Wild Rice, Pecan and Dried Cranberry Bread

Dense and hearty, very pretty (the dough and the loaves), and jam-packed with chewy, earthy wild rice, crunchy toasted pecan pieces and tart-sweet bursts of dried cranberry, it's a good keeper and pairs well with velvety mushroom or creamy chicken and rice soup; it makes interesting cheese sandwiches and out-of-the-ordinary breakfast toast, too. We hope you'll find a place for it in your bread repertoire.

Prep
30 mins
Bake
35 to 40 mins
Total
4 hrs 20 mins
Yield
2 loaves, 14 slices per loaf
Wild Rice, Pecan and Dried Cranberry Bread

Instructions

  1. Mix together the sourdough starter, water, honey, whole wheat flour, and yeast in a glass or ceramic bowl, beat until very smooth, cover, and let sit for 1 to 2 hours, or until very bubbly.

  2. Transfer this bubbly mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer, beat in the salt, then gradually add the bread flour, beating to combine.

  3. Switch to the dough hook, and knead for about 8 minutes on medium speed. At the end of this time, the dough should be cohesive and on the slack side, but not extremely sticky.

  4. Knead in the wild rice, pecans, and cranberries. If you have trouble getting all these "extras" into the dough, knead the stubborn ones in by hand. Note: you can knead this dough completely by hand if you don't have a mixer; it'll be sticky, but not so sticky you can't handle it.

  5. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and set aside to rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

  6. Gently deflate the dough, divide it in half, and shape each piece into a round. Place the rounds into two well-floured 9 1/2" round lined bannetons, or well-floured 9" bowls, cover, and let rise again, this time until not quite doubled in size, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 425°F.

  7. Transfer the rounds to a cornmeal-sprinkled or parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.

  8. Turn the oven down to 375°F and bake for a further 20 to 25 minutes, or until a digital thermometer inserted in the center of one of the loaves registers 190°F.

  9. Remove the bread from the oven, and cool it completely on a rack.

  10. Wrap well, and store at room temperature for several days; freeze for longer storage.

Tips from our Bakers

  • Toast pecans on an ungreased baking sheet at 350°F for 5 to 8 minutes, or just until they start to darken.
  • You can make the dough for this bread in your bread machine but you must cut all of the ingredient amounts in half. Use the Dough or Manual mode to make first the starter, then the dough, adding the wild rice, pecans, and cranberries towards the end of the second kneading cycle. Allow the dough to rise in the machine until it's doubled in size, however long this takes, then proceed with the recipe, making just one loaf instead of two.
  • 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.