Monday, November 18, 2013

Something Yummy for Cranberry Season

I promise that my blog is not simply becoming a recipe site. I have been thinking about a lot of complex things recently, but I have been rounding out those thoughts in various dialogues with friends. Once a few of them get a little more polished I may try to write about them.

Until then, I have been making all sorts of food lately, and I think it is fun to keep a sort of recipe journal for various seasons. No pumpkin this time, on to cranberries! There are plenty of ways to use cranberries, but I made up a recipe today so that I could both make sandwich bread, and eat something tangy.


1/2 C rather warm water (110-115º)
2-1/2 tsp yeast
1 tsp sugar

Combine and set in a warm place (about 10 minutes) while you complete the next step

1-1/4 C cooked steel cut oats, heated (110-115º)
1/2 Tbs oil (your choice)
2 Tbs sugar or honey

Combine, add proofed yeast

1/2 tsp sea salt
2 [ish] C bread flour (unbleached white/whole wheat), sifted
(If you do not have bread flour, add about 3 tsp of vital wheat gluten to all purpose flour - that is what I do -- it works just fine)
1 Tbs flax seeds (chia, sunflower, or millet seeds work, too)

After you work the flour into the dough, knead by hand for 6 or 7 minutes. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes and oil a glass bowl. Knead for another 6 minutes. Tuck the seam of the dough on the underside and place in the oiled bowl (roll the top of the ball in the oil so it doesn't dry out).

Cover with a cloth and let stand in a warm place for about 1 hour (I put mine in my gas oven -- it always has a bit of heat inside due to the pilot light).

After the dough ball has approximately doubled in size, spread it on a very lightly floured workspace. Knead for 30 seconds to 1 minute to work the gluten strands - do not pull the dough, you will break the gluten strands. Flatten into a round about 8 inches in diameter and spread about 1/3 C of cranberries down the middle. Tuck the sides and end of the dough around the berries (you can add walnuts or pecans, too), place the loaf seam-side down in an oiled bread pan. Dust with old fashioned oats. If you wish, put 3 or 4 diagonal slash marks in the dough at this time with a very sharp knife or razor blade.

Let loaf stand in a warm place 30-45 minutes. Preheat oven to 400º, place bread in hot oven. After 5 minutes, turn the heat to 350º and bake for 45-55 minutes (or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped). Allow to cool (if you have patience) for at least 1 hour before slicing.

Makes delicious sandwich bread, or a great side for soup when all slathered with butter. I ate four pieces today alone... I also hiked. ;)

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