Cranberry – Golden Raisin Bread with Cardamom, page 443, December 20, 2017

I am gifting bread to a few people this Christmas and this is the first loaf I am including in the gift baskets.  I will write all these recipes as I bake, but will not post them on the website until after Christmas.

According to Ms. Hensperger, traditionally Scandinavian Raisin Breads include cardamom.  I am used to raisin breads spiced with cinnamon, so it will be interesting to see how this loaf differs from what I know.

Because I am baking several loaves, then gifting them all later, I want to be sure not to allow the bread to dry out.  Here I am paraphrasing the author’s instructions for freezing bread:

First, be aware that freezing bread at home will keep it fresh for a maximum of 3 months.  Longer than that, and your bread will definitely become stale.  To freeze bread or rolls, first bake and then cool completely at room temperature.  (If your recipe calls for glazing or icing, that should not be done before freezing, but just prior to serving.)  Once the loaf or rolls are completely cooled, wrap whole or pre-sliced loaves first in good quality plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil or a plastic freezer bag.  (A double layer or freezer bags is also acceptable.

To thaw, let the loaf or rolls stand at room temperature for about 3 hours.

That said, I placed my ingredients in the bread machine in the following order:

1 1/4 cups water

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

3 cups bread flour

1/4 cup nonfat dry milk

1 tablespoon gluten

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

2 teaspoons SAF yeast.

After selecting the light crust and sweet bread settings, I measured out the cranberries and golden raisins to add later in the cycle.

When the machine indicated the point between kneads 1 and 2, I added:

2/3 cup golden raisins

2/3 cup dried cranberries

This loaf baked up beautifully, with a rounded dome and golden brown colored crust.  I didn’t think to take any photographs of this one though, and this is one I haven’t been able to taste test.  I spoke with one of my recipients today and she will let me know what they think after they try it.  I will update this post at that time.

 

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Dried Cranberry Whole Wheat Bread, page 458, November 19, 2017

This is a loaf I am baking prior to Thanksgiving, but it is just for my parents’ enjoyment, not for the holiday itself.  There are several variations listed in the cookbook for this recipe.  The liquid used is fruit juice and different combinations of fruit juice and dried fruit are suggested.  Apple or pear juice and dried apricots, pineapple juice and dried pineapple, prune juice with dried prunes and cherry juice with dried cherries are the recommendations other than the orange juice and dried cranberries I am using.  In fact, Ms. Hensperger writes:

“You can use whatever you have on hand, but not thick nectars in place of the juice.”

I happened to have orange-flavored dried cranberries already on hand, so this was the perfect loaf for them.

Into the bread machine pan went:

1 cup pulp-free orange juice.  (I the recipe doesn’t specifically call for pulp-free, but that is what I have.  I only mention it here if you are planning to recreate this loaf.)

7 tablespoons of water

2 1/2 tablespoons honey

2 1/2 tablespoons hazelnut oil (you can used any nut or vegetable oil)

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

2 1/3 cup bread flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

2/3 cup rolled oats

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon gluten

2 1/2 teaspoons SAF yeast

 

I set the crust for medium and the cycle for Whole Wheat.  When my machine beeped (signalling between kneads 1 and 2,) I added 2/3 cups dried orange-flavored cranberries.

Note:  dried cranberries are plenty small enough to go into the loaf whole, but if you are using a larger dried fruit, be sure to chop it finely.

This loaf smelled delightful while baking.  The finished product has a nicely rounded, albeit slightly lopsided, top.  Photos and impressions will follow.

IMG_8976[2262]

The first day, Mom and Dad tried a couple sliced toasted with their tea.  Mom said, “A nice treat, good flavor with a bit of sweetness from the cranberries.”

The next day, they decided to have some as French Toast for breakfast, after adding a bit of orange extract to the batter to enhance the flavor.  I was told they both really enjoyed it.