Monday, June 14, 2010

Cranberry Walnut Celebration Bread

So I'm finally moved out of SFW and into my sister's house for the summer. As a result of the moving, I'm battered and bruised from packing and shlepping suitcases and boxes of books and toiletries everywhere. Finally, Thursday afternoon, I was done. Once again, to avoid waste, I did my best to put my remaining ingredients and things I found left in the girls' rooms to use, this time in two breads. The first was a semolina sandwich loaf which I've made and blogged before and this Cranberry Walnut Celebration Bread from Reinhart's Bread Baker's Apprentice. Truth be told this was the bread of choice because of the walnuts and craisins I found left behind. It just made sense. This bread is one of his easier ones to make and resulted in the most beautiful dough, so easy to knead and handle. The dough called for milk but I used water and butter but I used oil as I knew it was destined to accompany some meaty Shabbat meal. I also used only as many craisins as I had which I'm happy about because the loaf was perfectly balanced and also allowed for easy incorporating. The dough also called for 1 1/2 tbsp of orange extract which gave the dough a strong alcoholic smell that I was nervous would come through in the final product. The double decker braiding was kind of fun but I wish I had just stuck with a regular six braid-- it's more impressive in my opinion. So how did it turn out? Well, firstly, the finished loaf had the most beautiful looking, varnished like crust I've ever seen. The flavor was really good and tasted wonderfully of orange, not extracty at all. As for the texture, it was a bit dry as I used the water instead of milk and it spent some time in the freezer. Perhaps it could have been baked a few minutes less as well. Overall though, I was really happy with it and given the chance I would make it again. Check out this week's Yeastspotting, your one stop for all your bread kneads. Haha. What a dork I am.

Cranberry Walnut Celebration Bread
from the Bread Baker's Apprentice

3 cups bread flour
3 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 teaspoons (.39 ounce) instant yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons orange or lemon extract
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup buttermilk or any kind of milk, at room temperature
2 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine, melted or oil
1/4 to 1/2 cup water, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups craisins, or less

3/4 cup chopped walnuts

1 egg, for egg wash

Place the flour, sugar, salt and yeast in a large bowl. Whisk to distribute evenly.
Add the eggs, melted butter, milk and extract.
Stir to make a shaggy dough. Add some of the water as needed to make a manageable mass.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and begin to knead until a smooth, tacky but not sticky dough forms.
Top the dough with the walnuts and craisins,
and knead them into the dough by folding it over on itself. Be patient. The more you use, the less they'll want to incorporate. But they will eventually.
Allow the dough to rise until doubled in size.
Divide the dough into three large pieces, and three smaller pieces.
Roll the larger pieces into three long ropes, and the smaller ones into shorter ropes.
Form a small braid from the small strands and a larger one from the longer strands.
Top the larger braid with the smaller one.
Allow to rise until puffy. When the proof is about half over, preheat the oven to 325.
Brush the loaf with the beaten egg.
Bake for about twenty minutes. Rotate the loaf and continue to bake for an additional fifteen to twenty minutes or until the loaf registers 185-190 degrees on a thermometer. Cool completely.

1 comment:

cookingcollegechick said...

I just made this bread and it came out beautifully. I am waiting for it to cool a little before I dig in. Thanks for the wonderful recipe!