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cake diva's picture
cake diva

Off to my hometown for a big birthday party.  Must make sure I bring everything


1.  chocolate sourdough bread.  Check.

chocolate sd

2. Chocolate zucchini cakes.  Check.

chocolate zucchini cake

3. panetonne.  Check.


4. Portuguese filled rolls (sweet bean paste, almond paste). Check.

Filled POrtuguese rolls

5. Malasadas filled with passionfruit curd.


Uncheck!  OOOps, forgot we ate them just as they came out of the fryer.  Supposedly, these are only good fresh- so we had to eat them right away.  Don't you just hate it when they twist your arm to eat donuts?

6. Frozen bread from last week's bake-off.  Check.

sept bake

7. Tropical chiffon cake, crumb-iced.  Check.

tropical chiffon cake

8. passionfruit tart. Check.

passionfruit tart

And a stack of full-sized crepes, frozen (not pictured) + caramel sauce.

Hmmmnnn... did I forget anything?

Shiao-Ping's picture

The best Walnut Sourdough that I've ever had was from Tartine Bakery in San Francisco.  Imagine a rustic Country Sourdough studded with whole walnuts and no compromise on the open crumb.  To me a simple sourdough like walnut sourdough is not something that can be easily made well; in fact, I've found any sourdough with add-ins hard to make really well.  Once I find a method that works for me, I am normally eager to try the new method on doughs with add-ins.  This was what happened when I found James MacGuire's hand-mixing technique.  He permanently expelled my fear of hand mixing.  I had used his method on walnuts and mixed dried fruits and quite liked the result at the time but was wondering subsequently if it was possible to achieve a more open crumb.   I know the emphasis on an open crumb may sound pretentious at times but I am just a housewife with free time and mental space.  If there is something I still find room for improvement and I am still interested enough, I'll keep trying.

With this post I have used the method I've recently learned from The Bread Builders about Chad Robertson's sourdough timeline and applied it by hand on my own formula.  One of these days I will write to him to seek for confirmation but for now I will amuse myself with one more bake along the same line as my previous 4 posts. 





My Formula 

  • 716 g starter @ 75% hydration

  • 71 g stone ground organic medium rye flour (10% of final dough flour)

  • 645 g organic unbleached flour (90% of final dough flour)

  • 593 g water

  • 450 g walnuts (40% of total flours, including that from starter), toasted

  • 22 g salt

  • Extra medium rye flour for dusting

 Total dough weight 2.5 kg and total dough hydration 80%




  1. First break up the starter in water in a big bowl by hand

  2. Stir in all the ingredients except walnuts (record the time when this is done)

  3. Autolyse 45 minutes (longer than I normally would, to make sure the flour has a good chance to bind with the water before the disruptive walnuts come in)

  4. Spread half of walnuts on a work bench, dump the sticky dough on top of it, then spread the other half of walnuts over the dough

  5. Start mixing in the walnuts by a series of folding motions with a dough scraper from the side to the centre, then

  6. Place the sticky dough back to the big bowl, and start the first set of stretch and folds by hand or with the plastic scraper

  7. Do another 3 sets of stretch and folds in the next 3 hours or so (note: total bulk fermentation is 4 hours counting from the time ingredients except walnuts are mixed until division/pre-shaping; the ideal dough temperature for me is 18 - 21C / 65 - 70F, if your dough temperature is higher due to warmer weather, shorten fermentation time accordingly)

  8. Divide into three pieces of 830 g each and pre-shape each to a log

  9. Rest for 15 minutes and in the mean time dust linen with medium rye flour

  10. Shape into batards

  11. Proof for 45 minutes (as my room temperature had risen and the dough temperature registered 25 C / 77 F, I put the dough into the refrigerator to start retarding)

  12. Retard for 17 hours (or 8 hours minimum)

  13. Bake the next day with steam at 230 C for 20 minutes and another 20 minutes at 220 C.






With the high hydration and rye flour, the dough fermented quite well earlier on.  There was very noticeable fermentation activity even before the second set of stretch and folds.  With my room temperature rising, the dough was at a risk of being over-fermented.  On hindsight, the bulk fermentation could have been shorter.

Also, I went crazy with walnuts.  Even though it is nice to have such a "deluxe" quantity, there is really more chewing than necessary when you bite into a slice.

The 80% hydration is about right because of the added nuts.  A couple percentages more hydration would be fine too.

Other than the above, this walnut sourdough is quite alright, no where compared to Tartine's though.  What's in your memory is always the best.


The following is updated on 21st Septermber: I found these pictures of very rustic sourdoughs from Tartine Bakery in my files, including their Walnut Sourdough, and would like to share them:


      I believe the one in the front to the right is the Walnut Sourdough


                                   Walnut Sourdough

Their sourdoughs appear to be very high hydration to me.



white_poplar's picture

I recently discovered this beautiful bread and have mastered the technique! The dough is soft and remains so for a few days. This is the closest to the Asian-style bread I have re-created at home!

