BBA Cranberry Pecan Bread
I of course start by planning ahead, which means sitting on my bum and reading the instructions all the way through. Help is always appreciated, but sometimes I get a little to much help. In this instance, Smoky decided he would help me read the BBA recipe which for some reason wore him out and required him to take a 20 minute nap on the book which I was holding up. Now normally, with any of the other cats, I would simply move around alot and they would go find a place to lay that didn't move so much. Smoky though simply gave me a dirty look each time, groaned loudly, and re-adjusted himself for more zzz's. Don't tell anyone, but I finally had to kick him off and send him packing, much to his disgust.
On to the making of my version of the Bread Baker's Apprentice Cranberry Walnut bread. I looked over the recipe, and realized immediately that I would have to change a few ingredients. To me walnuts are rather evil, causing stomach aches and just making a person feel horrible. Not to long ago someone suggested using pecans instead, and I tried that with the raisin bread with pretty good results. I love cranberries and decided even though they make my mouth raw, it would be worth it to try it this time. Actually, I love most fruits, but seem to have a bad reaction to them and while I still eat some usually it is in a small amount and rather quickly so they don't sit in my mouth. It's funny how your body seems to have cravings for things that you probably shouldn't eat. I decided that the dried fruit and nuts could soak in the water overnight (I soak dry fruit so that is doesn't burn and turn hard when baked). I set up two soakers. The other one had about 50% of the recipes flour (fresh ground winter white wheat) and kefir (similar to the buttermilk that was called for). The other 50% bread flour I saved for the next day. I have the picture of the berries and nuts, but for some reason I seem to have either deleted or misplaced some of my pictures. Life goes on....
The next day I combined all the ingredients, including the flour/kefir soaker and leaving out the cranberry/nut one. The cranberries had soaked up all but a tablespoon of the water, so I included that in the dough. I had to add some water to the dough to make it the right consistency, kneading it with my kitchenaid for 6 minutes. I then added the fruit/nut mix, which added a little bit of moisture to the whole thing and kneaded it for another 2 minutes. I pulled out my King Arthur Silicone Rolling Mat and put extra flour on it, and put the dough into the middle, then folded it a couple times. This created a boule shape, or round ball. Just a note, if you don't have a good place to knead and shape your bread, the King Arthur rolling mat is really awesome. I love it and pull it out for every loaf I make, even if it's just to shape it into a log for a single loaf.
I let it rest a few minutes, and then shaped it into a log.
Since I used the baker's percentages that Reinhart provided in his book, I was able to adjust the recipe to make a single 2 lb loaf of bread that fit perfectly into my bread pan. I know that I was supposed to braid this loaf, but while surfing on SomethingShiny's website I found a wonderful idea. The very first picture on the site was of this bread, with turkey and cheese stuffed inside. I decided right then that mine was going to be a sandwich loaf, since this would probably not be made again till Thanksgiving. My mouth started to drool, because cranberry sauce and turkey on a sandwich are really good together. My husband says I'm nuts, because cranberry sauce does NOT belong on a sandwich, but I just don't agree and since I am ALWAYs right.....
I used part of the egg from the recipe to do an egg wash on the crust, and it came out really nice. I took 8 pictures of just the crust, it was shiny and such a nice shade of brown. Just beautiful, tender when eaten, with a beautiful color and shine which made it hard to cut into. It was just to pretty!
I realized that I would have to cut it open, so I could see what the crumb looked like. It was just such a perfect loaf that I really didn't want to, except for the thought of taking a bite of it!
I took this picture of the crumb inside, and didn't look till later and realized it really didn't show how wonderful the crumb was.
The next morning I cut the loaf into slices and froze half of it, then took a few slices and used natural lighting to see if it would help show the crumb. The crumb was darker than normal, but I think that was because of the liquid from the cranberry soaker. It's great tasting bread!
I will be making this again, probably for Thanksgiving. It has great taste, texture, and the crust is wonderful too. Definitely a holiday bread.