Monday, November 18, 2013

Cranberry Walnut Bread

I love good bread. I enjoy trying new kinds. Senor could eat his weight and then some, in breads.

I picked up a loaf of cranberry walnut bread at Publix a few weeks ago. It was "on sale" for a whooping $4 a loaf, but I was hungry, had saved a good amount on my groceries and wanted a loaf really badly. I'd tried it a few months back and had wanted to buy some ever since. Chalk it up to weak pregnancy hormones. I caved and splurged on the dinky loaf. Took it home and we all agreed it was good.

I also knew it couldn't be THAT hard to make. I was too lazy, though, to even think about making yeast bread.

That all changed when I finally researched recipes and decided I would try using my KitchenAid + dough hook for once. I have NEVER used my dough hook! I very much like to make my yeast breads in a bowl with my own hands. But last night, I just didn't want to do it and it seemed like the perfect recipe to try out with my KitchenAid.

Senor took the girls upstairs after dinner, to give them their baths and I went to work on the recipe. It literally came together so easily and quickly. It was in the bowl rising by the time the girls were back downstairs, all freshly scrubbed and jammied.
This is not my bread...but mine looked exactly like it. Again, I'm just too lazy to photo, touch-up, and post.

I tried to mix in the craisins and walnuts by no. no. I threw it back into the mixer and let that dough hook do the manual labor for me. It worked beautifully.

Sat it over the stove to rise (1st rise) for about a hour, stuck 2 fingers in the dough, removed and the imprints stayed...1st rise done.

Rolled it out on the counter (kind of) into a quasi-rectangle, rolled it up and set it into a greased bread loaf pan...back on top of the stove for a second rising (again, about an hour)...pressed the side and the impression stayed...2nd rising DONE!

Into the oven it went for about 32-33 minutes and voila! Beautiful, perfect cranberry walnut bread. Delicious.

I think the only thing I would change, I might (MIGHT**) add a smidge more sweetner. It was good as is, but I do think Publix's version is slightly sweeter. Just a smidge. And probably up the cinnamon a bit...I like to taste my cinnamon more.

So, dust off your mixers and make some bread!! Your hands won't even have to get dirty or sticky!

2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (I used my Fleischman's)
1 c old fashioned oats (regular or quick min)
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
3 cups bread flour
3-4 Tbsp vital wheat gluten (optional, but I highly recommend wheat gluten in homemade yeast breads)
1 c + 2 Tbsp water
3-4 Tbsp oil (vegetable or canola preferrably)
1/3 c pure maple syrup (or you could sub brown sugar...roughly 1/4-1/3 c)
1 c chopped walnuts (I did not measure, just threw in a lot)
1 c craisins (again, why measure? the more the merrier!)

  • 1. In your stand mixer bowl combine yeast, oats, cinnamon, salt and 1 cup of bread flour. Mix it together on low with your PADDLE ATTACHMENT.
  • 2. In  a small mixing bowl combine the water, oil, syrup. Stir it up and heat in the microwave for 20-45 sec until it feels warm to the touch. NOT hot, just warm...little more than luke warm. 
  • 3. Add liquids into the stand mixing bowl. Stir the dry + wet together (using PADDLE ATTACHMENT) on medium speed for 5-7 min...use this time to chop your walnuts. 
  • 4. Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix for 1 more minute. 
  • 5. Swap your attachment for the dough hook.
  • 6. Gradually add in remaining 2 cups of bread flour and the vital wheat gluten. Mix using dough hook on medium speed until it's all together and smooth. Then add in walnuts and craisins, allowign dough hook to do the dirty work...on med-low speed until everything is incoporated.
  • 7. Your dough should be nice and smooth, should not be sticky. Should be a ball. Remove it and place it in a large greased bowl. Cover lightly with plastic wrap or towel and set it in a warm, humid spot for about an hour (until it has doubled in size and when you stick a finger into the dough the pit stays after you remove your finger)
  • 8. Roll the dough out (to remove air) and push it into a 7"x14" rectangle (or something there about)...roll it up starting on the short end. Pinch the seams, place the roll seam side down in a greased loaf pan. lightly cover with plastic wrap or towel. Set it back in that warm, humid spot and allow it to rise again. 
  • 9. It is ready to bake when you press your finger into the top (lightly) and the finger impression shouldn't spring right back, if so let it keep rising.
  • 10. Preheat oven to 375F, place loaf of dough into the oven and back for 30-45 min...check around the 30-35 min mark. When it's beautifully golden on top and sounds hollow when it's thumped, your bread is done! Remove, cool and enjoy!

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