Recipe and step-step instructions: here.




mazzidante's picture

Please little help....this is the recipe 1kg flour with 11.5 of protein,680gr water very cold,20gr of salt,5gr dry yeast,2gr malt.I mix and pass the window test....i shape a ball and i put in the refrigerator,after 14 hours,i take out the ball has been raised a lot there is no more ball shape......This is the what i should do?Everything  i tried was no good the main problem for me is that everything is to soft even if i roll the baguette there is a lot of bobble of air inside,and when i try to score with blade,the surface is soft even if i put some flour....I would like get some advice..thank you

trailrunner's picture

This is winging its way to NYC for my best friend to use at her celebration Friday evening. I have been making Challah for well over 35 years now but only learned how to do this braid last year. Thanks to TFL for that info . Hope you enjoy and have a blessed holiday.

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

Shiao-Ping's picture

Have you ever used shop-bought bread pre-mixes to make sourdoughs?  I have several unfinished bread mixes at home from those days when I used bread machine to make pan breads; they are all reaching their use-by dates and I really don't want to waste them. 

The Multigrain Bread Mix I have is soy (10%) and linseed (5%), whole rye, maize polenta, in addition to unbleached wheat flour.  It has many "dough conditioners" added in: ascorbic acid, enzyme, emulsifier, etc., to assure of its performance.  And the salt (2.4%) has also been added in.  The box says its protein is 12.6%.  All that you need to add is water and yeast, and way you to.  For a home sourdough there is nothing wrong with using it (I am not concerned with my label!).

This is how my multigrain bread-mix sourdough has turned out:






My formula 

  • 700 g mature white starter @75% hydration (ie, 300 water + 400 g flour)

  • 700 g Australia's Laucke Multigrain Bread Mix

  • 8 g salt (for the flour portion of the starter)

  • 492 g water

Total dough weight 1900 g and total dough hydration 72% 


  1. Mix by hand

  2. Autolyse 30 minutes

  3. Bulk fermentation 3 hours with 5 folds every 30 minutes

  4. Proof for one hour

  5. Retard in refrigerator for 14 hours

  6. Bake with steam as usual






Using bread pre-mixes to make sourdough is quite a fool-proof way to make a nice tasting bread. 


mcs's picture

Callie (calliekoch) came from Fort Collins, Colorado to the Back Home Bakery last week (Sept 5-13) for her one week internship.  Although new to sourdoughs, Callie's been baking and cooking for a while, and it showed in her meticulous work and attention to detail.

striking a pose while sheeting puff-pastry dough


Apfelstrudel, shaping Buckwheat Flax boule, croissants, finished Buckwheat Flax loaves

I'm sure you'll agree everything looks absolutely perfect!

Thanks for all of the help Callie, hope to see you again up here.



maixner's picture

This is my very first post!  I received a note that the 2009 Food Blog Awards are open.  I love The Fresh Loaf and think it would win best community blog but I don't know anything about the Food Blog Awards.

mariacuellar's picture

Hello Fresh Loaf!

I'm writing to invite everyone here to read my blog! I am a beginner artisan home baker, and I've been learning by myself through books, youtube videos, and experience. I have been doing some research with several famous baking books and I'll be posting my reviews for them. Check it out! I'll soon write more substantial posts here as well.

I love this community!

loafgirl's picture

So I started baking about a year ago.  Everything I did turned out surprisingly wonderful.  From my sourdough to my soft pretzels, I hardly ever had issues with any step of the baking process.  Then we remodeled our kitchen.  Since then, I have had no luck with anything.  It's like my dough never firms up.  I find myself adding more flour, and yet it's always falling apart and worthless. I couldn't even produce pizza dough the other night for our guests.  My specialty (mostly for my husband and family) has always been my soft pretzels, and I couldn't even make those tonight.  After letting the dough rise it was like a hot sticky mess that I couldn't even work with.  I am tired of spending hours on crap.  I wasted 3 days on 4 sourdough loaves over this weekend and it kills me.   HELP!!!!!  What gives?  I am so frustrated I am seriously thinking of giving up the only hobby that I have and love.  Please help me.  Is it the water?  We now have a RO (reverse osmosis) system since we have well water (although I always used bottled before).  I have been using a lot more Organic flour because some of my goods (if I can ever get them right) will be for a local Organic restaurant in town.  Is it that?  If so, I will reconsider my chance to sell my bread.  I don't get it!  I have done nothing different than what I used to do and I cannot make anything. 

Loafgirl is ready to retire after 11 months.


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