The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Wild Rice Cranberry Sourdough 

Danni3ll3's picture

Wild Rice Cranberry Sourdough 

I haven’t posted very much lately because we went into lockdown/stay at home, came out of it for two weeks and we are back into lockdown/grey zone on Monday. People here just can’t seem to get the idea you should stay home and away from each other! Our Covid numbers have just exploded in the last week or so. We have had more cases in February than we did all of 2020! Ok rant over and back to bread!



Even though I’ve been making sourdough for a few years now, I keep tweaking and changing things. I’ve discovered that my starter is much happier with wholegrain flour rather than unbleached flour. So the first two feeds lately are all wholegrain flour and the last build is 50/50 wholegrain and unbleached flour. I don’t worry about doubling for the first two builds but that last build doubles in 4 and half to 5 hours. 


I’ve also discovered that using recently fed levain rather than refrigerating it for a day makes for faster proofing times. Now my dough rises ~30% in 3.5-4 hours, which is a huge improvement over the sometimes 5 hours I’ve had to wait. I also seem to get a better crumb if I keep the rise to no more than 30-40% with 4 sets of coil folds. 


And the last thing learned is to go back to ~10 hours of cold proof in the fridge. I definitely keep it under 12 hours now even though it means getting up at 5 am to bake. This combined with narrower dutch ovens seems to give me maximum oven spring. 


This loaf is a popular one. I even did a mid week bake of an extra 12 loaves in addition to my usual Sunday bake to fulfill all the requests. 



Makes 3 loaves



700 g strong bakers unbleached flour

200 g fresh milled Kamut 

100 g fresh milled Einkorn

75 g dry Wild Rice 

150 g dried cranberries 

700 g water

30 g yogurt 

35 g honey

22 g salt

250 g of 3 stage 100% hydration levain (procedure below)

Wholegrain and unbleached flour to feed the levain


The day before:

1. Take 2 g of refrigerated starter and feed it 4 g of filtered water and 4 g of wholegrain flour. Leave at room temperature until bedtime. 


The night before:

1. I use homemilled flour so if you are doing the same, measure out the stated amount for each type of flour in berries or grain, and mill it on the finest setting of your home mill. If buying flour, get the freshest that you can and try to ensure that it is wholegrain. 

2. Place the required amounts of the wholegrain flours in a tub and add the unbleached flour to it. 

3. Cover and set aside.

4. Cook the wild rice in plenty of boiling water for an hour, then soak in the hot water until tender. This took another half hour. Drain, add the dried cranberries, and refrigerate overnight.

5. Before bed, feed the levain 20 g each water and wholegrain flour and leave at room temperature overnight. 


Dough making day:

1. In the morning, feed the levain 100 g of water, 50 g of wholegrain flour and 50 g of unbleached flour. Place in a warm spot to double (I use my oven with the lights on). This takes about 5 hours. Take the wild rice and the cranberries out of the fridge to warm up.

2. Two hours before the levain is ready, in a stand mixer, mix the water with the flour, and mix on speed 1 until all the flour has been hydrated. Let this autolyse for a couple of hours. 

3. Once the autolyse is done, add the salt, the yogurt, the honey, and the levain to the bowl. Mix on speed one for a minute to integrate everything, then mix on speed 2 for 7 minutes.  

4. Add the cooked wild rice and cranberries to the mixing bowl, and mix on speed 2 until they are evenly distributed. This should take about two minutes. 

5. Remove the dough from the mixing bowl and place in a lightly oiled covered tub. Let rest 30 minutes in a warm spot (oven with lights on). 

6. Do 2 sets of stretches and folds at 30 minute intervals and then 2 sets of sleepy ferret folds at 45 minute intervals, and then let the dough rise to about 30%. It should have irregular bubbles visible through the sides of the container and  bubbles on top as well. 

7. Tip the dough out on a bare counter, sprinkle the top with flour and divide into portions of ~830 g. Round out the portions into rounds with a dough scraper and let rest 15-30 minutes on the counter. 

8. Do a final shape by flouring the top of the rounds and flipping the rounds over on a lightly floured counter. Gently stretch the dough out into a circle. Pull and fold the third of the dough closest to you over the middle. Pull the right side and fold over the middle and do the same to the left. Fold the top end to the center patting out any cavities. Finally stretch the two top corners and fold over each other in the middle. Roll the bottom of the dough away from you until the seam is underneath the dough. Cup your hands around the dough and pull towards you, doing this on all sides of the dough to round it off. Finally spin the dough to make a nice tight boule.

