Recently I've been in the mood to experiment with more yeast bread recipes, so I picked up The Bread Book by Betsy Oppenneer from the library a couple weeks ago. I was trying to convince Joe that I needed a bread baking cookbook, because it is a totally different genre than any of the other cookbooks I own. I really want to buy The Bread Baker's Apprentice, but I felt like I should play around with bread baking recipes a bit more before I invest in another new cookbook.
So many of the recipes in this book appealed to me, but I decided to start out with a breakfast bread that sounded perfect for toast. This Oatmeal Cranberry bread was originally a recipe for all-purpose flour, but I decided to do half AP and half whole wheat. I used dried cranberries and pre-chopped walnuts, and this bread really came together easily. It was hearty and dense, with a nice subtly sweet flavor. I thought my loaf ended up a little doughy, which could have been from subbing flour. I would probably cook it a little longer next time, because I'd really like to keep it at least partially whole wheat flour. The doughiness wasn't an issue at all once I toasted it, and we ate the loaf of bread within a few days. I would highly recommend this recipe to any breakfast toast eaters out there! Look for more bread baking in the future, as I continue to explore various yeast bread recipes.
Cranberry Oatmeal Nut Bread
from The Bread Book by Betsy Oppenneer
Yield: 2 loaves (I did 1/2 recipe and it worked well)
2 cups boiling water
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant)
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
2 (1/4 oz) packages active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
4 1/2 to 5 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 large egg plus 1 Tbsp cold water, for egg wash
Pour the boiling water over the rolled oats and cranberries. Stir, cover, and let cool for about 45 minutes.
In a large bowl, stir the yeast into the warm water. Add the brown sugar, salt, oil, 2 cups of the flour, the walnuts, and the cooled oats and cranberries. Beat vigorously with a dough whisk or heavy handled spoon for 2 minutes. Gradually add more flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until the dough forms a mass and begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface. Knead, adding more flour, a little at a time as necessary, until you have an elastic dough and blisters begin to develop on the surface. Put the dough into an oiled bowl, and turn the dough to coat. Cover with a towel and let rise for about an hour, or until doubled in size.
Turn the dough out onto an oiled work surface. Divide the dough in half and shape into loaves. Fit the loaves, seam side down, into well-greased loaf pans. Cover with a towel and let rise for 45 minutes. About 15 minutes before the end of rising, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Just before baking, brush the egg wash over the top of each loaf, taking care not to let it drip onto the pans. Sprinkle with rolled oats. Bake the loaves for 30 to 35 minutes or until they are browned and shrink lightly from the sides of the pan. Immediately remove the bread from the pans and cool on a rack.