Monday, February 11, 2013

Easy Cran Walnut Bread

I made this cranberry walnut bread from Culinary Adventures in the Kitchen twice.  Once as a gift for Blockette's choir teacher, and once for us.

The first time I made it, I forgot to take a picture.  The second time the bread got a bit darker than I wanted.

Even though the cranberries on the outside of the loaf got burnt, the bread itself was very tasty.  Moist, but not soggy. My favorite way to eat this bread, other than warm from the oven, was toasted slathered in butter.

I made a honey butter to go along with it which I FORGOT to write down the quantities of the ingredients I used.  GRRR.  I remember whipping the butter, and adding honey, vanilla and cinnamon, but not the quantities.  I'm totally kicking myself because the honey butter was stellar.  I mean how can you go wrong with honey, butter and cinnamon?  Obviously you can't so just toss some of each into a bowl and whip it up with an electric beater until smooth.  I highly doubt you could go wrong.

This bread is one of those no knead breads.  So while it is made over the course of two days, it takes minimal effort.  You mix the ingredients together and then wait a day, then heat up your oven really hot then wait until it cooks.  It's worth planning your day around!

The smell of freshly baked bread will put a smile on your face.  I highly recommend it if you are battling the mid winter dreary blues.  (Plus it will make your kitchen toasty warm!)

Cranberry-Walnut (No Knead) Bread from Culinary Adventures in the Kitchen
1.5 cups whole wheat flour
1.5 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp instant yeast
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1.5 cups water

In lg bowl, combine flours, salt, yeast, walnuts, and cranberries. Stir in water. dough will look shaggy. That’s good. Leave dough in same bowl and cover bowl with plastic wrap sprayed with pam. Let rise in a draft-free place for 18-24 hours. **This means that you’ll have to plan ahead and mix everything together the day before.**

After first rise, sprinkle top of dough with approximately 1/4 c flour. gently flatten enough to fold dough back onto itself a couple times to form a roundish blob of dough. Let it sit for a few minutes while you prepare for the next step. Lightly grease medium sized bowl with olive oil and sprinkle with wheat bran to lightly cover its surface (I usually just opt to use lightly-greased parchment paper on a small frying pan for this step). Gently and quickly transfer your dough (doing your very best to keep it in a roundish shape) to prepared bowl/pan. Cover with a towel (I just reuse the plastic wrap from the first rise) and let rise for 2 hrs.
1-1/2 hrs into 2nd rise, place dutch oven/cast iron pot (with lid) in oven and preheat it to 500F! After 2 hr rise/30-min pot-preheat, carefully (it’s scalding!) remove pot from oven, take off lid, and as gently as possible, flip dough into the pot (being very careful not to burn yourself)(I just lift the parchment and place the whole thing, parchment included into the dutch oven). Cover pot and return it to the 500F oven.

Bake covered 30 min. After 30 min, turn oven down to 450 F and remove lid. Bake 15 min. Remove from oven and allow bread to cool completely (if you have the will power) before slicing and eating.

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