The Fresh Loaf

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Walnut and Raisin Levain

Brokeback Cowboy's picture
Brokeback Cowboy

Walnut and Raisin Levain


237g/  95% White Bread Flour, unbleached

13g/   05% Whole Wheat Flour

250g/ 100% Water (12C)

100g/  20% Mother

  1. Dissolve 100g of Mother in 250g water at 12 degrees celcius. 
  2. Add liquid to flour and mix until a slack mass forms
  3. Refrigerate dough for 6 hours
  4. Remove Levain from fridge and let rise at room temperature (18C ideally) for a further 18 hours
  5. Allow 24 hours of maturation before using


Final Dough

1000g/  80% White Bread Flour, unbleached

250g/    20% Whole Wheat Flour

30g/      2.5% Sea Salt

500g/    40% Levain

875g/    70% Water (16C)

125g/    10% Raisins

125g/    10% Walnuts, toasted

  1. Dissolve 500g Levain in 875g water at 16C
  2. Add liquid to 1000g White Flour and 250g Whole Wheat Flour, mix until just combined
  3. Cover, and autolyse for 30 minutes
  4. Using either a mixer, or hand, add 30g of Sea Salt to dough and mix for about 5 minutes
  5. When the dough no longer sticks to the bowl, it's ready to fold.
  6. On lightly floured table, press out dough into a rough rectangle
  7. Cover rectangle with 125g Raisins and 125g Walnuts
  8. To fold, pull in the far left corner of the mass out, and then in upon itself. Do this in a circular fashion until you've completed 4 pulls/folds.
  9. Oil container and place dough seam down inside.
  10. Rest 50 minutes at room temperature (18C ideally)
  11. After 50 minutes, fold as per step #10, cover and rest a further 50 minutes
  12. After your 2nd 50 minute rest, fold as per step #10, cover and rest a final 50 minutes

Cutting and Forming

  1. On lightly floured table, unmould dough and fold as per step #10
  2. Bench rest 5 minutes before cutting
  3. Cut 3, 800 g loaves and round tightly
  4. Cover rounded loaves and bench rest for 30 minutes
  5. While dough is resting, flour 3 bannetons (for boules or batardes)
  6. After 30 minutes of resting, shape dough in to desired form
  7. Securely cover bannetons with a clear plastic garbage bag and let rise 50 minutes


  1. Pre-heat oven to 275C with a large tray rectangular tray, or pizza stone inside *Alternatively you could simply bake these loaves, free form, on a baking tray, but will lose oven spring as a result*
  2. Lightly flour pizza peel and unmoud bannetons
  3. With a sharp knife or lame, cut a long slash from end to end, at a 20-30 degree angle
  4. Open oven door and slide loaves on to the hot pan or pizza stone
  5. Using a spray bottle, saturate oven with steam
  6. Turn oven down to 230C and bake for 50 minutes
  7. At 50 minutes, crack oven slightly to allow moisture to dissipate and bake for a further 15 minutes, or until desired color is achieved
  8. Remove loaves from ovens and cool



Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

and what a crumb shot. I love walnuts in bread. Bet its delicious.

Something for me to try. Thank you!

Brokeback Cowboy's picture
Brokeback Cowboy

Appreciate the compliment, be sure to let me know how your bake goes!

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

Without the inspiration from your recipe. Thank you!

As you can see I've kept the very same ratios and just used pecans, cranberries and spiked the water with orange blossom. My starter is 50% hydration so had to adjust. 

Danni3ll3's picture

Thank you for sharing the recipe! You made me hungry!

Brokeback Cowboy's picture
Brokeback Cowboy

Bon Appetit!

dabrownman's picture

A fine loaf of raisin walnut sourdough for sre.  Well done and Happy baking 

Brokeback Cowboy's picture
Brokeback Cowboy

Happy Baking!

rudirednose's picture

hello bbc,

looks darn delicious! and Lechem already did it! WOW!

but why do you first refrigerate the levain für 6 hours and then let rise at room temperature?

appreciate your answer!

thx rudi

Brokeback Cowboy's picture
Brokeback Cowboy

Hey Rudi

Thank you very much for the compliment, that means a lot!

The reason I retard the levain for 6 hours in a refrigerator is to slow down the fermentation to a point I can consistently control. This time frame has been established over 6 weekly bakes of the bread I base this recipe upon (my standard Pain au Levain). Due to the activity of my current 'mother' a straight 24 hrs of refrigerator created an overly acidic/gassy bread that was unappealing visually, and on the palate.

Feel free to play around with times to match your surroundings and levain.
Happy baking!

rudirednose's picture

Hello bbc,

many thx for your detailed answer! thats conclusive and I will keep it in mind! refrigerating a fresh levain is unusual for me but makes sense! will give it a try! ;-)

happy baking also!


Brokeback Cowboy's picture
Brokeback Cowboy

Wow that's really a really interesting table. I'm going to save it for future reference!
I think a lot of the problem comes from temperature spikes in my kitchen as it's in direct sunlight and I do a lot of cookery, which sometimes raises the temps into the high 20's

Thanks again!

rudirednose's picture

Hello bbc,

knowing this table but most time dont remember on it! :(

there ist shown that in a starter from 2 to 25°C the growth of both, lactobacilli and yeasts, is nearly the same!

thx for the kick! ;-)


rudirednose's picture

Hi bbc;

"... into the high 20's"

ideal for "C. milleri"! optimum growth between 26 and 28°C. ;-)

happy baking!