Fruit and Nut Sourdough

Okay, I know this is not a very appealing photograph. I do like it, though, because it illustrates a few things.

See the ultra-shiny crust? This illustrates what happens when you steam your bread too much. It’s like shellac. Not really the effect I was going for.

See how dark the crust is? This illustrates what happens when you don’t really remember how to operate your oven (this would be your occasional oven, not your most-of-the-time oven) and the oven display is broken so you have no visual clue that you’re operating it incorrectly, and you haven’t really turned the temperature down when you think you have. The very learned Raymond Calvel said it is nearly impossible to overbake bread. Maybe I should gain some satisfaction in knowing I nearly accomplished the near-impossible. (I say nearly because the crust did not burn. It’s just very very dark. Again, not the effect I was going for; merely very dark would have sufficed.)

See how the resolution of the photo is not very good? This illustrates what happens when you do something brainless, the details of which you’d rather not get into at the moment, and end up wrecking your DSLR camera, and have to use your little point-and-shoot (and then have to crop the photo so the really dark parts of the loaves are conveniently omitted).

Okay, lessons learned: Don’t pour too much water into the steam pan. Read The Fine Manual (and better yet, call the oven repair guy). And don’t be stupid. Simple enough.

Now consider this photograph:

I like this one because it illustrates that even when a few things go wrong, you can still end up with a pretty nice, 50%-whole-grain, fruit-and-nut-laden, pleasantly-dense-and-chewy, thinly-sliceable, great-on-its-own-or-with-soft-cheese kind of loaf.

So there.

As proof that I really do like this bread, I’m sending it to Zorra (1x umrühren bitte) for BreadBakingDay #31, Bread with Nuts, in celebration of the third anniversary of BBD. Thank you for three years of this inspiring event, Zorra!

Nutty Fruity Sourdough

Yield: 700 g (two small loaves, or one large one)


  • Mix (including autolyse): 35 minutes
  • First fermentation : 2.5 hours with folds at 50 and 100 minutes
  • Preshape, rest, and shape: 35 minutes
  • Proof: 2.5 hours minutes
  • Bake: about 25 minutes (longer for larger loaf)

Desired dough temperature: 76F


  • 89 g flour
  • 74 g whole wheat flour
  • 74 g coarsely-ground whole rye flour
  • 170 g water
  • 118 g mature 100%-hydration sourdough starter
  • 6 g (1 t.) salt
  • 200 g mixed nuts, seeds and dried fruits (I used 40 g walnuts, 35 g pecans, 30 g pumpkin seeds, 35 g dark raisins, 30 g golden raisins, and 30 g cranberries.)


  1. In a bowl, mix the three flours, the water, and the starter until roughly combined. Cover and let rest (autolyse) for 30 minutes.
  2. Add the salt and mix briefly in the bowl. Then turn the dough out onto an unfloured counter and mix by hand until the dough reaches a low-medium level of gluten development. The dough will be sticky but you should be able fold it into a smooth-surfaced ball:
  3. Note that the volume of dough seems small compared to the volume of fruits and nuts. This is correct!

  4. Fold in the fruits and nuts and continue mixing by hand until they are evenly incorporated. The dough will be sticky.

  5. To illustrate the stickiness of the dough, as evidenced by the mess on my hand, I washed one hand to take the picture. If you’re thinking this was a pain, it was. This is what I do for you. You’re welcome.

  6. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled container. Cover and ferment for 2.5 hours, with folds after the first 50 and 100 minutes.
  7. Turn the dough into a lightly floured counter. Divide into two pieces. Preshape them into balls and let rest, covered, for 30 minutes.
  8. Shape the dough into small batards and place them, seam-side-up, in a floured couche or linen-lined baskets.
  9. Proof, covered, for 2.5 hours, or until the indentation left by a fingertip springs back very slowly.
  10. Meanwhile, preheat the oven, with baking stone, to 475F. You will also need steam during the initial phase of baking, so prepare for this now.
  11. Just before baking, slash the loaves as you like.
  12. Once the loaves are in the oven, reduce the temperature to 450F. Bake for 5 minutes with steam, and another 15 minutes or so without steam. Then turn off the oven and leave the loaves in for another 5 minutes, with the door ajar.
  13. Cool on a wire rack.

CommentsLeave a comment

  1. says

    Hey! Your bread is starting to look like mine (shiny dark crust), lol!!

    I want to know how you washed one hand. That takes talent!

    I’ve been tasked with perfecting a certain annoying bread formula. The dough is uber sticky. My friend suggested wetting my hands or oiling my hands before kneading. I haven’t tried it yet, but it sounds like it would work to keep the stickies away.

    I think I’ll have to take a break from that task soon and make this one, it sounds delicious.

  2. says

    wow ! my first reaction on seeing your blog is “wow”….looks like i have reached a perfect place to get all the trips and tricks of baking breads from a professional ! wonderful blog you have :-)

  3. Gabrielle says

    I LOVE seeds n nuts n fruit in my bread – my stash of these extras is currently at an all time low… I’ve got dried pineapple and prunes in rye retarding at the moment.

    Susan, I once ‘experimented’ with steaming by letting water soak into the inside of a terra cotta pot just before baketime… got quite the surprise when I removed the pot from the loaf; it appeared to be an alien, gelatinous mass quivering in my oven! As you say, all was not lost – still tasty, though the crumb was a bit strange. Since then I spray with my mister to keep from oversteaming.

  4. says

    Thank you for this very informative post. I didn’t know one can “oversteam” bread. I’m glad the “end-result” still was nice. Thank you for participating in BBD #31.

  5. J says

    I just pulled this loaf out of the oven about 20 minutes ago, and I have to say, this is delicious! I did let it over proof by mistake…but…lesson learned! I’m definitely making this again sooner rather than later!

  6. aelphan says

    You weren’t able to get a pic of yourself washing one hand then? That’s okay, I guess. But hey- I would gladly install a kitchen-cam for you, no prob. I mean, please don’t waste your time describing and necessarily deflating this banal miracle, but come on! This has to be on youtube! That it is not makes me want to stage it. I am definitely going to write it into a scene, soon- but first the bread. With only one hand.

  7. Les Hentrich says

    This web site is really a walk-through for all of the information you needed about this and didn???t know who to ask. Glimpse here, and you???ll certainly uncover it.

  8. Life of Pie says

    This is a fantastic recipe. The chewy crust and dense flavorful crumb are perfection! I’ve happily doubled the recipe -and used my kitchenaid mixer- to make 2 larger loaves (boules are easiest for me) at a time. Dried cherries are a great substitute for cranberries. I liked your other fruit and nut recipe with soaker too -but this one is more flavorful, IMO (and easier since no soaking). Thanks for another wonderful bread, and for your helpful photos and directions!

  9. says

    Thank you for recommending this recipe. I cannot wait to try this easy and delicious recipe. It looks so healthy and tasty. I can recommend it this to my friends. Great Job.


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