So far I'm loving it!

I have got a decent oven at Basel, that's not the issue. It's more that I simply was too busy the last week that I didn't have the energy and time for baking. I'm sure this will change in the coming weeks . . .





dmsnyder's picture

Hi, Salome.

That's quite a load! Unless Swiss university courses are a lot less demanding than I imagine, I hope you are a speed reader and already have extraordinary skill in time management.


SylviaH's picture

Count me in and maybe you add car salesmen!

SylviaH's picture

Picture perfect looking loaves and crumb!  I'm not a fan of hazelnuts..but your loaves look fantastic and the photos are great!


dmsnyder's picture

The hazelnuts are not obligatory. You can use just walnuts. Pecans would probably be good too.


longhorn's picture

Hi David!

I look forward to your postings for the photos of the bread are (well almost always) inspiring and this is no exception. Hard to imagine a more perfect loaf!

Bravo, Maestro!


dmsnyder's picture


Floydm's picture


dmsnyder's picture