Looking for a delicious sourdough bread recipe? Try this cranberry pecan artisan sourdough bread! The combination of sweet craisins and nutty pecans baked into an artisan loaf is sure to become a year-round favorite. Spread with butter or toast for a satisfying breakfast or snack. This recipe includes detailed instructions and helpful tips for creating the perfect cranberry pecan artisan sourdough bread. Give it a try and impress your family and friends with your sourdough skills!
Sample Sourdough Schedule for Cranberry Pecan Artisan Sourdough Bread
Because sourdough takes much longer than bread made with commercial yeast, a sourdough schedule helps me plan my bake. This sample schedule assumes you are using a ripe/active sourdough starter and keeping your dough at a temperature of 76-78 degrees Fahrenheit.
|7:00AM -10:30 AM||Mix Levain, let rest at 78 degree F Temperature|
|10:30 AM – 11:00 AM||Fermentolyse|
|11:00 AM||Bulk Fermentation|
Add salt and water
|11:30 AM||Stretch and Fold #1|
|12:00 PM||Stretch and Fold #2|
|12:30 PM||Stretch and Fold #3|
|1:00 PM – 2:30 PM||Finish Bulk Fermentation|
|2:30 PM||Laminate Dough and add pecans & craisins|
|2:30 PM- 3:15 PM||Pre-Shape Dough/Bench Rest|
|3:15 PM||Shape |
Begin Cold Bulk Fermentation
|8:00 AM||Pre-heat oven and Dutch Oven|
Important Ingredients in Cranberry Pecan Artisan Sourdough Bread
Sourdough Starter: Make your own, get some from a friend (if you’re local I’m happy to share) or purchase one. Use ripe and active sourdough starter.
Bread Flour: Good quality bread flour with 12-12.5% protein content, I purchase mine from our local mill but King Arthur makes a good one too
Water: Depending on the ambient temperature, the temperature of the water is an important variable in fermentation and making this bread. Read more about how temperature affects sourdough here.
Salt: Salt adds and enhances flavor to the bread. Add it after the fermentolyse – don’t forget it!
Craisins: I use dried craisins in this recipe. I have not tried fresh cranberries, though they may be a little tart and add extra moisture to the dough.
Pecans: I love chopped pecans in this loaf. You can substitute any favorite roughly chopped nut. Walnuts are popular too.
Mixing the Levain
1:1:1 Levain (ready in 3-4 hours/same day): This recipe calls for a levain mixed the same day you mix the bread. It should take 3-4 hours until it’s ready to be mixed with the dough if you keep the levain temperature at 78 degrees F. Levain is ready when it has doubled in size, has lots of bubbles, a slightly sour aroma and is just about to start going down from its peak height. Mix together:
- 40 grams of ripe/mature starter
- 40 grams of warm water
- 40 grams of bread flour
If you prefer to mix the levain the night before, you can mix a 1:10:10 Levain that is ready in 12 hours or overnight
- 6 grams of ripe/mature sourdough starter
- 60 grams white bread flour
- 60 grams water
Want More Information About Sourdough? Check Out My Beginner Guides:
Mixing Sourdough Artisan Bread
Begin by mixing the flour, water and levain together and leaving it to sit for 30 minutes. This process is called a fermentolyse. After a 30 minute rest, add the reserved water and salt to the dough and mix together with your hands. Over the next 1.5 hours you will perform three sets of stretch and folds to strengthen the dough.
To “stretch and fold,” wet your hand (so it doesn’t stick to the dough). Reach down to the bottom of the bowl of dough and pull the dough up and over the top of the dough. Turn the bowl 1/4 turn and repeat the stretch and fold. Turn another quarter turn and repeat. Perform one more 1/4 turn with stretching and folding the dough. Cover and set aside. Take note of how the dough feels through this process. It will go from feeling a little shaggy to smooth and elastic. I like to set a timer and follow this rough schedule for stretching and folding the dough:
- Stretch and Fold #1: 30 minutes in to bulk fermentation
- Stretch and Fold #2: 60 minutes in to bulk fermentation
- Stretch and Fold #3: 90 minutes in to bulk fermentation
Cover the dough and let it rest for the remaining time, about 2 hours.
Laminate the Dough to add Craisins and Pecans
The process of laminating the dough is sometimes used to strengthen dough during the stretch and fold process (you can replace a stretch and fold with this lamination process–without the inclusions). I like to use it to add in the craisins and pecans in this recipe, or really any larger inclusion (ie: cheese, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, chocolate). You can add them in place of the last stretch and fold or wait until the end of the bulk fermentation to add the pecans and craisins.
