Sourdough raisin bread with walnuts began as an experimental twist on my traditional raisin bread.
Never Take Bread for Granted!
Inspired by a delightful recipe from Azélia (see link below), I prepped the one extra ingredient, and the first-time result was successful – a loaf of raisin bread with walnuts added that pushed all the right taste buttons!
Moist and springy, with sweet pings from the fruit and surprise crunches from the nuts, it went down well with family and friends, so I was eager to repeat the exercise.
All I had to do was follow the recipe as before, (which is exactly as I have it on the recipe card below).
Well and good – except that I started the second run early one morning, before the obligatory coffee, and that was when things began to go Miro-esque.
If you just want the roses and clouds happy ending, go straight to the recipe.
If, however, the reality side of things entices your interest, read on . .
A Cautionary Tale
Everything was – surprisingly for that hour – correctly mise-d en place:
- The walnuts were weighed, chopped and toasted.
- The raisins were soaked and cooled.
- The sourdough starter had bubbled overnight most satisfactorily.
- The unbleached organic flour was waiting in the bowl.
Altogether, the perfect scenario for a healthy bread. All that remained was for me to blenderise a third of the walnuts with a bit of honey and some of the water from the raisins.
And that’s where the absence of coffee short-circuited a synapse or two.
Instead of draining the raisins and using the water they had soaked in to make up a walnut-honey paste, I carefully drained them, put the water aside – and blenderised all of the raisins with the walnuts.
A slow realization penetrated, but you can’t un-blenderise raisins! Then the frugal self kicked in. Since I had this somewhat different paste in hand . . well then, I’d just go ahead and work with it!
The result was what I can, with a clear conscience and a messy blender, describe as an interesting combination of flavors and textures.
Sourdough Raisin Bread with Walnuts- Recommended Recipe
I am still recommending the straightforward raisin and walnut sourdough recipe as below – the one that allows the raisins to remain unpulverised!
As with most sourdough breads, the majority of the time the bread gets on with things by itself.
And, as with most sourdoughs, you can get away with more-or-less time frames.
- 90g/ 1 generous cup walnuts
- 60g raisins
- 20g honey
- 300g bread flour
- 120g refreshed starter @ 100% hydration - equal amounts of water and flour
- 180-200g/ml water - the final amount will depend on the flour
- 10g salt
- 1. Rough chop the walnuts.
- Place them in a cast iron pan over a low heat to gently roast - just to the point of smelling good and looking golden.
- Remove to cool.
- 2. Place the raisins in a small bowl and and cover them with boiling water.
- Leave them to soak.
- Once the raisins have cooled, drain the water off and reserve it.
- 3. Take ⅓ of the walnuts and all the honey.
- Add 30g of the raisin water and blend them together to form as smooth a mix as possible.
Mixing the Dough
- Mix all the flour, starter and 180ml of water together in a large shallow-sided bowl.
- - I used some of the water from the raisin soaking here.
- Add the salt and the walnut mix.
- Roughly mix the dough together.
- Add the raisins and the remaining walnuts.
- Add more water if needed.
- - The dough is quite sticky: I use a danish dough mixer for the initial mix.
- Leave the dough to rest for 30 minutes.
- No Knead Preparation
- In that same large shallow-sided bowl, or on the working surface, fold the dough as follows:
- In a bowl:
- - Think of the dough in quarters.
- - Take a firm hold of the outer edge of one quarter.
- - Stretch the dough out and up, then fold it back over the main body of the dough.
- - Rotate the bowl 45º- a quarter-turn - and repeat.
- - Complete about 8 stretch-and-folds, just until the dough begins to resist.
- On a working surface:
- - Using a dough scraper, stretch and fold the dough as described above.
- Rest the dough for 45-60 mins.
- Repeat the fold and rest cycle 3 more times.
- First Proving Rise
- Cover the bowl with a damp tea towel and leave the dough to rise.
- Two options here:
- - Leave the dough to rise in the bowl where it stands until it passes the knuckle test - about 4-6 hours.
- - Place the bowl in the fridge and leave the dough to rise overnight.
- Second Proving
- After the rise, tip the dough out onto a lightly floured working surface and let it rest for 30 mins. Shape into a boule.
- Cover the dough with a large bowl or a plastic bag and leave it to rise for +/- 90mins.
- 60 mins into the rising time - 30 mins before baking - place the cast iron skillet in the oven and heat to 220º.
- Slide the boule onto the cast iron skillet and bake at 220 for 30mins.
This sourdough raisins and walnut bread version of the sourdough raisin bread owes the addition of the walnuts to some great inspiration from Azélia at http://www.azeliaskitchen.net/ Thanks Azélia – obrigado!