How to add nuts or fruit to your dough

Sometimes you add dried fruit and nuts when you are first mixing your dough. This is a good idea if you have soaked them before using them as the soaking water will make a difference to the hydration of your dough and it might end up being too wet if you add them later. However, sometimes you might want your dough to develop a strong gluten network before you add your extra ingredients and this can be more difficult as the nuts and fruit will tear the gluten strands as you perform your stretch and folds if you have included them in the initial mix.

The principal reason I held back from adding my extra ingredients in this case though was that I had doubled up my recipe to make one normal sourdough and one with hazelnuts and chocolate drops. By making up a double batch of plain dough I could then divide the dough in half and bake off my plain dough as a normal loaf and add my additional ingredients to the other half.

Here are my the two sourdough loaves I made last night/ this morning:

White sourdough & hazelnut chocolate sourdough

The one on the left is my plain sourdough and on the right the one with the added goodies of toasted hazelnuts and chocolate drops.

The method I demonstrate below for adding extra ingredients can be used for sourdough and yeasted loaves.

After the dough had been mixed, had four rounds of stretch and fold each thirty minutes apart and had fermented for a total of four hours I divided the dough into two. I shaped the one half in the normal way. The other half I stretched out on the work surface and then sprinkled with toasted hazelnuts and chocolate drops.

Stretching sourdough to add inclusions

I then press the toppings into the dough lightly and fold down the top third.

Fold the top third

Then fold the bottom third up.

Fold bottom third up

Fold in the two sides.

Fold in both sides

Then leave to rest seam side down before doing final shape.

Rest seam side down

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