Let me tell you a little secret.
I just spent a half hour of my life looking at the “cash me ousside” girl’s Facebook.
I will apparently do anything to procrastinate school work.
But let’s get serious here. And talk about food. I have, for the longest time, wanted to become a master bread baker. I mean, seriously – what’s there not to love? The smell? The taste? Unfortunately, it’s a lot easier said than done. And some of my attempts have turned into epic failures. Like my hamburger buns that resembled hockey pucks. Or the bagels I thought I was going to rip my teeth out with (chewy much?). But there have also been some wins. Like my 5th attempt at making bagels. And my English muffins. And this loaf.
It’s actually the second time I’ve made this bread. But the first time was with walnuts.
Either way – it’s delicious. Ask my family. The loaf was devoured in days. Heck, maybe even hours.
Want to know another secret?
I probably ate half of it.
But hey, that’s improvement. Considering I ate the entire first loaf. By making endless maple glazed apple & white cheddar grilled cheese sandwiches. And slathering the rest with butter. And apple butter. But I bet it’d go great with some cinnamon honey butter. Or pecan praline butter.
I may need to make another loaf because of the endless ways to eat it.
Cranberry Pecan Bread
- 2 1/4 tsp yeast
- 3 c bread flour
- 1 c old-fashioned oats
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 c + 2 tbsp. water
- 1 tbsp. canola oil
- 1/3 c pure maple syrup
- 1 c chopped pecans
- 1 c dried cranberries
In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl if you don’t have a stand mixer), combine the yeast, 1 c bread flour, oats, cinnamon and salt together.
In a large mixing cup, combine the water, canola oil, and maple syrup. You need the temperature to be around 120 degrees F – so I generally microwave for about 45 seconds or until the liquid is slightly warmer than room temperature. You do not want it to be too hot or it will kill the yeast. So, honestly – if you’re just starting out with bread making, it might be in your best interest to check the temperature of the liquid before adding it to your dry ingredients.
Add the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix together until well combined. If you’re using a stand mixer, have the paddle attachment on for this, and let it go for about 4 minutes. If you’re using a large mixing bowl, a wooden spoon will suffice – just make sure everything is fully combined!
Gradually add in the remaining 2 cups of bread flour. If you’re using a stand mixer, you’ll want to switch to the hook attachment, and knead for 5-7 minutes. If you’re using a mixing bowl, make sure all of the ingredients are combined well, and then turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead for 5-7 minutes.
No matter which way you are kneading (by hand or with dough hook), you need to add the cranberries and pecans by hand. I’ve attempted to just let the stand mixer knead away, and my add-ins remain at the bottom of the bowl, while the dough continues to knead with the hook. So, just turn out the dough onto a floured surface (if it isn’t already), add the cranberries and walnuts, and then knead to combine.
Place the dough into a lightly greased bowl, turning to great the entire dough ball. Cover and let the dough rise until it doubles in size. This depends on the environment where your dough is rising. It can take 30 minutes to 2 hours.
When it doubles in size, turn the dough over onto a lightly floured surface, and punch it down to remove any air bubbles. Form the dough into a 14 x 7 inch rectangle (or as close as a you can get it). Starting with the short side, roll the dough up tightly to form a roll. Pinch the edges and ends to seal (I didn’t pinch very well with this loaf and you can see where it started to come undone in the photos). Place dough in a greased 9 x 5 inch loaf pan. Cover with a clean towel and let the dough rise until an indentation remains after touching.
While the dough is sitting in the loaf, preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. I actually set my loaf pan on top of the oven to speed up the process a bit.
Bake the loaf for 30-40 minutes. You can tell it’s baked thoroughly when your “knock” on the loaf, it should sound hollow. Remove it from the pan and let it cool before slicing.
Maybe even serve it slathered with a curried chicken salad?
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