Sourdough Walnut Bread Recipe

Sourdough Walnut Bread Recipe

sourdough walnut bread

I’ve been baking my own sourdough bread for over a year now. White sourdough is probably one of the most satisfying and easy artisanal breads to make as the white sourdough is pretty forgiving and the fermentation and proofing times are reasonable. Recently, I’ve decided it’s time to move on to more complex sourdough breads with darker and more challenging flours. A few weeks ago, I serendipitously came across a used copy of Nancy Silverton’s Breads From La Brea Bakery at the PS Bookstore here in Dumbo Brooklyn. Admission: I first tried the Normandy Rye sourdough bread recipe but this recipe calls for a 3 day starter that needs to be fed 3 times a day! So as others were bringing their kids and pets to work, I was bringing my sourdough starter with me to work for 3 days and feeding it in my cubicle. As luck would have it, on the 3rd day I shattered my sourdough starter jar on the subway ride home. I got a few ugly looks in the subway with the pungent sour smell of sourdough starter emanating from my bag !!!

Anyways until I get around to buying another giant 3 Qt glass jar to house the rye sourdough starter, I’ve been making Nancy’s recipe of Walnut Sourdough bread and I’m very very happy with this bread. The Sourdough Walnut bread recipe is so good that I may not go back to baking white sourdough ever again! The walnut sourdough crust is a rich dark brown color with a thick crunch and full nutty flavor. The interior is a light soft brown (and purple color if you leave it out too long) from the mix of rye and wheat flours with an intense sourdough taste while the caramelized toasted walnuts make for an incredible sweet finish. Honestly this is the best artisanal sourdough bread I’ve made (so far).
Complex Sourdough bread? Yes
The Walnut Bread contains white unbleached, rye and wheat flours so the texture and taste of the bread is more tough and rich than the regular white sourdough. The good news is that you can use the same live yeast starter as the White sourdough bread in the walnut sourdough bread recipe and don’t have to convert its diet over multiple days like you would with a Rye sourdough. But because it contains a low amount of white flour, there is less gluten in the bread which can cause a mess if you happen to over proof. Nancy’s secret to the recipe is to start off with pre-ferment 20 hour sponge / levain to get the traditional sourdough taste before you start the fermentation and proofing. Also there’s supposedly a chemical reaction in the sourdough recipe that occurs with the walnuts that causes the dough to turn a purplish color if left out too long so using the sponge is a great option. Finally because of the rye and wheat flours in the walnut bread sourdough recipe you won’t be able to hand knead this dough.
With that let’s start with the fun equipment you’ll need for the Walnut Sourdough Bread
Equipment for Sourdough Walnut Bread Recipe
Hand mixer with dough hooks (sorry you can’t hand knead this one)
Several large mixing bowls
Plastic wrap
Large Dutch Oven with lid
Measuring cups
Weight Measure (optional)
Rubber Spatula
Baking Paper

Recipe: Walnut Sourdough Bread Recipe

Summary: Walnut Sourdough Bread Recipe


  • Whole Wheat Flour (King Arthur preferred)
  • Medium Rye Flour (King Arthur preferred)
  • White Unbleached Bread Flour (King Arthur preferred)
  • mature white starter,139g
  • milk,30g
  • barley malt syrup,21g
  • whole wheat flour,227g
  • rye flour,99g
  • salt,0.25tsp
  • sugar, 1tsp
  • White bread flour,624g
  • salt,3.25tsp
  • walnut oil,2tbsp
  • walnut halves, 14oz (I used 1lb)


  1. Sourdough Bread Levain / Sponge
  2. water,430g
  3. mature white starter,139g
  4. milk,30g
  5. barley malt syrup,21g
  6. whole wheat flour,227g
  7. rye flour,99g
  8. salt,0.25tsp
  9. Mix and leave at room temperature for 5 hours until there are bubbles visible on the top, then cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for 8-12 hours till doubles in volume. This will depend on how active your starter is but mine was well double after 10 hours.
  10. Main Dough
  11. Sponge
  12. Water,170g
  13. sugar, 1tsp
  14. White bread flour,624g
  15. salt,3.25tsp
  16. walnut oil,2tbsp
  17. walnut halves, 14oz (I used almost 450g)
  18. Preheat an oven to 350F and place walnuts on a cookie sheet and bake for about 10 mins till crispy. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
  19. Mix water, sugar, flour, sponge for 2 mins by hand and let autolyse for 20mins. Add salt mix at medium speed for about 5 mins. It will seem a bit dry but don’t add water. Add oil and the dough will come back to a softer texture, mix for about 2 more mins. Finally knead in the walnuts. I added about 1 lb, it will depend on the size of your walnuts.
  20. Now place the dough into a well oiled bowl and cover tightly and place in the refrigerator for 8-12 hours.
  21. Proofing the Walnut Sourdough Bread
  22. Remove and divide the dough into two pieces. Slap and fold several times then shape into boules. Place in proofing baskets and allow to rise (about 1.5 hours to 2 hours). Because of the high content of Rye flour, do not let it over proof otherwise you’ll end up with a flat shapeless bread. Poke the dough at about 1 hour, then 1.5 hour, etc. If the poked hole remains, it should be time bake. Place a large dutch oven with lid in an oven and preheat to 500F.
  23. Bake your sourdough walnut bread
  24. You have to work quickly here to avoid loss of heat so read and prepare before doing this step. Take the Dutch oven out of the oven and remove the lid. Sprinkle water over the dough, then take a sharp knife and quickly cut a cross across the top of the dough about 1/4 inch deep. Then lift the dough by the baking parchment and drop into the Dutch oven and close the lid. Return the Dutch oven into the oven and bake at 450F for 45 mins. After 45 mins, the internal temperature of the bread should be near 190F. Remove and place on a cooling rack. After 20-30mins, enjoy your awesome Sourdough bread! Repeat the step with your other Walnut Sourdough bread.

Preparation time: 30 hour(s)

Cooking time: 1 hour(s) 30 minute(s)

My rating 5 stars:  ★★★★★ 1 review(s)

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