To laminate: Dump the dough on a clean countertop. Stretch the dough as far as you can on the countertop without tearing the dough. The dough will be fairly thin and should form a square or rectangle shape. Once the dough is thinly spread, sprinkle most of the chopped pecans and craisins on top of the dough. Fold the dough up, adding the rest of the pecans and craisins on the folded part of the dough, until you have a nice little package of dough. Proceed with the bench rest.
Let the dough rest uncovered for about 30 minutes at room temperature. The dough will flatten a bit (like a pancake) during this period of time. This allows the gluten in the dough to relax and prepares the dough to be shaped.
Shaping Cranberry Pecan Artisan Sourdough Bread
Prepare a bowl: Prepare a banneton or a small bowl. Place a kitchen towel or hair net in the bowl. Liberally flour the bowl.
Shaping: After the dough has rested for about 30 minutes it is time to shape the bread into a round. Sprinkle flour on top of the dough (I use a fine mesh strainer). Using the bench knife, lift the dough up off the counter and flip it over onto the countertop, floured side down. This ensures that the flour is staying mainly on the outside of the dough. Starting at the side of the dough closest to you, pull it towards you and fold it up and place it on the center. Repeat the process by pulling the right side of the dough out, stretching it, and then back to the center. Then pull the left side of the dough out to stretch and then to the center. Pull the opposite side of the dough up and towards you and tuck it over like a package. Use your hands and bench knife if needed to drag the dough into a circle. Place the dough into the floured basket.
Pro Tip: Sometimes a craisin or pecan will stick out as you shape the bread. That’s okay, just push it back in the dough, doing your best to keep the inclusions inside the dough and not on the outside (or they will burn).
Cold Bulk Fermentation
Cover the dough with the tea towel/hair net/plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or up to 18-20 hours. If you want to bake the same day, you can let the dough rise for about 3-4 hours and proceed with baking. However, it will be much more difficult to score the dough and it may not be quite as flavorful as dough that has undergone a long cold fermentation.
Baking Cranberry Pecan Artisan Sourdough Bread
Pre-heat the Oven: Put your dutch oven (top and all) into the oven and preheat to 500 degrees. Allow the dutch oven to heat for about 30 minutes at 500 degrees before baking your loaf. Once preheated for 30 minutes, pull your loaf out of the refrigerator. Remove the plastic wrap (this is easy to do straight out of the refrigerator if the dough is chilled–not easy if the dough warms up) and place a piece of parchment paper on top of the bread dough. Flip the dough over so that the dough is now sitting on the parchment paper.
Scoring: Smooth the flour over the top of the cold dough (add a little extra for more contrast if desired). Use a very sharp knife or bread lame to score the dough. For this loaf I prefer one large cut in the middle or to the side of the dough.
Baking: Carefully remove the dutch oven from the 500 degree oven. Take the top off and place your scored loaf into the dutch oven (including parchment paper–this helps with the transfer). Be very careful not to touch the sides of the dutch oven. Put your hot pads back on before you pick up the lid of the dutch oven and place it on top of the bread. Put the whole dutch oven back into your oven. Lower the temperature to 450 degrees and bake for 25 minutes. Once 25 minutes are up, take the top off the dutch oven. Continue baking for 20 minutes until the bread is a crackly deep brown.
Remove the cranberry pecan artisan sourdough bread (and parchment paper) from the dutch oven and place the bread on a baking rack. Let the loaf cool completely before slicing and enjoying!
Looking for a Traditional Artisan Bread Recipe?
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know when the dough has risen enough and is finished with the bulk fermentation?
The dough will be rounded at the top and have some bubbles around the sides showing the fermentation. It will rise a little in the bowl but won’t necessarily double in size. If you keep your dough temperature at 78 degrees F, it should take about 4 hours for the dough to be ready to shape.
My dough isn’t rising. What am I doing wrong?
Make sure that your starter is active and strong. It should be bubbly/double in size/have a slight sour aroma before mixing your levain. Look for those same signs that the levain is ready before mixing your dough. Another thing to check for is that your dough is fermenting at the correct temperature. Temperature is incredibly important to fermentation. Ideally your dough temperature should be 78 degrees throughout the entire process.
Do I have to use craisins and pecans? Can I use something else?
Yes you can use something else! This recipe works well for any inclusions. I love dried fruit, cheese, nuts, jalapeño and even chocolate.
How do I store leftover bread?
I cut my loaf in half and slice it up. Then I’ll stick it in a bread bag or ziplock bag, squeezing out the air and stick it in the freezer. This bread can be frozen for up to a couple months. When you want a slice or two, pull it out and stick a slice straight in the toaster. You can also let it thaw to room temperature and enjoy.
Looking for More Great Sourdough Recipes?
