The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Cumin Walnut Cheese Rye Sourdough Bread, (Unintentional) Batter Method

bakingbadly's picture

Cumin Walnut Cheese Rye Sourdough Bread, (Unintentional) Batter Method

Long time, no see, TFL.

In summary I've been away, coping with a hefty workload and tending to personal matters. Of course, I continued baking---a tendency I doubt will be curbed or abandoned. Why's that? Because baking is my stress-reliever. (I'm sure many homebakers can relate.)

Without further ado, I present to you my latest experiment: Cumin Walnut Cheese Rye Sourdough Bread.


Believe it or not, this loaf (it's not a muffin, I assure you) was supposed to be Franko's 68% Rye Bread with Pumpkin Seeds.

*Lowers head in shame.*

Out of necessity and/or experimentation, I substituted the high-gluten flour with all-purpose flour, the pumpkin seeds with toasted walnuts, the caraway seeds with ground cumin, ommitted the non-diastatic malt powder, and incorporated smoked scamorza (i.e., an Italian cheese) into the dough.


In addition to the substitutions, I prepared an overnight soaker by combining the all-purpose flour and a portion of the iced water. (Anybody familiar with Txfarmer's 36+ hours sourdough baguettes?) According to my hypothesis, the hydrated soaker will develop its gluten matrix, amplify its sweetness, and strengthen the final dough.


What resulted was a soupy dough, forcing me to abandon my original recipe and producing another on spot. While panicking, I processed several scenarios in my mind until a light bulb popped over my head:

"I'll pour the batter into tins!"


After pouring the batter-like dough into four separate tins, another idea sprung into my head. I liberally sprinkled ground walnuts atop---so much that a good sum didn't adhere to the dough.

Oh, what a waste...


I'm so, so glad it worked out---much better than I anticipated. Now, before I describe the flavours, let me bestow to you the reasonings behind the selected ingredients.

Walnuts pair well with rye. Caraway also pairs well with rye, but I felt cumin would better complement the walnuts. (Compared to caraway, cumin is more citrusy and pungent in flavour.) I've witnessed others on TFL add dried fruits to their walnut breads but I sought a savoury loaf. Thus, I specifically chose smoked scamorza, a semi-soft Italian cheese, for its milky, faintly sweet, and assertive smoky flavours, as well as its suberb melting quality.

Summarized flavour profile: 

Harbouring the distinct aroma of cumin, the unusually soft crumb tasted slightly sweet and mildly savoury (i.e., buttery and nutty), punctuated by a faint but pleasant tang. Further, such flavours were accompanied by a creamy and cool mouthfeel. My overall rating: Pretty darn good for a batter bread.


For those who are interested, you may find the recipe below:

Rye Sourdough Starter

  • Medium rye flour [407 g]
  • Mineral water [407 g]
  • Rye sourdough starter, 100% hydration [27 g]


  • All-purpose flour, Unbleached, Enriched [262 g]
  • Mineral water, Iced [ 205 g]

Final Dough

  • Rye sourdough starter [740 g]
  • Soaker [413 g]
  • Medium rye flour [123 g]
  • Whole walnuts, Toasted [104 g]
  • Smoked scamorza, Grated [93 g]
  • Sea salt [15 g]
  • Whole cumin, Ground [6 g]


  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Unsalted butter
  • Whole walnuts, Untoasted, Ground

Total Baker's Percentages

  • Flour [100%]
    • Medium rye flour [68%]
    • All-purpose flour [32%]
  • Mineral water [76%]
  • Whole walnuts, Toasted [14.4%]
  • Sea salt [2%]
  • Cumin, Ground [0.8%]
  • Smoked scamorza, Grated [13%]


  1. Mix starter ingredients; rest at room temp. for approx. 12 hours
  2. Mix soaker ingredients; chill for approx. 12 hours
  3. Mix starter, soaker, and medium rye flour; hand-knead for 5 minutes
  4. Add salt to dough; hand-knead for 5 minutes
  5. Add ground cumin and toasted walnuts to dough; hand-knead for 3 minutes
  6. Add grated scamorza to dough; hand-knead for 2 minutes
  7. Apply olive oil to bowl; pour dough into oiled bowl
  8. Bulk ferment for 30 - 45 minutes
  9. Butter tins
  10. Pour dough into buttered tins
  11. Proof for 30 - 45 minutes
  12. Sprinkle ground walnuts atop
  13. Bake at 230C / 446F (convection off) for 10 minutes, with steam
  14. Bake at 210C / 410F (convection on) for 30 - 40 minutes, without steam (rotate loaves every 10 minutes)
  15. Cool at minimum for 1 hour


Want to know what I've been baking the past few weeks? Well, thankfully, you can scroll down to find out (sorry, only crumbshots).

Ontbijtkoek (Dutch-Belgian Breakfast Cake)

Cocoa Chocolate Coffee Sourdough Bread


Palm Sugar Financiers (French Almond Cakes)


Whole Wheat Multi-Seed Sourdough Batard


As always, critiques and suggestions are welcomed.

Farewell for now everybody. Wish you all the best and have a happy baking. :)



isand66's picture

Wow! What a save!  I have to admit I chuckled at your mention of a coffe cake because the outside of your dough certainly does look like one....but a great looking one at that :).  Your crumb looks fantastic from having such a high hydration.  Now that you have made this you can tweak your recipe until you get it exactly how you intened.  Either way it looks like it turned out great and must be very tasty.  I like the sound of that Italian cheese you used and the other ingredients must make a great combination.