9. Sprinkle a  mix of rice and all purpose flour in the bannetons. Place the dough seam side down in the bannetons. Let rest for a few minutes on the counter and then put to bed in a cold (38F) fridge for 10 to 12 hours. 


Baking Day

1. The next morning, heat the oven to 475F with the Dutch ovens inside for 45 minutes to an hour. Turn out the dough seam side up onto a cornmeal sprinkled counter. Place rounds of parchment paper in the bottom of the pots, and carefully but quickly place the dough seam side up inside. 

2. Cover the pots and bake the loaves at 450 F for 25 minutes, remove the lids, and bake for another 22 minutes at 425 F. Internal temperature should be 205 F or more.


Danni3ll3's picture

Benito's picture

Good to see that you’re fine Danni, I was starting to wonder.  Sorry to hear things getting so bad up there that you’re going back into grey zone lockdown.  Here in Toronto, it feels like we’ve mostly been in full grey zone lock down since the pandemic started.  I don’t think we’ll get out of it anytime soon if the politicians are smart.  With the new variants outs there already, any greater mixing of people is a huge risk.

Great to see you posting your bakes again too, great looking as always.

Stay safe.


Danni3ll3's picture

We were doing so well last year. Until November, we had less than 100 cases then it hit the pickleball community, spread into a long term care home, got into the jail and correctional center and from there, is now spreading into our homeless community. They have made accommodations available to the homeless but it seems to be too little, too late. We also have a fair bit of community spread as well. Being at the top of the list for per capita cases is not something I ever thought I would see considering how well we were doing last year. 
My daughter being a nurse got her first  vaccine but she feels horribly guilty for getting it ahead of others. I keep telling her that she is more at risk than most because of her health history (rheumatoid/ psoriatic arthritis meds) and her job as a pediatric nurse, but it doesn’t make her feel any better. 
Anyhow back to hunkering down although, since we are in the grey zone and not in a stay at home order, I’m going to keep making bread and people can continue picking it up from a table in my front yard. ??‍♀️

Benito's picture

Your daughter definitely shouldn’t feel guilty.  Both my partner and I are now fully vaccinated, he works in the largest hospital in Canada and comes in contact with COVID-19 patients in his work.  I work with high risk patients in my work as a physician so would be at high risk for exposure and thus for passing it along to others should I get infected.  Neither of us feel guilty. Especially since for most of this pandemic we have been putting ourselves at risk to ensure others can continue to get their healthcare they need even when it may have put us at risk.  Particularly early on when PPE was in such short supply.  I was using one mask for upwards of a week at a time trying to get them to last.  I feel a sense of relief of course, but no guilt whatsoever.

I’m glad that we are finally starting to get a better supply of vaccine now in Canada, but I am very disappointed in how long it is taking to get it out there to the community.  I have volunteered to help our local area health network administer vaccine.  We will be going to buildings where there are a lot of people living it tight quarters and giving it there.  This is another reason I don’t feel any guilt.  If caregivers become ill we cannot contribute to getting the population vaccinated.  If there are further delays that are actually under our control, then the pandemic will worsen and more will die before we get things under control and have some sense of normalcy again.

Stay well, keep baking, it helps keep us sane.  Tell your daughter from another healthcare worker, that she has absolutely no reason to feel guilty.  


Danni3ll3's picture

And yes, vaccine distribution is another kettle of fish. ?

Isand66's picture

I admire everyone in your profession who is putting themselves on the line.  In the US as I’m sure you know just like the response to the virus itself the distribution of the vaccines has been inconsistent and crazy.

Benito's picture

At least the US has the capacity to produce the vaccines themselves, we in Canada do not currently have any capacity to produce any of the COVID-19 vaccine ourselves.  A production facility has been under construction but won’t be online until the end of this year at the earliest.  It seems that we now have a contract with Novovax for them to produce vaccine at the new facility assuming that their vaccine proves effective and safe.  So relying on the Europeans to produce and ship vaccine to us has been a bad situation,  For much of February we receive very little vaccine.  Anyhow, hopefully there are no further delays in vaccine shipment from here on out.

Isand66's picture

That’s certainly has to be unnerving.  Hopefully you will get enough vaccines soon.

Isand66's picture

Nice to see your post and I’m glad you’re staying safe.  Your bread looks perfect as usual and I’m sure whoever gets to eat them will certainly enjoy them.

Happy baking!