Cranberry Pecan Artisan Sourdough Bread
- 40 grams ripe sourdough starter
- 40 grams all purpose flour
- 40 grams water
Cranberry Pecan Sourdough Bread
- 100 grams ripe levain
- 375 grams water 25 grams reserved for after fermentolyse
- 500 grams white bread flour
- 10 grams salt reserved for after fermentolyse
- 75 grams pecans roughly chopped (about 2/3 cup), reserved
- 90 grams craisins about 2/3 cup, reserved
Day 1: Levain/Mix/Bulk Fermentation/Shape/Cold Bulk Fermentation
- Make levain by mixing together ripe sourdough starter, flour and water. Set aside for 3-4 hours at 78 degrees F.
- Fermentolyse: Once the levain is ripe, mix 100 grams of ripe levain with water and flour. Let sit for 30 minutes.
- Mixing: Add the reserved 25 grams of water and salt to the dough. Use your hands to squeeze the dough between your fingers and incorporate the salt and water. Pinch chunks of dough and reincorporate them together gently. Pick up one side of the dough and fold it over on itself. The dough will be sticky. Wet your hands as needed and continue to work with the dough until it is smooth and all the water and salt is incorporated. Transfer the dough to a plastic container or a glass bowl if desired.
- Bulk Fermentation: A total of 3.5 hoursPerform 3 sets of "stretch and folds."
- To “stretch and fold,” wet your hand (so it doesn’t stick to the dough). Reach down to the bottom of the bowl of dough and pull the dough up and over the top of the dough. Turn the bowl 1/4 turn and repeat the stretch and fold. Turn another quarter turn and repeat. Perform one more 1/4 turn with stretching and folding the dough. Cover and set aside.
- Repeat the stretch and folds every 30 minutes for the first 2 hours until you have completed three sets.
- After your third set of stretch and folds, it's time to add the inclusions.
- Lamination: On a clean counter top, stretch the dough as thin as you can without tearing it. See post for pictures and description. When the dough is fully stretched, sprinkle 3/4 of the chopped pecans and craisins over the dough. Fold the dough up and sprinkle the rest of the pecans and craisins as you fold the dough up into a little package. See post for pictures.
- Finish the last 1.5 hours of bulk fermentation with the dough covered at 78 degrees F.
- Pre-Shape: Tip the bowl upside down, allowing the dough to fall onto a clean counter surface. Be gentle to avoid cutting and degassing the dough as much as possible. Wet your hands and the bench knife. Push the bench knife under the dough while using your free hand to tuck the dough under itself. Repeat this process going around in a circle until you have a tight ball of dough.
- Bench Rest: Let the dough rest uncovered for about 30 minutes at room temperature. The dough will flatten a bit during this period of time.
- Shaping: After the dough has rested for about 30 minutes, it is time to shape the bread into a round. Sprinkle flour on top of the dough (I use a fine mesh strainer). Using the bench knife, lift the dough up off the counter and place it on top of the countertop – floured side down. This ensures that the flour is staying mainly on the outside of the dough. Going around in a circle, pull the dough sideways towards you and then fold up to the top of the round. Move 90 degrees and repeat the same process, pulling the dough sideways and then folding up to the top. As you continue this process around the dough, increase the tension as you pull. Gather the bread into a circle and use a bench knife to lift the bread and place into your lined bowl.
- Cold Bulk Fermentation: Cover the dough and store in the refrigerator overnight or for up to 18-20 hours. Alternatively you can let your dough rise outside the fridge for another 3-4 hours and then bake your loaves the same day.
Day 2: Score and Bake
- Pre-heat the Oven: Put a dutch oven (top and all) into the oven and preheat to 500 degrees. Allow the dutch oven to heat for about 30 minutes at 500 degrees.
- Once preheated for 30 minutes, pull the loaf out of the refrigerator. Remove the plastic wrap (this is easy to do straight out of the refrigerator if the dough is chilled –not easy if the dough warms up) and place a piece of parchment paper on top of the bread dough. Flip the dough over so that the dough is now sitting on the parchment paper. Take off the bowl/banneton and kitchen towel.
- Scoring: Smooth the flour over the top of the dough (add a little extra for more contrast if desired). Use a very sharp knife or bread lame to score the dough.
- Bake: Carefully remove the dutch oven from the 500 degree oven with hot pads. Take the top off and place your bread into the dutch oven (including parchment paper – this helps with the transfer). Be very careful not to touch the sides of the dutch oven. Put your hot pads back on before you pick up the lid of the dutch oven and place it on top of the bread. Put the whole dutch oven back into your oven. Lower the temperature to 450 degrees and bake for 25 minutes. Once 25 minutes are up, take the top off the dutch oven and continue baking for 20 minutes until the bread is a crackly deep brown.
- Let cool and enjoy!
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