Great baking on all your other loaves.  The chocolate coffee one reminds me of one of my bakes but it looks like you used chunks of chocolate which is an improvement over mine for sure.

Thanks for sharing.


bakingbadly's picture

Thank you for the compliments, Ian. Much appreciated. :)

Honestly, I was expecting a dense and closed crumb, but was overjoyed to see small albeit wildly open holes---the mark of sourdough breads. Nonetheless, I hope to redo Franko's rye bread, producing something less soupy and more lofty. Perhaps the disuse of a soaker will help realize this goal.

I don't recall seeing your chocolate coffee bread---may I have a look, assuming you have blogged about it? I like making comparisons and am always seeking ways to improve my loaves.

Best wishes,


isand66's picture
bakingbadly's picture

:) Thank you! It's interesting to note the differences between our breads, in terms of both ingredients and methods. If you're interested, you can check out mine:

I learnt how to brew coffee for this particular loaf, but in the end my bread tasted off. The chocolate chunks casted an a peculiar, rancid-like flavour. 

isand66's picture

Very well done blog and post.  I love those Soffitel hotels.  Whenever I am in China I try to stay in one if possible or at least go eat in one of the restaurants.

I'm surprised your chocolate chunks were so bitter.  Maybe try a sweeter type of chocolate next time.

What I love about bread baking is that you can change only a few ingredients and your bread will taste completely different than before or someone elses.  By now you know how I like to experiment and it seems you have caught the same bug as me.  I have several posts on my blog with bread made with coffee but the one I pointed you to is one of my favorites of any of my breads.


bakingbadly's picture

At 70% cocoa, the chocolate was a bit bitter but that's how I like my dark chocolate. :)

Although the bread wasn't excessively bitter, only faintly, the chocolate chucks didn't meld into the crumb---at least as well as I wanted. I'd say 60% cocoa chocolate would fare better. 

Lately I've been exploring the culinary world, just only scratching the surface, and---like you---I find myself experimenting with ingredients. You're completely right. A single ingredient can completely change the flavour profile of a dish, or in our case, the bread.

Have a happy baking and hope to see more of your experimental breads. 


Janetcook's picture


Wonderful save!  One of the things I love about this forum is what I have learned  about how to 'fix' doughs which aren't 'acting' as expected.  One of the things I love about being a home baker is that I can ad-lib just like you did and end up with something wonderful and new which is how breads came into existence - discovery and experimentation - good old sourdough happened that way and look how it progressed :-)

Your loaf looks and sounds like it was delicious.  I love my little bread pans and the loaves they produce.  Make nice gifts to people who can't eat a regular sized loaf plus the loaves are 'cute'.

Your other loaves all look great too.  You have been busy and I can see you have been enjoying your baking :-)

Thanks for the post and the photos.  

Take Care,



bakingbadly's picture

:) Yes, capricious experimentation and troubleshooting is one of the best parts of being an amateur homebaker. We are not bounded to certain criterias and have the luxory to make mistakes, learn, and discover. Of course, professional bakers can do this too, but perhaps at a hefty cost.

Thank you for kind words, Janet. It's always a pleasure hearing from you and I wish you the best.


dabrownman's picture

I have a new rule of thumb that Mini Oven taught me.  If its over 80% hydrtion or otherwise sloppy, then into tins it goes - it will do the best it can there:-)

I like cumin in bread too.  Cumin is one of those great bread spices.  I used to put a 1/4 tsp in every WW bread I made and multi-grains too.  It adds a a subtle depth of flavor and foundation if not used in overwhelming quantities. 

Your combinations are getting Ianesque :-).  Breads with a lot of rye or spelt or high amounts of whole grains in conjunction probably aren't the best candidates for 30 hour retards since they ferment pretty quickly even in the fridge.  I have a high hydration 30 hour retard I took out of the fridge this morning but it only has 30% whole grains and much less rye and spelt.  Rather than pan mine I fee formed it Altamura style (Pope's Hat) and it it looks like ti will be OK. 

Your 70% rye probably wanted 12 hours of cold sleep instead.  Still you saved it!

Very nice save and your WW  Multi Seed bread is gorgeous Zita!


bakingbadly's picture

Surprisingly, the loaf I made was packed with cumin flavours... It was all I smelt, not so much the toasted walnuts that I expected. Not necessarily a bad things, especially if you're fond of cumin.

Haha, indeed, I'm beginning to experiment just like Ian. It's the cooks inside of us that's trying to break through and impose itself onto our breads.

I think there was a little misunderstanding, a fault of my own as I wasn't too clear. Only the soaker was fermented overnight (in the refrigerator), which was solely water and all-purpose flour. I wouldn't dare cold retard the final dough. (I learnt a valuable lesson after retarding a dough containing rye---the crumb collapsed in the end.) Despite that, my dough was still soupy and batter-like. Perhaps I shouldn't have fermented the all-purpose flour in the form of a soaker, knowing that it was the primary source of gluten.

At the end of the day, I'm satisfied. The bread was unique to my taste buds and rather delicious. 




Mebake's picture

Beautiful assortment of breads/ cakes, Zita. Your pictured show a great improvement in culinary skills, well done! 

Way to go.. Keep at it!

bakingbadly's picture

Thank you, Khalid. Your encouragment is appreciated. :)