Pain de Campagne Bread Recipe (Sourdough)


Described as ‘the antithesis of the industrial factory loaf’ by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, pain de campagne (French for ‘country bread’) is my favourite everyday loaf. This pain de campagne recipe using sourdough starter for leavening the dough is a delightful loaf of bread, guaranteed to please your family, friends or dinner guests.

What is pain de campagne?

Pain de campagne is a large round loaf of sourdough bread typically made with a combination of white and wholemeal flour. I always also add in some rye flour to enhance the flavour of the loaf.

For me, the French country boule is the purest and most fundamentally satisfying loaf of bread there is. I love the chewy crumb, the thick crunchy crust and the characteristic wild bread aromas.

Pain de campagne
Pain de campagne

Pain de campagne sourdough bread baking

I found a way to conveniently fit pain de campagne recipe into my daily routine. Although it takes about forty hours to prepare and bake the bread, the actual active working time spent on the loaf is no more than an hour.

The time spent preparing is rewarded with a loaf of brilliant longevity as the extra fermentation time traps more moisture in the dough and keeps the bread fresh. Sourdough also contains mold-killing compounds which act as natural preservatives.

If you are based in Edinburgh and looking for a sourdough starter, I’m happy to share some of mine! I have tried to bake pain de campagne with baker’s yeast instead of sourdough, but the taste, texture and flavour are just not the same.

Pain de campagne sourdough
Pain de campagne sourdough
Pain de campagne
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Pain de Campagne Recipe

My pain de campagne recipe offers a guideline for timings, but you can easily adapt this to fit around your schedule. In terms of dough hydration for this pain de champagne recipe, I'm working with 71.5% but feel free to adjust this slightly based on the flour you are using or personal preference.


Sourdough Ingredients

  • 100 g rye sourdough starter (I'm using a pretty firm and mature starter at roughly 100% hydration for this recipe. If you are new to sourdough baking and have used my how-to-guide to making a rye sourdough starter, make sure you add some extra flour so it's not too wet. I would recommend to use 67g instead of just 50g wholemeal rye flour and slightly less water, 144g instead of 160g.)
  • 100 g strong white flour
  • 50 g wholemeal wheat flour
  • 50 g wholemeal rye flour
  • 160 g water, lukewarm

Main Dough Ingredients

  • 250 g strong white flour
  • 100 g wholemeal wheat flour
  • 50 g wholemeal rye flour
  • 7 g salt
  • 255 g water, lukewarm
  • 300 g sourdough ferment (From the previous day. The rest goes back into the fridge for your next bake.)


How to make pain de campagne

    Day 1 (7am) - Refresh your sourdough starter

    • In a medium bowl, combine all sourdough ingredients, cover with a lid and keep at room temperature until the next day.

    Day 2 (7am) - Prepare the main dough

    • Combine all main dough ingredients and knead for about 10 mins.
    • The dough should be quite soft, it should still slightly stick to hands and worktop, so carefully add a little more water in case the consistency is too tight and firm. Equally, if the dough is too wet to be workable, carefully add a little bit more flour. In general, for pain de campagne, wetter dough is better dough but it should be easy to work with and definitely not runny.
    • Shape the dough into a pile on your worktop and cover with a plastic bowl. Moisten the rim of the bowl before placing it there. The dough is going to expand and flatten and will stick to the bowl otherwise.
    • Leave the dough for about an hour.
    • Use your dough scrapers to stretch and fold the dough a few times to tighten its structure.
    • Prepare a plate with wholemeal flour, then pick up the dough and dip it into the flour, turn it over to ensure it's completely covered.
    • Transfer the dough to a liberally floured round proving basket, seam-side up.
    • Cover the proving basket with a polythene bag and put it into the fridge. Make sure you don't put the bag on too tightly, the dough shouldn't stick to the plastic bag once risen.

    Day 2 (7pm) - Final prep and bake!

    • Take the proving basket out of the fridge and leave the dough to warm back up at room temperature for about two hours or so.
    • Preheat the oven to 220°C.
    • Line a baking tray with baking paper or preheat your La Cloche baking dome if you have one.
    • Swiftly but carefully move (flip over) the loaf from basket to the tray or bottom of your baking dome.
    • Cut some slashes into the top to give it a nice pattern.
    • Bake at 220°C for 10 mins, and at 200°C for a further 40 mins.
    • Leave to cool on a wire rack.

