November 23, 2007

Cranberry - Walnut Bread

One of my favorite things to eat is good crusty bread. You know, the kind found at the finest bakeries in New York. I can't resist it.

There is a wonderful bakery in Nashville called Bread & Company. They make a delicious assortment of crusty breads. My hands down favorite is the Cranberry-Walnut Bread. The only problem is that they charge $12.99 for one measly loaf. $12.99! Can you believe it?

For many years, I have been looking for a recipe that could duplicate Bread & Co's tasty loaf. At long last, I think I have found it. While perusing "The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread," I struck gold.

Cranberry-Walnut Bread

3 c. unbleached flour
3 Tbs. granulated sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
3 1/2 tsp. instant yeast
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 c. buttermilk or any kind of milk, at room temperature
2 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
1/4 to 1/2 c. water, at room temperature
1 1/2 c. dried cranberries
3/4 c. walnuts, chopped
1 egg, whisked until frothy, for egg wash

1) Stir together the flour, sugar, salt and yeast in a large mixing bowl (or in the bowl of an electric mixer). Add the eggs, buttermilk and butter. Stir (or mix on low speed with the paddle attachment), slowly adding just enough water to make a soft, pliable ball of dough.

2) Roll the ball of dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5-10 minutes, or until the dough is silky and smooth. You may have to add a little flour while kneading. Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl and let raise at room temperature for 2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size.

3) Punch down the dough and knead for 1-2 minutes. Shape the dough into a loaf and lay on a baking sheet. Cover and let raise for 45 minutes.

4) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Brush the loaf with the egg wash. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

My only revision to the recipe will be to add more cranberries and nuts the next time. I prefer my bread to have a higher dried fruit/nut content. That said, the bread is delicious. So long Bread & Company!

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