Sourdough Oatmeal Walnut Bread

Sourdough oatmeal bread slicesThe first sourdough bread I made was from  Miriam Kresh’s recipe at Israeli Kitchen. Since then I’ve made it numerous times, especially when I am hosting a meeting or party. I’ve recently made some healthy adjustments including cutting out sugar and substituting olive oil. I often add nuts, and substitute spelt for some of the wheat flour. When this recipe comes out right it tastes like cake, but with a tasty and satisfying crust.

If you’ve never worked with sourdough, now is a good time to start!  The sourdough starter requires only takes flour and water. Once you’ve mastered the technique it can bring your baking to a new level. I’ve written simple instructions for making sourdough starter, and readers have found these pictures of sourdough at different stages especially helpful.

When I first started to bake bread, I made a lot of mistakes. It takes a while to learn how much flour to add at the end and how long to let the dough rise. The temperature, humidity and quality of the ingredients all affect the final outcome. But it’s definitely worth the learning curve, and I hope my instructions will save you some hassle.  I used my failures to make bread pudding. Don’t be afraid to try!

The image below gives you an idea of the texture of the bread when it’s ready for the second rising. I generally keep it so loose that I need to pour it into the bowl.

I regularly multiply this recipe by four, but I stick with a cup of starter.

2013-02-18 13.12.46

Dough ready for second rising

Note: The longer you let the dough rise, the tangier the final product. Some people, like my teenage son, prefer it tangier. You can taste the raw dough at various stages to get an idea of the taste of the final product.

Recipe: Sourdough Oatmeal Bread

Summary: Worth the advance planning! Read instructions carefully before starting.


  • One cup sourdough starter
  • 1 cup whole or instant unsweetened oats
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 cups flour (I use a fine whole wheat flour, and often include a cup of spelt flour.)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2-3 cups additional flour, or more
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)


  1. Mix starter, oats, water and 3 cups of flour in a large bowl. The consistency should be like wet oatmeal. Don’t forget to feed your leftover starter.
  2. Place the bowl in a clean garbage bag and tie.
  3. Allow to rise on the counter overnight, or for a minimum of four hours. The longer it rises, the tangier it will be.
  4. Add baking soda, oil, and salt. Mix.
  5. Gradually add flour. Knead the dough by stretching it with a wooden spoon; you don’t have to get your hands dirty unless you want to. It takes about ten minutes of work to mix and knead the dough. As you add flour, the batter will become thicker and stickier. I like to keep it loose enough that I will need to pour it into the pans, but thick enough that it starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
  6. Place the bowl in the bag and leave on the counter for another two hours.
  7. Pour the dough into two loaf pans lined with parchment paper.
  8. Brush with oil and sprinkle with more walnuts (optional).
  9. Place them in the garbage bag and let them rise for 30 minutes.
  10. Heat oven to 200 degrees C. (375 F.) Place the loaves in the oven and immediately turn the heat down to 180 degrees C. (350 F.)
  11. Bake for about 50 minutes, until the crust is dark brown.

Preparation time: 20 minute(s)

Cooking time: 9 hour(s), mostly for rising overnight.

Number of servings (yield): 8

You may also like:

Adventures in Rye Sourdough

7 Ways to Use Leftover Bread

Sourdough Pancakes


  1. Dorron Katzin says

    Would any adjustment be needed for white whole wheat flour?