    Pain de campagne crumb

    Pain de campagne loaf

    Pain de campagne on baking tray


    Potato Bread Recipe with Sourdough (Kartoffelbrot)


    Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

    We are celebrating here. With potato bread and champagne, great combination, try it!

    Potato bread makes use of potatoes to replace some of the wheat flour. The addition of potatoes keeps the bread moist and prevents it from crumbling.

    Usually, potato bread recipes use either raw or cooked potatoes. In this recipe, I’ve combined both methods and also included rye flour (my favourite).

    Potato bread just out of the oven
    Potato bread just out of the oven


    • 15g wheat sourdough starter from the fridge
    • 150g white bread flour
    • 150g water

    Mix ingredients in a bowl, cover with cling film and keep at room temperature overnight  – approximately 16 hours.

    Wheat Sourdough
    Wheat Sourdough


    • 100g white bread flour
    • 1oog water
    • 1/2 tsp dry yeast (or 1g fresh yeast)

    Mix ingredients in a bowl, cover with cling film and keep at room temperature for 2 hours, then transfer to the fridge for 14 hours.

    Wheat Sponge
    Wheat Sponge

    Final dough

    • 300g wheat sourdough
    • Sponge as above
    • 170g white bread flour
    • 50g spelt flour (or use 220g white bread flour if you don’t have spelt at home)
    • 200g strong rye flour
    • 200g water, lukewarm (cooled down potato cooking water can be used)
    • 70g potato (scrubbed, unpeeled, grated)
    • 70g potato (peeled, boiled, mashed)
    • 1 1/2 tsp salt
    Mashed and Grated Potatoes
    Mashed and Grated Potatoes

    How to make pototo bread

    1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, mix together and knead for 12 minutes. It’ll be a little sticky, but the gluten strands make it easy enough to handle.
    2. Cover the dough with the bowl and leave to rest for 30 minutes.
    3. Fold the dough like an envelope – take each corner, fold it to the middle and shape the dough into a ball. Cover the dough again.
    4. Leave to rest for 30 minutes, then flatten and fold again.
    5. Leave to rest for another 30 minutes.
    6. Flatten and fold again, shape into a boule, then place (seam-side up) in a well floured proofing basket.
    7. Cover the proving basket with a polythene bag.
    8. Leave to rest for several hours, depending on the temperature in your kitchen. Alternatively, proof in the fridge overnight.
    9. Preheat the oven to 220°C.
    10. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
    11. Carefully turn out the dough onto the baking tray and place in the oven.
    12. Bake for 15 minutes then turn down the temperature to 180°C and bake for a further 40 minutes.
    13. Cool on a wire rack.
    Potato bread - Just before baking
    Potato bread – Just before baking

    Great with Kerrygold butter and honey but potato bread goes well with most toppings.

    Also great with this amazing Omelette Arnold Bennett!

    Potato bread - Lovely with just butter and honey
    Potato bread – Lovely with butter and honey


    Recipe for sourdough bread with rolled (jumbo) oats


    I usually use jumbo oats when making granola but they also make a loaf of bread nice and wholesome.

    Sourdough bread with rolled oats - check out that moist & chewy look!
    Sourdough bread with rolled oats – check out that moist & chewy look!

    Rolled oats are oat groats (hulled whole grains) that have been rolled into flakes, steamed and lightly toasted.

    Rolled jumbo oats before toasting and soaking
    Rolled jumbo oats before toasting and soaking

    Note that the oats, although quite sizeable, will ‘disappear’ and completely blend into the finished loaf.

    The day before baking

    For the sourdough

    • 160g wholewheat flour
    • 200g spring water
    • 3 tbsp wheat sourdough starter from the fridge

    Mix the ingredients in a bowl and cover with cling film for 16 – 24 hours.

    For the soaked rolled oats

    • 80g rolled (jumbo) oats
    • 220g boiling water

    Toast the jumbo oats in a frying pan (no oil) for the nutty flavour to come out. Pour the boiling water over the oats and cover with cling film for 16 – 24 hours.

