The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

XXVI – Back to the Basic : My Basic Sourdough with Walnuts, Revived.

lumos's picture

XXVI – Back to the Basic : My Basic Sourdough with Walnuts, Revived.

  This is a bread using my most basic dough which I’d been using for a long time since I first started tempting to make sourdough-based Pain de Campagne-type bread.  It’s simple, versatile and taste quite good without too assertive or too distinctive. It is good enough to bake as plain, basic sourdough bread but also good with various fillings, like dried fruits, nuts and seeds, etc…..or it was. Actually, I hadn’t used this dough for a long while.  Not because it wasn’t good enough but because I’ve been too busy trying out many recipes I found in books, internet (mainly here!) and experimenting with various combinations of flours lately.

  A couple days ago, I was combing through my ever-fattening folder of bread recipes in the attempt to make it slimmer, getting rid of some recipes I knew (or thought I knew….) I’d never use and re-discovering some recipes I’d clearly forgotten about.  Then I found a very, very old recipe for the basic sourdough bread I used to bake a lot in my early days of ‘artisan’ baking.

  I knew I used to like its flavour a lot those days, but not too sure if I still liked it after having tried many other formulae, some of them with much more complex combinations of flours and other ingredients.  Intrigued, I decided I’d try. It just happened I wanted to bake walnuts bread with ‘a new’ dough.  It’s not quite ‘new,’ but thought it’d be interesting to use it with walnuts, like I used to do a lot years ago, to check if it’s still good for me.

  And here’s the formula and result….


 My Basic Sourdough with Walnuts



       Strong flour  50g

        Water  35g


    Main Dough

       Strong Flour  150g*

       Plain Flour  40g*

         (or AP flour 190g….I guess…:p)

       WW   30g

       Rye   30g

       Wheatgerm (optional)   1 tbls

       Salt  5g

       Levain (above)  85g

       Water   175g

       Chopped walnuts  100 – 120g



  1. Feed starter with the flour and water for levain 8 – 12 hrs before using until ripe.
  2. When the levain in matured, mix it with the water for main dough, loosen a bit and mix with all the flours and wheatgerm (if using) in a large bowl to shaggy mess.
  3. Leave for 30 – 40minutes to autolyse.
  4. Sprinkle the salt on the dough and S & F in the bowl until the salt is well distributed.
  5. Rest for 40 minutes.
  6. Do two more sets of S & F in the bowl. Incorporate chopped walnuts during the last S & F.
  7. Leave for 1 hr at room temperature and put in the fridge for cold retard for 16 – 20 hrs.
  8. Take it out of the fridge, leave at room temperature for 1 hr and pre-shape.  Rest for 20 minutes.
  9. Shape in put in a banetton to proof.
  10.  Pre-heat the oven @ 240C with Pyrex/cast iron pot with a lid.
  11. When it passed the finger-poke test for readiness, turn it out on a board and score.
  12. Bake in a covered Pyrex/cast iron pot for 20 minutes at 240C.
  13. Remove the lid/cover, lower the temperature to 200C and bake for another 20 minutes.


  (Excuse for the weird colour of those photos. Night light…..)


......and I was so glad I combed through the old files.  Still like this dough. :)






jcking's picture

I'm looking at the elongated alveoli as they taper upward a sign of a nice hot oven and a perfect bake.

Well done ~ Jim

lumos's picture

the elongated alveoli

That's a new word for me.  Had to look it up on internet. :p

Thank you, Jim, for your kind words and the new word.   I pre-heat the oven and lidded Pyrex very hot before I load dough.

Thaichef's picture

Good Morning Lumos:

Your bread looks great( and I am sure tasted great also).  I have a question please. On your #1 instruction it said"Feed starter with water and flour for levain....".  How many gram of starter do you use?  What is your hydration of the starter?

I am sorry that I have to ask this question but I want to make your "awsome" bread and need more information.

Thank you.




lumos's picture

Hi, Mantana. Thank you for your kind words.

I always keep about 50g starter which is 70 - 75% hydration in my fridge which I use as seed starter. After feeding it and wait for its becoming active, I put 50g back into the fridge and use the rest as sourdough for making bread after it's ripen.

Look forward to hearing how you got on. Hope you'll like it.  :)


Thaichef's picture

Good Afternoon Lumos:

  Thank you for the information. I will have to make your bread sometime after Thanksgiving.  I am cooking today for 40 people.( I volunteered to cook for the Ronald McDonald house twice/month).  I also cooked two days ago for a wedding( my job) and I am leaving for Boston within a few days. 

   My baking has to be on the back burner until later. (Darn, would love to do it now but no time!)

Thanks again for sharing.



lumos's picture

No problem. Have a good trip. Look forward to hearing from you when you're back. :)