The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Cranberry Ginger Bread - a work in progress

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Cranberry Ginger Bread - a work in progress

Hello,
We stopped in at Mix The Bakery in Vancouver awhile back and picked up a loaf of their Cranberry Ginger bread.
This bread was delicious! (I wish I'd taken a picture of it).
Thinking about holiday 'gifts from the kitchen', I thought of this bakery's wonderful Cranberry Ginger bread.
This is a first try at making this bread, using some local, fresh cranberries and ground ginger (along with a bit of lemon zest) for flavor; if I can get this loaf to the point where it tastes like the bakery's, I'll be happy to give this bread to friends and family this holiday season!
The stenciling is for Susan at WildYeast and her upcoming Holiday Edition :^)

Cranberries were popping out all over the place, giving this loaf a bumpy appearance, and the cranberry is bright, bright red in the crumb:


                                                                                                         beautiful, local cranberries :^)
 

These cranberries were juicy, and the first slice didn't slice all that cleanly;
here's the next one, looks a little bit better than the first?                                                                  

I tossed the cranberries in sugar prior to mixing them into the dough, but even still, these berries are tart!
A little bit of honey on this bread brings the flavors into balance nicely; but the next time I make this, I will try dried, sweetened cranberries in place of fresh.
The ginger flavor is faintly there in the background, so next time I may add some finely chopped fresh, or candied ginger, in addition to the ground ginger. I remember distinctly tasting ginger in Mix The Bakery's loaf; it tasted really good but was not overpowering, so it will take a little bit of tweaking in the next attempt.




I used some locally-grown whole wheat flour in the poolish and levain, and was so happy with the flavor
this contributed to the loaf!

Happy baking, and wishing everyone the best this holiday season,
:^) from breadsong

Submitted to YeastSpotting for Susan's Holiday Edition :^)

 
 

Comments

OldWoodenSpoon's picture
OldWoodenSpoon

and beautiful execution breadsong!  I'm going to put this on my holiday gifting list for sure. 

You might want to try slicing the fresh cranberries in half before you toss them in the sugar.  It gives the sugar access to the inside of the berry, and the berry can absorb it more readily.  It is tedious to slie the berries, I grant, but I've done it for a banana-walnut-cranberry loaf I make, and it does work quite well.  Just make sure you give the berries a little time to absorb the sugar.  I've also made the same loaf with rehydrated dried sweetened berries with good results, so you will probably find that acceptable too.

A joyous holiday season to you and yours as well!
OldWoodenSpoon

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hello OWS,
Thank you so much for your kind comment, and for letting me know how you prepare your cranberries.
I just picked up some more of these local cranberries today - I'll freeze them and try this bread again next weekend and sugar the berries as you've suggested.
Your banana-walnut-cranberry loaf sounds very lovely! (I'll have to save some of the cranberries for quick bread)
Thanks so much for your holiday wishes and for your helpful suggestion!
:^) from breadsong

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Hi Breadsong,

What a fantastic stencil you have created for this loaf. Just beautiful. The fresh cranberries are incredibly bright. Amazing colour streaked through the crumb. I can remember a bakery near us that used to sell a fig and ginger sourdough that was full of large chunks of glazed ginger and dried figs.

I am trying to think if I have ever eaten fresh cranberries. I can only think of frozen or dried ... a shame ... I will have to pay more attention.

Best Christmas wishes,
Phil

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hi Phil,
Thank you so much for your comment, and glad you like the stencil.
I am hoping it looks like the 'dove' is transporting a stalk of wheat, but that may be a stretch of my imagination :^)
Glazed ginger and fig sounds amazing. I was just kicking around the idea of fig and chestnut.
How I do love holiday baking!
Thanks so much for your Christmas wishes and I wish the same for you,
:^) from breadsong

 

 

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Breadsong,

Tantalizing ingredients...I wouldn't think of combining ginger and cranberries on my own but it sounds delightful so.....more fun ingredients to play bake with.

Curious about the use of a poolish and a leaven.  Why did you choose to use 2 preferments? 

I love the stenciling you did.  What a shame to cut into it..

Thanks for sharing,

Janet

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hello Janet,
I've been looking at a formula in the Bread Bakers Guild of America archive called Appalachian Chestnut (Solveig Tofte's formula), which looks like lovely bread! (I've found some local chestnuts and want to try a fig and chestnut bread soon).
This Guild formula uses some whole wheat flour in the poolish and levain, and I have some nice local whole wheat flour, so wanted to try this leavening for for my bread. I am glad I tried this, as we really like the flavor of the finished bread.
Thanks so much, Janet (and I'm glad you like the stencil!).
:^) from breadsong

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Thanks for the info...Think I will give this a try and see how my cranberry loving daughter likes it.  Cranberries (Dried, apple juice sweetened) and raisins are her favorite bread fruits.  I will see how she likes the tough of ginger...(We have a dog named Ginger.....) and how the poolish/leaven combo works out.