    The day of baking

    • Sourdough (as above)
    • Soaked rolled oats (as above)
    • 350g strong wheat flour
    • 100g rye flour
    • 180g water, lukewarm
    • 4g dried yeast
    • 14g salt

    How to make it

    1. Add all ingredients in a large bowl to form the dough, then knead for 10 minutes on a clean surface.
    2. Leave the dough to rest for 30 minutes; cover the dough ball with the bowl you used to mix the ingredients.
    3. After 30 minutes, fold the dough like an envelope. First squeeze out the air of the slightly risen dough and shape into a rectangular shape. Fold all four corners into the middle, squeeze together, then around to repeat the process another two times.
    4. Leave to rest for 30 minutes.
    5. Fold again.
    6. Rest for 30 minutes.
    7. Fold again.
    8. Rest for 1 hour.
    9. Fold the dough into a round baton shape.
    10. Place into a very well floured proving basket and cover with a kitchen towel. If you don’t have a proving basket, you can just flour your kitchen towel and wrap the dough up tightly.
    11. Rest for 1 hour.
    12. After 1/2 hour preheat the oven to 250°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
    13. Once the full hour is up (and the dough has doubled in size), carefully turn out the dough onto the baking tray.
    14. Make a few incisions at the top for a good-looking crust and place the tray in the lower half of your oven.
    15. Initially bake for 15 minutes at 250°C until the dough has browned well.
    16. Then reduce the temperature to 180°C and bake for a further 35 minutes.
    17. Make sure the bread is fully baked – it should sound hollow when you tap the base of the bread or in more scientific terms, the core temperature of the bread should have reached at least 93°C.
    18. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
    What a lovely loaf - bread 'infused' with rolled toasted oats
    What a lovely loaf – bread ‘infused’ with rolled toasted oats

    And here’s my husband’s review I asked him to write 🙂

    “The bouncy texture and nutty aroma just scream out EAT ME! Love it with butter, a generous dollop of strawberry jam and a cup of tea to kick-start my mornings.”


    Rye Bread Rolls Recipe – Austrian Schusterlaberl


    Schusterlaberl (also Schusterloaberl or Schusterlaibchen) which translates as ‘shoemaker loaves’ are fragrant Austrian rye bread rolls and have always been a favourite of mine. The smell of these freshly baked rye rolls is mesmerising and brings back childhood memories of stepping into the village bakery (now unfortunately closed) in Gilgenberg.

    Bäckerei Sporrer Gilgenberg Austria
    Bäckerei Sporrer Gilgenberg, Austria

    Rye Bread Rolls Recipe (Schusterlaberl)

    Full of nostalgic feelings, I’ve been trying to bring the delicious Schusterlaberl back to life in my own kitchen in Edinburgh. Here is my recipe for these unrivalled rye bread rolls. Admittedly, I still have to work on the roughness of the crust, but in terms of flavour and overall taste, I’m happy to say that I have succeeded to evoke the flavours of my childhood memories with the recipe below.

    Schusterlaberl - Fragrant Austrian Rye Bread Rolls
    Schusterlaberl – Fragrant Austrian Rye Bread Rolls

    Schusterlaberl are made with both rye and wheat flour. Natural sourdough and yeast are used as leavening aids and spices such as ground coriander seeds, caraway seeds, fennel seeds, and anise seeds give the rolls their wholesome flavour. The rye rolls are characterised by their rustic look, crisp, their crunchy crust and chewy, dense centre.

    Day 1 – Sourdough

    • 20g sourdough starter
    • 40g rye flour
    • 40g white wheat flour
    • 80g water, lukewarm

    Combine the ingredients for your sourdough in a bowl, cover and leave to mature for approx. 16 hours at room temperature.

