Wild Rice, Cranberry, and Cornmeal Sourdough

This flavorful loaf needs no adornment. The wild rice affords it an earthy chew, with bright, tart-sweet dried cranberries for counterpoint. It's a wonderful bread for any meal or time of day. Adding yeast will shorten the rise times, but it isn't necessary if your starter is bubbly and very active.

Prep
40 mins
Bake
35 to 40 mins
Total
5 hrs 50 mins
Yield
1 loaf
Wild Rice, Cranberry, and Cornmeal Sourdough

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine the starter, water, yeast, cornmeal, and flours. Mix and knead for 5 minutes. Cover and let rest for 20 minutes.

  2. Knead in the cooked wild rice, salt, and dried cranberries. Knead by hand for 6 minutes, or for about 3 minutes using a stand mixer. Or place in a bread machine programmed to the dough cycle. Cover and let rise for 45 minutes (or let the bread machine finish its cycle).

  3. Turn the dough out and fold it in thirds. Return it to its container, cover, and let rest for 20 minutes.

  4. Shape the dough into a round or oval and place, seam side up, in a basket or bowl lined with a damp tea towel heavily sprinkled with cornmeal. Let rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours; or cover and refrigerate overnight.

  5. One hour before you're ready to bake, preheat the oven (with a baking stone on the middle rack, if you have a stone) to 475°F. If the dough was chilled overnight, take it out of the refrigerator before turning the oven on. Set up a shallow, stovetop-to-oven pan or skillet with 1" of water in it.

  6. When the dough looks puffy (it won't necessarily double in size), bring the pan of water to a simmer on the stove and place it in the oven below the baking stone. Turn the loaf out of the towel onto a piece of parchment on a peel (or onto a baking sheet, if you're not using a stone). Slash the top from end to end, 1/2" deep, with a sharp knife. Slide the dough and parchment onto the stone. If you have a spray bottle, spritz the inside of the oven 5 or 6 times before closing the door.

  7. Bake the bread for 35 to 40 minutes, until deep golden brown all over, and the center measures 195°F or higher when tested with a digital thermometer. The bottom will sound hollow when thumped.

  8. Remove the bread from the oven and cool on a rack before slicing.

  9. Store the bread, tightly wrapped in plastic, at room temperature for several days; freeze for longer storage.

Tips from our Bakers

  • Don’t have any starter? Here’s a recipe for homemade sourdough starter. If you're making it from scratch, you'll need to feed it for 5 to 7 days before it’s ready for baking. Want a head start? Purchase our classic fresh sourdough starter – it’ll be ready for baking about 24 hours after it arrives at your door. Looking for tips, techniques, and all kinds of great information about sourdough baking? Find what you need in our sourdough baking guide.

  • For a taller loaf, the dough can be shaped into a log and placed, seam side down, in a greased 9" x 5" pan for its last rise and to bake.