Whole Wheat Raisin and Walnut Bread

I’ve been making this bread for over five years. I’m not sure where I first picked up the recipe. If I could remember, I’d thank the person because it’s absolutely fantastic. And the variations come as easy as making the bread. You won’t be let down with this one. It’s really wonderful. Also, to the vegans: as long as you’re not opposed to honey, this is a vegan recipe.

What you will need

  • Mixer (Optional, but much easier)


  • 3/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
  • 2 cups lukewarm water
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 to 3 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup walnuts (slightly broken up)
  • 1 large egg (just for glazing the top!)

Mom It Down!

In a small bowl, soak your raisins in 1/2 cup lukewarm water. Leave that for however long.

In your mixer, add 1/2 cup of warm water, yeast and honey. Stir that until it’s dissolved. Let that sit for at least 5 minutes or until foamy. Stir in the remaining 1 1/2 cups water.

Add whole wheat flour, and 1 1/2 cups of the all-purpose flour and salt. Stir that up until it’s combined. Mine was still very sticky at this point. Continue adding your flour until it’s easy to handle and the dough comes away from the bowl. I continued adding flour until it was just sticky enough to work with, but not so sticky it proved unmanageable. This won’t sound nearly as confusing or vague once you’re doing it. I promise.

Remove the dough from the mixer and/or blade and work it on a lightly floured surface for 5 – 10 minutes. (I cut corners BIG time here because my mixer did a fair amount of kneading on its own. It’s up to you, really. Knead it for however long you’d like. Seriously.)

Place dough into a lightly oiled bowl. Let that sit for at least 1 1/2 hours. (Yesterday, I let mine sit for at least 2. We went into the city to try and help Em overcome his fear of the subway while it rised on the counter at home.)

When your dough has risen and you find some more time, drain and pat dry the raisins that have been sitting in the bowl soaking in water. Then, turn to your waiting dough and punch it!

Remove the dough from the bowl and work it on a floured surface. Slowly begin kneading in the raisins and walnuts. It may seem a bit cumbersome at first, that’s normal. Just keep adding both items and as they fall out knead the bread overtop of any of those that were liberated. I promise, it works!

Place the ball of dough onto an oiled cookie sheet. It will spread out! I usually take a damp towel, and while the oven is heating up to 425, I cover the dough up to its sides. It keeps it from spreading out too much, not that it’s really a problem. If it spreads out, simply work it back into a nice big circle whenever you’re ready to bake it.

Let it sit for 30 minutes while the oven heats up.

If you’re using the egg, beat it and use it to cover the top and sides of the bread. I usually use my hand because a certain feline member of this household ate our brush. I’m usually pretty liberal with the egg but feel free to do whatever comes naturally. Egg it up! Or don’t egg it at all.

Bake at 425 for 15 minutes after 15 minutes, at which point lower oven temp to 375 and bake for another 25 to 30 more minutes. YOU’RE DONE!

Overcoming Obstacles

I think I covered any obstacles in the write up of this recipe but just to recap, if your dough spreads out while rising on the oiled cookie sheet, just work it back into a circle. It will be fine. Also, I might suggest checking the bread at 25 minutes. It depends on how intense your oven is, but mine was done yesterday after 25. This varies, however. Our old oven took the full 30 and sometimes 35.

Please, if I have missed something or you’re confused about something you read here, please don’t hesitate to comment here. I have been making this for so long, I probably am forgetting something or taking my comfort level for granted.


I have added spices. I have skipped the walnuts (because I didn’t have them on hand!) I think I’ve used normal raisins. The base of this bread is so simple, you can really get creative with the flavor and additions. Enjoy!

Lastly! I totally messed up the Amish Friendship stater I had been given. How? Well, I am apparently not very good at long-term dough relationships. I let it go far too long (12 days instead of 10) and it smelled not so good. I had no choice but to toss it. Forgive me! But then I realized that if I can’t seem to do this, it’s not very Mom It Down-able, at least not for this mom. Perhaps I’ve just had my head in the clouds lately. Either way, I’m sorry. But for now there will be no Amish Friendship Bread. (And that’s too bad, because the sample I had from a more successful mother was superb. I ate so much of it, I got sick.)


  1. I bet this would be really good with Currants instead of raisins (which i detest.)

    Exactly how did the Amish bread starter smell ? Starters usually smell quite foul. The best injera and sourdough starters will make you want to gag. I made a Biga a few weeks ago that smelled… well… all sorts of wrong, kind of like a cross between a gym sock, the strawberry boones that girls with too much makeup drank in college, nail polish remover, and beer. The focaccia it made was absolutely delightful though!

    Oh, if you’d like to mom-it-down on making your own kombucha, i can give you a colony.


  2. Well, it wasn’t so much that it smelled all that horrible (although, it did turn my tummy) it’s that i missed the 10-day window. I thought it was 12 and because i didn’t read the damned instructions, I blew past day 10 and right onto day 13 before realizing I may have let it go too long.

    At that point, because I get weird about things the moment they are a minute past their ‘due date’ I had to toss it.

    Issues? Yes, I have them. I bet it would have been totally great, but I couldn’t get over the weirdness i had toward it.

    Not sure if that makes sense.

    Funny you detest raisins, I am not a fan of currents. (Although, I’ve only ever had it in liquid form and the flavor made me gag.)

    To each their own! I bet it’d be awesome.


  3. That’s so sad — Creme De Cassis is a great liquour, and a Kir or Kir Royale is so nice in the summer.

    It is odd how much I hate raisins. They’re just wrong to me. I like dried currants and cranberries though. That bread with cranberries would be even better, i bet!

    The days on fermented foods are often flexible, and usually based on their peaks or windows of tastiness. Since you always recycle starters, they’re essentially always part “old” — and mixing in some new ‘feeder’ will either start the process new again, or bring it back into balance.

    Kombucha is a great example — if it gets too old, it becomes vinegary… but you can dilute it with some water or tea and it becomes more drinkable… or even cover it with some sugar-water and grow a new colony from scratch.


  4. That bread looks delicious! If there are vegans who aren’t into using honey, I bet you could put in agave instead, maybe a little less since it’s a bit more fluid than honey. Agave will also brown on the top nicely and could be brushed on instead of egg, but it would make the bread sweeter.


  5. With the starter, I have found it is easier to remember when to do the major steps if I write the day they have to be done in marker on the bag. Like ‘Tues 7/14 add more ingredients’ and ‘Sat 7/18 make bread’. Then I know all the other days are just mush the bag days, and I don’t miss when it has to be made.


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