Sunday, October 4, 2009

BBA - Cranberry walnut celebration bread


Hello, yeast! I've missed you.

Last time around, we made cornbread, which I know isn't an artisanal bread, but we made it and enjoyed it. But now I'm back, ready to be tested by your complexity. I peeked at the rest of the recipes in the book (The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread by Peter Reinhart), and they're scary. Cranberry Walnut Celebration Bread, you're easy and fast. No special shaping into slipper-shaped loaves. If I crudely shape you into a loaf and toss you in a pan in the refrigerator, you'll spring back to life when I need you. You're not needy (get it, kneedy?) like other breads. I think I'll look back fondly to you and wonder why I ever thought I could make it through this book of increasingly complex methods.
I had an oddly visceral reaction to the thought of braiding another loaf of bread ("NO!") so I made loaves, rationalizing that they'd make better sandwiches. It also makes it easier to give away. Not that people turn down bread but it just makes life easier.


This was such an uneventful recipe. I forgot to add the cranberries and walnuts but fortunately remembered before I parked this for its rise. I made a smallish loaf for us, and a biggish loaf to take to work. M. thinks I make the very best bread in the world (I love how biased he is about these things!) and this bread did nothing to change that. It was delicious! I was so happy I didn't braid it--it took all of the angst out of it and made it a fast and fun bread.

I am so fortunate to belong to a terrific group of bakers, the Bread Baker's Apprentice Slow & Steady subgroup: Nancy (of Corner Loaf), Cathy (of The Tortefeasor), Audrey (of Food From Books), Jessica (A Singleton in the Kitchen), Melissa (of From Laptop to Stovetop), Kayte (of Grandma's Kitchen Table), Sarah (of Blue Ridge Baker), Di (of Di's Kitchen Notebook), Margaret (of Tea and Scones) and Natalia (of Gatti Fili e Farina) are baking along on this journey of discovery through yeast. Check out their posts...I know most, if not all, of them will be making their celebration loaves braided.


Next up, English muffins! I may stray from the recipe somewhat and substitute some whole wheat flour...

EDIT:  This dough also makes nice rolls. Portion out the dough in 2 or 3 ounce pieces, cup a piece in your hand against an oiled countertop and roll the dough quickly until it forms a nice tight, round ball.

11 comments:

Jennifer said...

Leslie-This loaf looks DELICIOUS!!!!

Megan said...

That's one bread I would love to try - it looks perfect - and with the cranberries and walnuts, I'll bet it's delicious toasted with butter.
mmmmmm

Michele said...

Wow! Gorgeous bread!

Kayte said...

This looks so wonderful! I did loaves also as I knew that shape would work better for us. Yours look great with the nuts, too. I had to leave nuts out for the guys don't like nuts IN things...hmmmm...maybe I should have left them in and there would be some bread left for me! Next time!

margot said...

Yum! This looks like a great fall recipe, it is going on my list.

Foodie with Little Thyme! said...

This looks wonderful. I'll bet it smells and tastes even better than it looks.

Nancy/n.o.e said...

Love your loaf - this was really good bread. There actually aren't that many braids in the Slow & Steady group. Some day I'll get to the roundup (after I finish the roundups for the cinnamon raisin and the cornbread...)

Audrey said...

I think this tasted better unbraided, don't you? :) I also like it better with out the egg wash...looks more rustic that way!
Sorry that I haven't been keeping up with your posts, but a belated happy first blog birthday!

TeaLady said...

Great job on this bread. It was good and fairly easy. Yours looks fantastic.

pinkstripes said...

Great looking loaf!

Di said...

Nice job! Glad to know this works so well as regular loaves.