I will not attempt to replicate your skill at stenciling :-)  

Take Care,

Janet

 

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Janet, I do hope your daughter likes this bread.
:^) breadsong

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Breadsong,

Amazing and lovely looking bread from you as always.

I looked at the photos of the crumb, and thought "need dried cranberries for that".   Reading your text, I realise you have already come to that conclusion!

Very best wishes

Andy

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hi Andy,
Thanks for your comment; and after reading it am wondering if I can sweeten and dry the fresh cranberries I picked up yesterday (still hoping to use the local fruit in my bread!).
:^) from breadsong

varda's picture
varda

and delicious and the stenciling is really wonderful.   I'm sure that even if the fresh cranberries are a bit messy, they still give a great flavor to the bread.   -Varda

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hi Varda,
The flavor of the fresh cranberries is just as bright as their color. Thanks so much for your compliments!
:^) from breadsong

MC's picture
MC

I love the stencil and the cheerful colors...  I too am a great fan the cranberry-ginger combination (one of my favorite holiday tradition is fresh cranberry/raspberry/candied ginger relish, which is delicious with turkey and fantastic afterwards with yogurt). I will follow your variations on the theme with great interest: I wonder if the dried cranberries to be found in your area are sweet or not. Here I find mostly sweet and kind of plumpish to the point they may not need to be rehydrated...

Thanks for the inspiration!

MC

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hello MC,
Thank you so much for your comment, and mention of your wonderful-sounding cranberry-raspberry-ginger relish.
I tried a fresh cranberry-orange relish for the first time last Christmas (Joy of Cooking recipe) and absolutely loved it; your variation sounds very tasty.
I bought some more local cranberries yesterday and might try drying and sweetening them myself. Speaking of plumpish, Kimmy (so very kindly!) sent me some beautiful dried cherries; here is a picture of how they were, before and after baking (an attempt at making BreadFarm's Sour Cherry and Lemon bread awhile back); I was so happy with how this bread tasted, and how the cherries looked after baking:
 
It would be lovely if I got the same kind of result with the dried cranberries.

:^) from breadsong


 

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

What a beautiful stencil and the cranberries, ginger combo is wonderful.  I've often wondered what fresh cranberries would be like if used in a sourdough bread.  I use fresh cranberries a lot in cakes and muffins.  I keep fresh frozen cranberries all year round for one of my favorite lemon cakes with fresh cranberries and scones too, because the crumb is softer and denser, it works out nicely and like your bread, the color is vibrant and gorgeous.  Maybe a sweet bread loaf denser and softer would soak up the fresh cranberries...as you said a work in progress : )

Sylvia 

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hi Sylvia,
Thanks so much for your compliments!
It sounds like you've found lots of good applications for fresh cranberries (your lemon cake sounds fantastic).
For bread, the cranberries were very juicy, and juice did run around the sides of the loaf where it had been scored.
I was grateful for the parchment paper under the loaf to catch the drips!
:^) from breadsong

wassisname's picture
wassisname

Beautiful loaf, breadsong, love the stencil!  And the cranberries, I'm so glad you posted this.  I've been considering a loaf with fresh cranberries for a while now.  My first concern was the juice, and I wondered if I could lightly crush the berries and put them in the dehydrator for a bit.  My second concern was the tartness, but a little (or maybe a lot, now that I've read your post) sugar could fix that.  Then it slowly dawned on me that after all that work I would end up with... sweetened, dried cranberries.  Oh.  I already have those in the cupboard.  I used some recently, soaking them in warm water for a couple of hours to hydrate them a bit, and also to hopefully soak away some of the sugar.  It turned out well - hopefully I'll have time to post the next version.

All that being said, if I had access to local, fresh cranberries... I don't think I could resist trying them either!

Marcus

 

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hi Marcus,
Thanks so much for writing - your comments made me smile :^)
I can't wait to see your cranberry bread - I know it will be gorgeous!
:^) from breadsong

Franko's picture
Franko

Hi breadsong,

Your bread sounds so delicious with all the various flavours of ginger, lemon, and of course our wonderful local cranberries. It's really a shame (in this case) that they tend to pop at the first sign of heat and create smearing on the what is a beautifully crumbed loaf. I'm not sure how to get around this problem other than dehydrating them, which is a shame as well to lose the bright flavour of the fresh berries. I suppose it's one of those unavoidable compromises we run into from time to time. What does Mix Bakery use in their version, fresh or dry?

For myself I'd be quite happy to have a slice or two whole loaf of your bread just the way it is!

Best Wishes,

Franko

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Franko, thank you so much for your compliments; you are so kind, as always :^)
Remembering the bakery's loaf, they must have used a quality dried cranberry.
I wonder if a good compromise might be to partially dry some of my local cranberries, to reduce juiciness and hopefully preserve some of the original flavor?
Thanks so much for your idea for ginger barm and ginger-water-infusion, might be just the thing to try for my next version of this loaf!
:^) from breadsong

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Wow! Rye sour, levain, and poolish! Must be a wonderful flavor!

Lovely stenciling, and shaping, breadsong.

 

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Thank you so much, Khalid! :^)