Bread of the Week: Walnut Rye Sourdough

May 17, 2017
Walnut Rye Sourdough

Walnut does lovely things to bread. On the surface, walnuts are a deep brown color with dark red undertones. But put them into a long fermenting loaf of sourdough, and they magically turn a dark, beautiful purple. Put enough walnuts into a loaf and you can slice it open to reveal a beautiful purple loaf! This loaf only has 15% walnuts to the weight of the flour, so all we have a little pocket of purple sprinkled throughout. I quite like this ratio, though, as each bite of walnut is distinct and delicious. That, with the depth of flavor that rye provides lends itself to a delicious loaf indeed. 

To prepare the walnuts for this loaf, they are first toasted. I find that toasting nuts enhances their flavor enormously and makes them crunchier, and thus more fun to snack on! So, be sure to roast an extra handful or so for snacking purposes. I roasted these walnuts in a pan on the stove, and in general, it’s very important to keep a vigilant eye out when roasting nuts as all of the oils in them can easily burn. This does not lead to a delicious end product. I add these nuts in right before my first stretch and fold as the dough has relaxed from all the initial mixing and is more able to accept the walnuts. I have found this loaf is most delicious with salted butter and honey, but does go quite well with avocado, too!

Walnut Rye Sourdough


Bread of the Week: Walnut Rye Sourdough

From at

Yield: 1 loaf of bread

A delicious walnut rye loaf with depth from the rye flour and the nutty crunch of walnuts sprinkled throughout.

You'll Need...


  1. First make the levain:
  2. The night before you are going to mix the dough, combine all of your ingredients for the levain in a large mason jar. Set into a warmish place (about 70-75F) to rise for about 8-10 hours. I often put mine in the oven with the oven light on depending on how cold it is outside.
  3. Then toast the walnuts:
  4. Place the walnuts in a heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat. Stir continuously until they have slightly darkened and smell nutty. Remove from the skillet, set aside and cool.
  5. Then make the bread dough:
  6. The levain should be just under doubled in size and very bubbly. Place the water into the bowl of a stand mixer and add in your levain. Using the paddle mixer, stir until fully incorporated.
  7. Add in the flours and mix until all the flour is hydrated. Cover with a plate and allow to autolyse for about 40-60 minutes.
  8. After the autolyse is complete, add the salt and stir with the dough hook for about 3 minutes on medium speed. You can also slap and fold on the counter top. The dough should start to look more cohesive and smooth.
  9. Transfer the dough to a dough bucket and place in a warmish place to rise. After about 30-45 minutes, add the walnuts and stretch the dough, folding it over on itself until the walnuts are fully incorporated. After that, every 30-45 minutes, stretch and fold the dough to aerate, a total of 4 times.
  10. Once the dough is almost doubled in size, transfer onto a floured countertop and shape into a boule. Dust with flour and cover with a dishcloth and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
  11. Shape into a boule or a batard and transfer to a cloth lined banneton. Cover with a dishtowel and place in the fridge to retard overnight.
  12. Make the bread:
  13. The next morning, about 1.5 hours before you want to bake, place a dutch oven into the oven and preheat at 500F. Once the oven hits 500F, allow to continue to heat for about 30 to 45 minutes.
  14. Remove the bread from the fridge, and flip onto a piece of parchment paper cut to just larger than the banneton. Dust with flour and score the loaf with a lame.
  15. Very carefully, remove the dutch oven from the oven. Using the parchment paper as a sling, carefully transfer the loaf to the dutch oven. Cover, and place in oven. Turn the heat down to 475F.
  16. Bake covered for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 5-15 minutes or until deeply brown.
  17. Carefully flip out of the dutch oven, and remove the parchment paper, and place on a wire rack to cool.

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