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Pistachios Dried Cranberries Sourdough Loaf

This is becoming a tradition for me to bake a pistachios dried cranberries sourdough loaf for Christmas. It also makes a great, warm present for your family or friends. This loaf is a nice decoration for a holiday table.


Sourdough Starter 




  • 7 am add starter to the water and whisk together, add flour, mix well, cover loosely, let it sit at a room temp 74-78F for about 8-10 hours until starter reaches its peak (at least triples in volume).
  • Learn how to make starter from scratch here

Note: for starter’s refreshments follow your regular proportions 


  • 5 pm mix water with flour and cover, let it rest 1 hour for autolyse.
  • During the autolyse process flour absorbs water, becoming fully hydrated. This activates gluten development.
  • 6 pm add sourdough starter. 
  • Mix on low speed of your mixing machine for 2-3 min, or KitchenAid on speed 3 for 3-4 minutes until well incorporated.
  • Cover, let it rest for 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile prepared pistachios and cranberries
  • 6:30 pm add salt and extra water. 
  • The process of adding extra water is called bassinage, it helps to tighten up gluten. Mix on low speed of your mixing machine for 2-3 min, or with KitchenAid on speed 3 for 5-6 minutes until well incorporated. The dough should come up together, but still be sticky on the bottom.
  • We will continue gluten development and structure building by performing stretches and folds during the warm fermentation period.
  • Leave to rest 30 minutes. At 74-78F /23-26C
  • 7 pm spray your work surface with water, wet your hands to perform lamination.
  • Lamination is the process of stretching the dough as thin as you can without ripping it.
  • Spread pistachios and dried cranberries all over the dough, fold and let it rest for 45 minutes.
  • 7:45 pm 1st stretch and fold.
  • 8:30 pm 2nd stretch and fold.
  • 9.15 pm 3rd stretch and fold.
  • Performing stretches and folds will help with gluten development. Keep monitoring the dough, if it rises too fast, you can shorten the time between stretches to 40 minutes or less.
  • After the final stretch let the dough proof for 30 minutes at 76-80F/ 23-26C. You should see some bubbles on the surface, the dough has to become lighter. We are looking for 50% rise. 

Preshaping sourdough 

  • 9:45 pm transfer the dough on to a work surface and dust its top with flour. Flip the dough over so the floured side faces down.
  • Fold the dough onto itself so the flour on the surface remains entirely on the outside of the loaf. This will become the crust.
  • Place the dough round on a work surface and let it rest for 30 minutes uncovered.

Shaping sourdough 

  • 10.15 pm dust the dough with flour. Use a dough scraper to flip it over on to a work surface so the floured sides face down.
  • Starting with the side closest to you, pull the right 2 corners of the dough to the left, then fold them up into half of the dough. Repeat this action with the other side too.
  • Finally, roll the dough. Shape it into a smooth, taut roll.
  • Transfer the roll, seam side up, to a prepared proofing basket (loaf pan with kitchen towel).
  • Cover it with plastic and return the dough to the 80F (27C) environment for 15 minutes.
  • Then transfer the dough to rise for 14-24 hours in the refrigerator.


Next morning

  • Preheat your oven to 500 F, place a cast iron pan with the lid inside for 45 minutes -1 hour.
  • Remove the dough from the fridge. 
  • Flip it over on a parchment paper, score it with a sharp knife or a scoring lame. 
  • Transfer on to the hot cast iron pan, cover with the lid (to create steam for a beautiful and crusty crumb).
  • Bake at 500F for 15 minutes with lid on.
  • Remove the lid, lower temperature to 450F. 
  • Bake for 20 more minutes until golden brown.

Enjoy your pistachios dried cranberries sourdough loaf!

16 thoughts on “Pistachios Dried Cranberries Sourdough Loaf

  1. Hi Natasha! I am a huge fan of all your recipes. I am trying to make a bulk amount of loaves 10-12 and so I’m wondering if I can do the final rise outside of the fridge overnight. I just tried it with the purple sweet potato loaves and it worked perfectly, however I also made some plain sourdough and it seemed to over rise. The temp in my house right now is around 68F, I was wondering if you had any suggestions.

    Thank you!

  2. Jonah, hi!
    Sorry for the late response.
    I’ve never practiced that method before.
    Usually I’m keeping it in the fridge, just to avoid overproofing.

  3. Hi Natasha.
    I love all your recipes as they are the perfect size and I manage to do quite well with the bakes (by my standards as I am a Newbie to sourdough baking). I’m very happy with my results for the SD Perfect Formula, Buckwheat, Flaxseed and Semolina; however I seem to be challenged when I make additions. e.g. the Pistachio and Cranberry and the Asiago and Olives SD. There wasn’t much of an oven spring and the crumb was very tight. I have no clue why.
    I changed from a Grocery Store bread flour to a Stone Ground bread flour from a small Mill. I did notice that the bulk rise was slower when using the Stone Ground flour. They tasted great but I’m looking to improve the texture and crumb.
    I would appreciate any suggestions you can provide. Thank you for your recipes and I enjoy and learn from your posts.

    1. Hi!
      Usually when you add something to the loaf it tends to take water on itself. Plus you are using stone ground flour, which requires more water. Try to increase hydration. It might help.🙏

      1. Thank you for taking the time to respond❣️
        I will follow your suggestion.
        Much appreciated.

      2. 🙏🙏🙏

  4. A timing question about this beautiful loaf: if I put it in the frig at 10:30 pm, and leave it there as instructed for 14-24 hours, how can it be ready for the oven to “Bake Next Morning”?
    24 hours would make it ready to bake the next evening at 10:30. 14 would be 12:30 pm, early afternoon. Maybe 9-10 hours are enough?

    Your recipe looks delicious and I appreciate how carefully you explain it step by step. Looking forward ton trying it!

  5. Is 5 grams of starter the correct amount? Seems like way to little to get a good rise out of a bread with some whole wheat flour plus the fruit and nut additions. Also, I have an oval banetton like yours but do not have an oval covered baker. Do I need to adjust the baking time if I use a baking stone with steam added using a cast iron frying pan below it? I can cover with a foil roasting pan for a while. Thanks!

    1. Marlene, hi!
      My starter is super active, that’s why I’m using only 5 g of active starter.
      But you can follow your regular proportions, to prepare Levain for baking.
      And for baking, even with the stone you gave yo follow the same directions.
      Make sure you’ll heat up the stone for at least 1 hour.

  6. This didn’t work too well for me, sadly. I didn’t get much of an oven spring nor did my dough rise during the fridge proof. I normally get my dough to room temp before going into the oven but I didn’t see those instructions here so I put it in shortly after taking it out of the fridge. Was that how you meant it to be done? Curious what went wrong here. I will say that I used my regular starter which didn’t have rye like you have written. Maybe yours is more active than mine. At least it’ll be a festive and tasty dense little loaf, ha!

    1. Sorry it didn’t work out for you.
      There are many reasons:
      -strength of your starter,
      -strength of your dough,
      -proper fermentation
      Also I always bake bread right away from the fridge.
      And I don’t expect for the dough in the fridge to rise.
      Because if it rising during cold fermentation, it looses its strength.

  7. Hi Natasha, Could I sub walnuts for the pistachios?

    1. Sure, you can use any nuts 🙏

  8. Hi, should I soak the cranberries before adding or just add them dried?

  9. Thank you for your amazing recipe, Natasha! It turned out soooo unbelievably good, l still can’t believe l made it! 🫣

    1. Thank you for your kind feedback. I’m so glad it worked out well.

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