Fruit and Nut Sourdough

What a blast from the past. I used to eat Gardenia’s Fruit and Nut Loaf all the time when I was a kid, and this is I guess just a posher version of that.

You still get the same great flavours of plump raisins and crunchy walnuts (as well as some leftover pecans thrown in for good measure). All these fillings were nestled in a bed of chewy bread which surprisingly had decently large air holes given the lower hydration of this dough.

And of course, the classic crunchy crust of sourdough. This recipe surprised me with its delicate, thin crust that nevertheless was still mouth-scratchingly crisp and caramelised.

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I really recommend this recipe for beginner sourdough makers. The lower hydration content means that it’s a really easy dough to work with, but you still get tasty bread with a good bite and a decently open crumb.

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I got the recipe from here but kind of just followed my own timings. Also, I didn’t use a Dutch oven because I don’t have one. Just compensate by creating a steam oven instead.

Ingredients

  • 150g sourdough starter (mine was at 100% hydration, see notes)
  • 350g water
  • 500g strong bread flour
  • 10g salt
  • 65 g chopped walnuts
  • 65 g raisins (but really use any amounts of raisins and walnuts you want, I definitely used more than these amounts)
  • I threw in some leftover pecans as well

Method

  1. Mix the starter with the water and flour and mix until just combined. Let it autolyse for 1 hour (basically just leave it to sit).
  2. Meanwhile, soak your raisins in some water.
  3. After your dough’s done autolysing, dissolve the salt in half a teaspoon of water and add it to the dough. Also add the walnuts and drained raisins. Mix until combined.
  4. Turn and fold. Learn how to do so here. Leave for 30 mins.
  5. After 30 mins is up, turn and fold again. You want to turn and fold a total of 4 times every 30 mins.
  6. After the last turn and fold cover and leave to proof overnight in the fridge.
  7. The next morning, turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Shape the dough by basically stretching and folding from each direction to create tension on the surface of the loaf. Transfer to a well-floured banneton smooth side down, and create more tension by pulling the dough from the sides of the ball towards the center.
  8. Cover and let it rise again for about 2 hours.
  9. 15 mins before baking, preheat your oven to 260°C with a baking tray half-filled with water at the bottom of the oven to create a steam oven.
  10. Tip out your dough onto a lined baking tray. Score your bread if you want with either a bread lame or the sharpest knife in your kitchen.
  11. Place the bread in the steam oven. Mist the oven generously with a spray bottle to generate more steam. Bake at 260°C for 30 mins. Then reduce the temperature to 230°C and bake for 20 mins or until done. Bread is done when it is well browned and when you tap it it sounds hollow.
  12. Leave to cool on a wire rack.

Notes

  • My starter was at 100% hydration. This bread was about 74% hydration. If you have no idea what I’m talking about check out my previous recipe on classic white sourdough.
  • I used an all-white sourdough starter instead of half-wheat half-white like in the original recipe, but it turned out fine.
  • Autolysing just means letting your flour sit with the water before you add any salt or yeast. This is supposed to make the bread easier to handle and have better structure and taste since the flour absorbs the water or something. More here.
  • Turning and folding means you don’t knead the dough. It’s just an alternative method to build structure in the dough usually used for higher hydration sourdoughs, but it can be used for any bread really. Up to your personal preference.
  • Soaking the raisins is supposed to keep them plump in the bread.
  • Scoring helps direct the shape your bread will rise when baked. And it looks pretty.
  • If you score the bread with too heavy a hand (like I did), your dough may deflate a little. Don’t panic, it should rise back up while baking.
  • If you want to check out another bread with a similar flavour profile, but at a higher hydration level (resulting in larger air holes and, to me, better flavour), check out my Walnut and Cranberry Sourdough.
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