My "back porch" is my kitchen, my favorite room in the house. Come on in, the coffee is fresh, and I just made a pitcher of sweet tea. The cookies will be out in a minute. I have over 40 years of recipes to share with you, along with my opinion on everything. Oh my, you are right, it is cocktail time. What can I get you? Of course I can make you a Mint Julep! Stop by anytime, something is always cooking, and the back door is never locked.

Bon Appetit, Y'all

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Multigrain Cranberry Walnut Bread

What in heavens name am I doing posting a recipe about making a yeast bread with a sourdough starter. I've only being making breads like this for a month of so. And that's only because Joyce at October Farm has taught me everything I know about making bread, plus she sent me the starter (Isaac).

Anyway, I'm reading this really sweet book How To Bake a Perfect Life by Barbara O'Neal, and this recipe was in the book. I made it, all by myself. Amazing!

It is a wonderful, chewy and very flavorful bread. Plan to begin a day before you want to serve it. It uses a sourdough sponge. Any starter will work just fine, I used Isaac, but the book says if you have a hearty rye starter, it will be especially lovely. Since I have 10 jars of Isaac, I thought I would use what I had.

Multigrain Cranberry Walnut Bread
1 loaf
print recipe

To Begin:
1 cup cranberries, soaked for an hour in hot water

Prepare The Sponge:
1 cup of sourdough starter at room temperature
1/2 cup bread flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup ground walnuts
1 cup cranberry water, pour off the cranberries (add a little plain water to make a full cup if necessary)
2 tablespoons molasses
1 scant teaspoon yeast

Mix all the ingredients and knead for a few minutes, then wrap tightly in plastic and allow to rise at room temperature for 2-4 hours. It should be very foamy.

To Mix The Dough:

Sponge, from above
1 tablespoon oil
1 1/2 cups walnuts, broken into pieces
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4-1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1 cup soaked cranberries

A stand Mixer or bread machine is highly desirable for kneading, because this begins as a very sticky dough.

If using a mixer, put in the sponge and sprinkle with the oil, walnuts, and salt; knead on low for a couple of minutes. Let rest for 30 minutes, then knead again for 10 minutes, or until the dough starts to pull away from the bowl. If it continues to be sticky after the first few minutes, add flour a little at a time, no more than 1/4 cup at this stage. Turn out onto a floured counter and gentlty knead in cranberries. Let rest again for a half hour.

If mixing by hand, turn the sponge onto a floured surface. Oil your hands and knead the oil, walnuts, and salt into the mix until a rough dough forms, then let stand for 30 minutes. Sprinkle dough with flour, oil your hands again, and begin to turn and fold, turn and fold the dough, adding flour a little at a time until it is less sticky. Gently knead knead in the cranberries and let rest for half and hour.

Dust with a little white flour if needed and form the dough into a rectangle. Put this in an oiled 2-quart container (a 4 cups glass measuring cup works well) and mark when the cough will be when doubled. Roll the dough to coat it on all sides. Cover and let rise until doubled.

Deflate the dough, cover tightly, and let stand overnight in the fridge.

In the morning, turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll it into a rectangle that is about 8 inches long. Roll it into a loaf and tuck the ends under. Put the loaf, seam down, on a bkaing sheet lined with silicon or parchment and cover with oiled plastic. Let rise in a warm place until doubled.

A half hour before baking, prreheat the oven to 400 degrees. Fill a large cast-iron skillet with water and put it on the bottom rack of the oven.

Uncover the load and let stand for 5 mintues, then slash the top of the loaf diagonally three times and put it in the oven. Immediately turn the heat down to 375 degrees and bake for 45-55 minutes, until the loaf is golden and sounds hollow when tapped from beneath. Cool on a wire rack.


  1. I have (more than once) tried to keep a starter going, and failed. This however makes me want to try again, this bread sounds lovely.

  2. Sounds delicious -- but I'm not sure I have that much time to devote to it.

    I'm being a weinie -- haha! I'll keep this bookmarked for when I feel adventurous.

  3. Oh Beverly, I am so overwhelmed with school, can you please come cook for me and my family for just a few days?? I think the kiddos are getting tired of frozen pizza and canned chicken noodle soup.

  4. looks wonderful...nice going...don't you just love bread baking? i will have to check out that book...and LOVE nice to have sent you some starter...i know...i would have never gotten that loaf of sourdough if it wasn't for joyce....she walked me through it via email....joyce is The Best !!!!!

    happy baking

    kary and teddy
    p.s. did you know my little teddy is named after joyce's big teddy...joyce saved me when my Buddy died...and i named my new red toy poodle Teddy .... and it is the perfect name for him...

  5. Tell the kiddos to hang on, I'll be right there. They can make the recipe that will post tomorrow.

  6. I need to practice my bread making. Not too good at it....think I need more practice.

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