    Day 2 – Main Dough

    • 160g sourdough
    • 100g rye flour
    • 325g white wheat flour
    • Approx. 250g water, lukewarm
    • 15g malt extract
    • 12g salt
    • 2g dry yeast
    • 1/2 tbsp ground spices (caraway seeds, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, anise seeds – combine according to personal preference, I like to use a larger part of caraway seeds)
    • Extra rye flour for shaping

    Schusterlaberl Dough

    How to make the rye bread rolls (makes 12)

    1. Mix the sourdough prepared the previous day with the other dough ingredients and knead for 15 minutes.
    2. Shape into a ball and leave to rest for 2 hours (in a plastic bowl, covered) until doubled in size. You can also choose to slow-prove the dough in the fridge overnight.
    3. Prepare a clean kitchen towel and dust well with flour.
    4. Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a clean work surface.
    5. Shape into a sausage, divide into 12 pieces (approx. 70 – 80g each) and form into a rough mini boule.
    6. Cover with cling film and rest for 20 minutes to relax the dough.
    7. Now we get to the process called ‘schleifen’ in Austrian baker speak.
      Here is a great video to show how this is done –
      Make a small indent to the bottom side of each piece, dip the bottom side in rye flour and shape in circular movements inside your cupped hand on a clean linen towel.
      Dip the bottom side in rye flour again and place each of the shaped rolls (rough bottom side down) on the kitchen towel and leave to prove.
    8. Cover again with cling film/plastic (to prevent them from drying out) and leave to prove for approximately 40 minutes. Depending on the temperature in your room, this could take longer.
    9. When still slightly underproved, place the dough rolls on a baking tray lined with baking paper (rough bottom side up this time). Leave enough space between the rolls – they should be at least 5 cm apart as they will rise some more and you don’t want them to touch. Leave to prove for another 20 minutes (or longer depending on the temperature in your room) to complete the proving process.
    10. While the rolls are rising, preheat the oven to 220°C.
    11. Place the baking tray in the oven on the middle rack.
    12. Bake the rolls for approx. 20 minutes until golden brown.
    13. Cool on a wire rack.

    Schusterloaberl are best the day they are baked but can be frozen for later (first cool completely, then wrap well). Defrost, then warm through at 180°C for 5 to 10 minutes.

    Schusterlaberl (Austrian Rye Bread Rolls)
    Austrian Rye Bread Rolls Showing Their Beautiful Open Crumb


    100% Rye Bread Recipe Selection: The Best Pure Rye Bread Recipes


    Rye flour is my favourite flour for bread baking. It produces breads with a rich and hearty taste, complex nutty flavours and a moist, dense and chewy texture. 100% pure rye breads are higher in fibre and lower in fat than wheat loaves and therefore have added health benefits. From a practical viewpoint, I also love the longevity of rye loaves. Here are my top four 100% rye bread recipes, all based on sourdough baking.

    100% rye bread with cheese and vine tomatoes
    100% Russian rye bread with cheese and vine tomatoes

    100% pure rye flour baking notes

    There is one thing in all-rye bread baking I don’t enjoy – the sticky dough which is difficult to handle. However, the good thing is that rye gluten isn’t particularly strong and kneading is therefore not required.

    For purist reasons, I prefer not to add colouring agents such as molasses, malt, treacle, caramel, coffee or cocoa to achieve that rich, dark colour associated with rye breads.

    Having experimented with quite a few 100% rye bread recipes, my favourite loaves use sourdough, no commercial yeast. All recipes below are 100% rye sourdough loaves, without wheat flour. If you haven’t already got a rye sourdough starter, you can easily prepare one from scratch.

    My top four 100% rye bread recipes

    I use rye flour in most of my bread recipes, it adds great depth of flavour and taste. The following 100% rye bread recipes take this to the next level by using only rye flour.

    Rye Bread Recipe #1: Andrew Whitley’s Russian 100% Rye Sourdough Bread Recipe

    The recipe I love most requires only four ingredients: rye sourdough starter, rye flour, water and salt. I usually add a bit of Brotgewürz as an optional addition as it enhances the flavour of the loaf.

    The recipe has been taken from the book Bread Matters: Why and How to Make Your Own by Andrew Whitley and has been slightly adapted. Here is how it’s done –

    Day 1 – Prepare Sourdough

    • In a bowl, combine 50g rye sourdough starter, 220g wholemeal rye flour and 220g lukewarm water.
    • Cover and keep at room temperature for approx. 16 – 24 hours.

