Sourdough Pecan, Oat and Cranberry Flower Pot Breads

Pecan & Cranberry Bread

These lovely fruit and nut flower pot shaped loaves are fabulous with a cheeseboard, they make a delightful turkey sandwich, they are splendid toasted with Brie on top, or simply torn apart and eaten whilst still warm. The flower pots require seasoning before they are used for baking (please see instructions in ‘Preparing Flower Pots for Baking’). Please don’t be put-off by the need for flower pots, if you prefer not to use them the dough can be formed into loaves or rolls.

This recipe was featured in True Loaf magazine, which is produced every three months by The Real Bread Campaign. The magazine is available to download from

This recipe assumes that your sourdough culture has been fed using strong plain flour, if you feed your culture with wholemeal or rye flour I suggest that you decrease the quantity of wholemeal spelt flour in the recipe by 125g and increase the amount of strong plain white flour by 125g.

250g Frisky Sourdough Culture (50:50 hydration)

200g Water, at room temperature

200g Strong Wholemeal Spelt Flour

175g Strong Plain Flour e.g. Shipton Mill No.4

10g Sea Salt

100g Pecans

100g Dried Cranberries

50g Jumbo Rolled Oats

Neutral Oil (e.g. Rapeseed, Sunflower or Groundnut)

3 x Seasoned/Prepared Terracotta Flower Pots (10cm tall x 6.5cm at the base x 10cm diameter at the top)

In a medium sized bowl mix together the culture, the water, the wholemeal spelt flour, the strong plain flour and the sea salt to form a sticky ball of dough. Mix dough until all traces of dry flour have been incorporated. Tip the dough onto the work surface and cover it with the up-turned bowl. Leave the dough to rest for 30 minutes.

As this dough is quite sticky, I prefer to develop the gluten using brief 30 second kneads (on an unfloured surface) interspersed with a resting period of at least 10 minutes. I repeat the kneads/rests about 8-9 times, finishing with a final 10 minute rest.

If you havent got time to work this way, you can knead the dough (on an unfloured surface) for 4 minutes then cover it with the up-turned bowl and rest it for 15 minutes. The dough is likely to still be a little sticky at this point. After 15 minutes, knead the dough for a further 4 minutes then rest it under the up-turned bowl for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes check that the gluten has developed using the window pane technique (stretch a small part of the dough to see if it will form a fine membrane without tearing).

When the gluten has fully developed, stretch the dough out onto the worksurface and scatter over the pecans and cranberries. Roll the dough like a swiss roll and knead it briefly until the fruit and nuts are evenly distributed.

Put the dough into a clean bowland cover with a damp clean tea towel and leave it at cool room temperature (10-15C) to bulk proof until it has doubled in size, or, slip the dough into a lightly oiled plastic bag (but don’t seal it) and leave it at room temperature until it starts to grow and then put it into the fridge overnight to finish proofing.

Once your dough has doubled in size, generously oil the inside of each flower pot and place them onto a baking tray.

Divide the dough into three equal pieces (about 330g each). Roll each piece into an egg shape and roll each egg in the oats to coat each ball thoroughly. The dough should be tacky enough for the oats to easily adhere, but if not spray each egg-shape with water before rolling in the oats.

Drop each egg-shaped ball of dough into a prepared flower pot. Glaze the top of the dough with a little extra virgin olive oil and drape a piece of cling film (smeared with oil and then sprinkled with a light dusting of flour to prevent the dough from sticking) over each flower pot. Leave the pots at room temperature for their final proof. They need to proof until they have increased in size by approx 80% or until the dough rises to approx 1/2cm from the top of the flower pot.

Preheat the oven to 220C

Place one of the shelves in the lower third of the oven and remove any upper shelves to create enough room for the flower pots and the rising loaf.

Bake the loaves in their flower pots for 10 minutes then reduce the temperature to 200C and bake for a further 15-20 minutes until the breads are a deep brown on the top. Remove the flower pots from the oven and run a thin-bladed knife carefully around the inside of each pot. Invert the flower pot and the loaf should slip out. If the loaf doesn’t slip out, check that it isn’t being held in place by a little piece of dough that has escaped through the drainage hole!

To clean your pots, soak them, whilst still warm, in some warm water. I suggest that you don’t use detergent as this will strip away some of the oil you have impregnanted into the flower pots to make them non-stick.

Enjoy your loaves however you like, they are versatile and very moorish!