Digger Bread

Can you dig this classic bread? The Diggers, a counterculture group at the forefront of the “flower power” movement in the 60s, popularized this 100% whole-grain wheat bread by giving out hundreds of free loaves of it every week on the streets of San Francisco. Where’d they find that many bread pans? Well, they didn’t! Instead, they baked it in large metal coffee cans. You can too, if you have some lying around, but a traditional loaf pan will work just as well. This bread is dense, hearty, and delicious, and the additional flavors and texture of walnuts, raisins, and even a ripe banana make it as freewheeling and fun as the people who created it. Learn more about the diggers at: www.diggers.org.

Wet Ingredients:

  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2 packets Active Dry Yeast
  • 1 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar

Dry Ingredients:

  • 2 1⁄3 pounds whole wheat flour
  • 1 Tbsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup powdered milk
  • 1-2 cups raisins
  • 1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 ripe banana


Combine wet ingredients in a large bowl (if using a stand mixer, use the mixer bowl.) Let stand at least 10 minutes, allowing the yeast to activate.
Whisk together all dry ingredients besides the banana in another bowl. Add mixed dry ingredients into the large bowl of wet ingredients.
Add the banana in small chunks at this stage. Mix thoroughly with the dough hook if you are using a stand mixer. If working manually, blend ingredients with a wood spoon until incorporated in a shaggy ball. (If the mix is too wet, sprinkle in flour and continue mixing; if it’s too dry, add water, a few drops at a time, and continue mixing.)

Hand kneaders, turn the shaggy dough ball out onto a floured surface and continue kneading and folding dough for 10 - 15 minutes. When you have a tacky but not sticky ball of dough, place it into an oiled bowl, cover, and let rise 1 - 1.5 hours or until doubled in size. Turn the dough ball out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for one more minute. If making a single loaf, place into a buttered can or Dutch oven. If making two loaves, divide evenly and place into two smaller buttered cans or loaf pans. Cover and allow to rise for one hour while preheating oven to 375°.Place on center rack and cook for 45 minutes to an hour, until internal temperature is 190°. Finally, remove from pan or can and cool on wire rack, man.