    Day 2 – Prepare Dough

    • In a large bowl, combine 440g of yesterday’s sourdough mixture (keep the remaining sourdough for your next bake), 260g rye flour, 200g lukewarm water and 7g salt (plus 1 large tbsp of Brotgewürz if you like).
    • Mix thoroughly, place the dough back into the bowl, cover and rest for approx. 30 minutes.
    • Grease a lidded pullman loaf tin (I use vegetable oil and a kitchen brush to do this).
    • Transfer the dough from the bowl to the tin. This is best done with wet hands and dough scraper. Distribute evenly.
    • Sprinkle a little rye flour on top, then place the lid on the tin.
    • Place the tin in the fridge overnight.

    Day 3 – Bake

    • Take the tin out of the fridge and preheat the oven to 240°C.
    • The dough should have risen considerably – if the dough half-filled the tin on day 2, it should now be close to the top.
    • Bake at 240°C for 10 minutes, then turn the heat down to 220°C and bake for another 45 minutes or so. If in any doubt, give it a little longer in the oven – rye loaves hold a lot of water.
    • Cool on a wire rack.
    • Once completely cooled, wrap in cling film and leave to rest for a day. The flavour of the loaf will develop further in that time and the crumb will improve.

    Rye Bread Recipe #2: Dan Lepard’s Sour 100% Rye Bread

    Another one of my all-time favourites, this 100% rye bread recipe uses a rye sourdough starter, fine rye flour and a clever gelatinised rye mix (made by mixing boiling water and rye flour) to aid the elasticity of the crumb. It’s a recipe from the book The Handmade Loaf: The Best European and Artisan Recipes for Homemade Bread by Dan Lepard. I ususally add caraway seeds or coriander seeds for extra flavour. Here are the recipe and my baking notes.

    Dan Lepard's 100% Rye Bread Recipe
    Dan Lepard’s 100% Rye Bread Recipe

    Day 1 – Prepare Gelatinised Rye Mix & Sourdough

    • Prepare a medium bowl and weigh in 60g fine white rye flour. Boil 240g water and cool it to 90°C (I use a Thermapen to check this). Add the water to the bowl and whisk it in. Try to avoid too many lumps by whisking quickly and vigorously. Cover the bowl and leave for 16 – 24 hours (same as the sourdough below).
    • In another bowl, combine 50g rye sourdough starter with 100g dark rye flour and 100g water. Mix well, then cover and set aside at room temperature for 16 – 24 hours.

    Day 2 – Main Dough

    • In a large bowl, combine 50g cold water with 200g rye sourdough (the rest goes back into the fridge for your next bake). Whisk together.
    • Add all but 2 tbsp of the gelatinised rye mix into the bowl and whisk in.
    • Add 300g fine white rye flour, 7g salt and a tbsp of rapeseed oil and mix well. I use a silicone spatula to do this and avoid getting stuck in with my hands – it’s a soft sticky dough.
    • Prepare a loaf tin (the one I use is 15.2 x 10.2 x 12.7 cm), spread a tbsp of caraway or coriander seeds at the bottom, then – with wet hands – take the dough and put it into the tin. Even out the top and spread the gelatinised rye mix over the top.
    • Cover with a polythene bag and put into the fridge for 16 – 24 hours.

    Day 3 – Bake

    • Take out the loaf tin from the fridge, the dough will have almost doubled in size.
    • Preheat the oven to 220°C.
    • Bake for 50 minutes.
    • Leave to cool on a wire rack.
    • Once cold, wrap in kitchen baking parchment, tie well with string and leave for a day before slicing.

    The bread tastes great with smoked fish, smoked meats with horseradish or root vegetable soups.

    Dan Lepard Pure Rye Flour Bread
    Dan Lepard Pure Rye Flour Bread

    Rye Bread Recipe #3: German-Style Pure 100% Rye Bread Recipe

    I bake this 100% rye bread recipe almost every week. It uses an old bread soaker which is popular in German sourdough bread baking.

    Day 1 morning – Prepare Sourdough

    • 10g sourdough starter
    • 140g fine rye flour
    • 110g water
    • Combine ingredients in a bowl, cover and keep at room temperature for 16 – 24 hours.

