Whole Wheat Bread w/ Hazelnuts & Currants | Old Dough Recipe

Another great recipe adapted from Jeffrey Hamelman’s book ‘Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes’.

This whole wheat bread is packed with flavour not only because it has roasted hazelnuts, sweet currants and wholewheat flour, but also from using a preferment. This particular preferment is commonly known as pâte fermentée or old dough, or pinch back. What makes it special is that contains salt. Normally a baker would make a dough and pinch off a piece after mixing to keep for the next day’s bake. And on the following day that would be added to a fresh batch of dough and after mixing once again a piece would be kept for the following day. This can go on forever.

If you bake regularly, then it is a great method for adding extra flavour to your bread. The pinch back can be kept for a couple of days so even baking 2 – 3 times a week would work.

In this video I will show you how to do it as a casual baker. We will make the old dough a day ahead and use it on the next day just like a regular preferment.

A moderate hydration level and the use of 50% whole wheat flour makes this dough a bit sticky to begin with, but we will use the autolyse technique to help with gluten development.

Feel free to change the fillings to your liking but do not add too much!

An important note on temperature in this recipe – as a significant portion of the dough is made up of the preferment which will be at room temperature, we must cool it down before use to prevent the dough from getting too warm. Cold water must also be used in the final dough for the same reason. If your kitchen is particularly cool, then this may not apply to you.

I refrigerated my water and the preferment for one hour before making the final dough.

Watch the video down below for detailed instructions.


For the old dough

100g (3.5oz) strong white bread flour

2g (0.07oz) salt

Tiny pinch of yeast

65g (2.3oz) water at room temperature if your kitchen is around 20 – 23C (68-73F) *

*To learn more about dough temperature control click here.



For the main dough –

200g (7.1oz) whole wheat bread flour

100g (3.5oz) strong white bread flour

6g (0.2oz) salt

2g (0.07oz) instant dry yeast or 2.4g (0.08oz) active dry yeast or 6g (0.2oz) fresh yeast

15g (0.5oz) malt syrup or honey. You can use other kinds of sweet syrup too.

80g (2.8oz) roasted hazelnuts

60g (2.1oz) currants, sultanas, or raisins

220g (7.75oz) cold water *

*To learn more about dough temperature when using a preferment click here.


To finish –

Oat flakes, oats, or seeds of your choice for coating the loaf


  1. Make the preferment. In a bowl combine the water, salt, and a small pinch of yeast. Stir well to dissolve the salt. Add the flour and mix until there is no dry flour left.
  2. Cover and ferment for 10 – 12 hours. The preferment should be puffed up and full of bubbles.
  3. One hour before making the final dough chill down the preferment and the remaining water. If your kitchen is very cool, then you might not have to do this. But it is important to remember that kneading by hand will warm the dough up significantly.
  4. Make the autolyse. In a large bowl add most of the remaining water keeping back a couple of tablespoons for hydrating the yeast. Add the old dough and the remaining white flour and the whole wheat flour. Mix until there is no dry flour left. Leave to hydrate for 30 minutes.
  5. Pour the yeast in the remaining water. Sprinkle the salt over the dough and add the syrup. Make sure the yeast is dissolved. Stir it well and pour it in with the other ingredients. Mix everything together by hand until well combined.
  6. Tip the dough out on your table and knead it using the stretch & fold method for 8 minutes.
  7. Spread the dough out and sprinkle over the hazelnuts and currants. Seal it up and knead a few times to combine. *Desired dough temperature 23C (73F). If your dough is warmer, then it will ferment more rapidly. If it is cooler, then it will take longer. Adjust proofing time accordingly.
  8. Cover and ferment for 1 hour.
  9. Fold.
  10. Ferment for 1 more hour.
  11. Shape into a tight loaf. Brush the surface with water and roll the loaf around in your chosen topping. Place it in a proofing basket smooth side down.
  12. Final proof 40 – 60 minutes until well risen. *During this time preheat your oven and your baking vessel to 220C (430F) no fan.
  13. Invert the loaf on the preheated pan and score Cover and place in the oven.
  14. Bake with the lid on for 20 minutes.
  15. Remove the lid and bake for another 15 – 20 minutes or until well coloured all over.


Leave to cool down and enjoy! I must admit I ate half of this loaf with Nutella. It was absolutely delicious.

Check out some more recipes using preferments here.


Keep in mind that the conditions in each kitchen are different, so fermentation times may vary for you. It is up to the baker to control the bread and react accordingly.

Your oven may be different too, so your baking time may vary.

Watch the video here

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