    Day 2 morning – Enhance Sourdough

    • 260g sourdough from the day before
    • 200g fine rye flour
    • 160g water
    • Combine ingredients in a bowl, cover and keep at room temperature for 3 hours.

    Day 2 morning – Prepare Old Bread Soaker

    • 50g old stale bread (preferably dark sourdough bread)
    • 100g water
    • Soak old bread in a small bowl for 3 hours, then puree with a stick blender.
    • This is a technique commonly used in German-style bread baking and adds great flavour.

    Day 2 afternoon – Prepare Main Dough 

    • 610g sourdough (as prepared in the above steps, the remaining 10g of sourdough go back into the fridge for your next bake)
    • 325g dark rye flour
    • 250g fine rye flour
    • 150g pureed bread soaker (as per the above)
    • 400g water
    • 16g salt
    • 2 tbsp fennel or coriander seeds (optional)
    • Combine the ingredients and mix well.
    • Place the dough in a bowl, cover and keep at room temperature for approx. 30 minutes.
    • Butter a large heavy-duty loaf tin (I used a Pullman loaf tin, 33 cm long, 10 cm wide) and sprinkle some crushed fennel or coriander seeds onto the bottom of the pan (these will infuse the bread during baking).
    • Move the dough from the bowl into the loaf tin and distribute it evenly (best done with wet hands).
    • Cover the loaf tin with a lid if you are using the Pullman loaf tin. If you don’t have a lid for the loaf tin, place the tin into a polythene plastic bag. Covering it is important to prevent the dough from drying out during the final proof.
    • Place the covered loaf tin in the fridge overnight – approximately 10 to 12 hours.

    Day 3 – Bake

    • Take the loaf tin out of the fridge. The dough should have visibly risen.
    • Preheat the oven to 200°C.
    • Once the oven is preheated, bake for 65 minutes. If you are using a Pullman loaf tin, leave the lid on during the bake. If you are not using a Pullman loaf tin, you can bake the bread without a lid. Leaving the lid on will keep the bread moister but you will be able to achieve great results without the lid as well.
    • If using a lidded loaf tin, take the lid off for the last 10 minutes of the baking time, to help brown the top crust.
    • Cool on a wire rack.

    Rye Bread Recipe #4: Traditional German 100% Rye Pumpernickel

    Finally, taking pure 100% rye bread recipes and baking one step further, try my traditional German pumpernickel recipe, using rye grains and cracked rye instead of flour.

    Vinschgerl Recipe – South Tyrolean Flatbreads


    Vinschgerl (also sometimes Vintschgerl) are rustic palm-sized flatbreads which originate in South Tyrol. Blue fenugreek (Brotklee, Schabziger Klee, trigonella caerulea) adds a very distinctive, slightly spicy flavour to these delicious breads and the flat shape ensures that there is a lot of surface for the strong crust to form.

    Vinschgerl - Rustic, aromatic flatbreads.
    Vinschgerl – Rustic, aromatic flatbreads. Great to serve with a charcuterie board!

    Vinschgerl Recipe

    Ingredients – Makes 12 Vinschgerl

    • 400g fine rye flour
    • 200g wholewheat flour
    • 15g of rye sourdough
    • 1½ tsp of salt
    • 1 package of dried yeast (7g)
    • 1 tbsp of honey
    • ½ tsp blue fenugreek
    • 350g water, lukewarm
    • 200g natural yoghurt (not straight from fridge)
    • 1 tsp fennel seeds, crushed with pestle and mortar
    • 1 tsp coriander seeds, crushed with pestle and mortar

    How to make Vinschgerl

    1. Mix the wet ingredients (water, honey, yoghurt) in a small bowl.
    2. In a large bowl mix the flours, sourdough extract, yeast, salt, blue fenugreek and the crushed seeds together.
    3. Add the wet ingredients to form the dough (using your hands for this will be easiest). The dough should be quite soft and gooey due to the high rye content. Add some more water if necessary but don’t add any more flour.
    4. Leave to rise in a warm place for up to 6 hours. The dough will have a less sticky, ‘cleaner’ consistency after this long rest and you will be able to shape it into a rectangle (approx. 2 cm high) on a clean work surface. If it’s still too soft, just shape it into a rectangle with wettish hands.
    5. Take a knife to divide the dough into 12 smaller rectangular pieces.
    6. Put the pieces onto two separate pieces of baking parchment (6 each). Place two pieces each right next to each other – this is the traditional way of baking them.
    7. Carefully dust or rub the surface of the dough pieces with a little rye flour, then cover with a clean, dry kitchen towel. (This will make the delicious cracks in your Vinschgerl more visible.)
    8. Leave to rise in a warm place for another 1 – 2  hours.
    9. ½ hour before baking – preheat the oven to 220°C (Gas 6).
    10. Bake for 35 minutes.
    11. Cool on a wire rack.
    A pair of Vinschgerl, baked in the traditional way.
    A pair of Vinschgerl, baked in the traditional way.

    Also try this rye flatbread recipe for South Tyrolean Schüttelbrot.

    Walnut bread recipe in four variations


    Having been home in Austria for Christmas, I brought back a big pack of shelled walnuts from the trees in my parents’ garden. A good time to experiment with walnut bread! Try my walnut bread recipe below – a sourdough walnut loaf using white wheat and wholegrain rye flour.


    My walnut bread is a slightly sweet bread and as such makes a great accompaniment to cheese boards with grapes, apricots or figs.

    Walnut Bread Recipe – In Four Variations

    Walnuts are super versatile and can be incorporated into bread in various different ways. Although the main walnut bread recipe remains the same, have a look through the walnut preparation options below to pick your favourite before starting.

    Walnut bread
    Walnut bread



    • 50g rye sourdough starter
    • 100g wholegrain rye flour
    • 100g water

    Main dough

    • 350g strong white flour
    • 50g wholegrain rye flour
    • 8g salt
    • 190g water, lukewarm, if using the walnut paste (described below) OR
      260g water, lukewarm, for the other variations (as below)
    • 1 tbsp walnut oil (optional)
    • 200g walnuts in either of the below variations (e.g. 100g lightly crushed walnuts, 100g walnut paste or 200g caramelised walnuts). Lightly crushing your walnut halves with a rolling pin makes it easier for the oils to be released into the dough.

    Four different ways of preparing the walnuts –

    Caramelised walnuts
    Finely chop fresh rosemary leaves, you need 1 tbsp. Dry-roast 200g walnuts in a frying pan (i.e. without any oil). Add the finely chopped rosemary and 2 tbsp of honey and caramelise the walnuts. Be careful not to burn them. Let them cool on a plate.

    Mixed nuts with rum
    From the book Rustikale Brote aus deutschen Landen by Gerhard Kellner.
    For this recipe, you need 100g of walnut halves, lightly crushed, as well as 100g hazelnuts.
    Dry-roast the hazelnuts in a frying pan (no oil). Pour over 35ml of lukewarm water once finished roasting. In a separate pan, dry-roast the walnuts and cover with 3 tbsp of rum.
    Leave to soak overnight and drain any excess liquid.

    Walnuts soaked in milk
    Heat some milk until boiling – you’ll need enough to cover 200g walnuts in a small bowl. Cover the walnuts with boiling milk and leave to cool.
    Once cooled, drain any excess liquid.

    Walnut paste
    As per Dan Lepard’s book ‘The Handmade Loaf’.
    Make 100g walnut paste and also add 100g of halved or crushed walnuts into your final dough.
    For the paste, you need 50g of walnuts, 50g of water, 2 tbsp of honey, 20g melted butter (lightly browned) and a pinch of salt.
    Place all ingredients into the bowl of your hand blender and blend until you have a soft, smooth paste.

    How to make walnut bread

    Day 1

    1. Combine the sourdough ingredients in a medium bowl, cover and leave to rest at room temperature for 16 to 24 hours.

    Day 2

      1. Combine 200g of sourdough (the rest goes back into the fridge for your next bake) with the main dough ingredients and walnut paste if using, but don’t add the whole walnuts at this point.
      2. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes. 
      3. Shape into a ball, place in a lightly floured bowl, cover and keep at room temperature for an hour or so. The dough should have visibly expanded during this time.
      4. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface.
      5. Use your fingers to flatten the dough and sprinkle the (lightly crushed, caramelised or soaked) walnuts over the surface.
      6. Work the dough to distribute the nuts evenly.
      7. Shape the dough into a round and place into a pre-floured proofing basket.
      8. Leave to rise for several hours at room temperature until fully proofed.
      9. Preheat the oven to 200°C and preheat your La Cloche baking dome at the same time (from cold) if using.

    Transfer the bread from proofing basket to the La Cloche plate or onto a baking tray lined with baking paper.

    1. With a sharp knife, make a few criss-cross cuts into the loaves just before baking.
    2. Bake for about 50 minutes. Take the La Cloche lid off for the last 10 minutes if using.
    3. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool.

    I love baking with walnuts. If you’d like to try a different walnut bread recipe, take a look at these posts also:

    Hausbrot – Traditional Austrian Bread Recipe


    At home in Austria for the week, I was keen to bake some traditional Austrian Schwarzbrot (black bread) with my family. It was a good team effort! My grandmother provided the recipe for Hausbrot, my mum prepared the rye sourdough and got the various ingredients ready and I did the dough work.

    There are many different recipes for Austrian Hausbrot (‘bread of the house’) but all of them have the following ingredients in common –

    • A variety of flours whereby rye flour is always used but usually mixed with wheat or spelt flour
    • Sourdough
    • Yeast
    • Austrian bread spices
    Rye-heavy Hausbrot Closeup
    Hausbrot (Austrian rye & wheat bread) with a nice even crumb and a hearty crust

    Typically, proving baskets/bannetons (called Simperl or Gärkörbchen in German) made of cane or rattan are used to rest and prove the bread and mould its final shape. These bread baskets come in round or oval shapes and different sizes. Proving baskets are perfect for soft and loose doughs and give your bread loaves uniform-ish shapes.

    Hausbrot Austrian Schwarzbrot Recipe

    A true taste of Austria, try this Austrian bread recipe (my grandmother’s authentic family recipe) with a creamy Austrian potato soup or hearty Goulash soup.

    Hausbrot ingredients


    Sponge (preferment)

    • 1g dried yeast
    • 150g wholemeal wheat flour
    • 150g water

    Remaining dough ingredients

    • 150g plain wheat flour
    • 100g white rye flour
    • 8g salt
    • 3g dried yeast
    • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds, lightly crushed with a pestle and mortar
    • 1 tablespoon Austrian bread spices

    How to make Austrian black bread: Hausbrot

    24 hours before the bake

    1. Prepare the sourdough and preferment in two separate bowls and cover. Keep at room temperature for about 16-24 hours.

    Baking day

    1. Combine 500g of the sourdough (the rest goes back into the fridge for your next bake), the preferment, plain flour, rye flour, salt, yeast, fennel seeds and Austrian bread spices to make a soft dough.
    2. Knead for approx. 10 minutes. The dough will be quite sticky due to the high rye flour content in this recipe but should be manageable.
    3. Shape the dough into a ball and place it into a bowl, cover and keep at room temperature until it has doubled in size (approximately 1 to 2 hours depending on the temperature of the room).
    4. Prepare the proving basket by lightly dusting it with flour. If you don’t have such bread baskets to hand, you can also use a bowl lined with a kitchen towel and flour. This technique will support the shape of the dough and will ultimately avoid that the dough flattens when it expands.
    5. Give the dough another quick knead and form a loaf.
    6. Cover the dough surface with flour (I tend to do this on a floured work surface and with floury hands) and place it in the proving basket.
    7. Leave to rest for another 2 hours or so for the bread’s final prove. Again, this may take longer depending on your room temperature.
    8. 20 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 250°C. If you have a La Cloche baking dome, preheat this in the oven from cold at the same time. If you don’t have a baking dome, preheat a baking tray.
    9. Turn out the loaf from the proving basket onto the hot baking dome plate or baking tray (line the tray with baking parchment first).
    10. Score the dough with a bread scoring knife and cover with the baking dome if using.
    11. Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes at 250°C and for another 50 minutes at 200°C.
    12. Cool on a wire rack.
    13. Wait until the next day to cut and eat the bread.
    Austrian bread - Hausbrot
    Austrian bread – Hausbrot