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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Orange Sourdough Bread with Cranberries, Pecans and Golden Raisins

Baking another sourdough loaf before I put my starter back into hibernation.  This is another one I can’t eat, so I will be gifting it to either Oceanside Animal Hospital or the staff at Bay Avenue Gallery in Ocean Park.

Last time I went to Trader Joe’s in Olympia, Washington, they had orange flavored dried cranberries, and I immediately thought of this recipe.  I really can’t wait to find out how this tastes.

I started putting 1/2 cup active sourdough starter into the bread machine pan.  I then added 3/4 cup orange juice, 2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces, 1 teaspoon salt, 3 1/4 cups bread flour, 3 tablespoons sugar, and 1 3/4 teaspoons SAF yeast.  I set the Basic and medium cycles for my machine.  After the machine beeped between kneads 1 and 2, I added 1/2 cup dried cranberries, 1/3 cup golden raisins and 1/3 cup chopped pecans.  The dough looked a little dry, so I added a few more drops of orange juice.

The author does note in this recipe that you can add the fruit and nuts at the beginning if you don’t wish to wait.

As this is another sourdough, I have set myself an alarm to check the rise before baking begins.This one required another 90 minutes of rise time before I was comfortable enough to start baking it.

  
The loaf baked up to a lovely golden brown, studded with fruit and nuts. It smells great too; the orange scent is quite strong.

I stopped by today to pick up my plate and the comment sheet, but they couldn’t find the sheet. Not a problem, of course, the receptionist told me everyone loved it, especially the cranberry/raisin combo. I’m going to call this one a win. After all, 100% of the polled respondents (all 1 of them) told me how great it was.

Rosemary-Golden Raisin Bread, page 352, July 26, 2015

I was a little concerned when I saw the title of this, I imagined coming across rosemary leaves in a slice of bread and didn’t think I would like that.  After reading the recipe, those fears were laid to rest in the first step.

Magical step 1, in your food processor, combine 1 cup bread flour and 1 teaspoon dried rosemary.  Pulse to pulverize the rosemary. There, problem solved, the rosemary is so thoroughly chopped and blended with the flour, no needle like leaves will end up in the loaf. Other than the worry about large pieces of rosemary leaves, the flavor combination here sounds really good.  I can’t wait to get feedback on this loaf.

This is a loaf that starts in the bread machine, and then bakes in the oven. Into the pan of my bread machine, I added 2/3 cup water, 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, 2 large eggs,1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 2 cups bread flour, the bread flour/rosemary blend from the first step, 1/3 cup nonfat dry milk, 1/4 cup sugar, and 2 teaspoons SAF yeast.  (No added gluten for this recipe, either.)  I then set the machine for the dough cycle and let it go to work.

While the machine was working on my dough, I prepared a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper.  After the dough cycle completed, I used my dough scraper to turn the dough out onto my clean board.  (Now, the recipe doesn’t say anything about flouring the surface of the board to prevent sticking, but I did anyway.) I then patted the dough out and sprinkled the raisins on top.  Next I folded the dough over and kneaded the ball by hand to incorporate the raisins.  The dough was then shaped into a ball, brushed with a light coating of olive oil, and covered loosely with plastic wrap.    I left the dough to rise for 1 hour (until it was doubled in size.)

Twenty minutes before the rising time was up, I preheated the oven to 350 degrees. When the dough had fully risen, I transferred it to my parchment lined baking sheet  and, using a sharp knife, slashed an X on the top.  I then put it on the center rack of my oven for 30 minutes. IMG_4367 I feel almost guilty trying to tell you all how good this smells.  Then I remember, I can’t eat it either, so I am torturing myself as well.  It just came out of the oven, and while it is not terribly pretty, it does smell fantastic.  The sweet raisin and savory rosemary blend nicely.  I will let you know what the tasters think later.

I cheated and shared a slice with mom, it was so good.  I picked out the raisins, and had a slice toasted with a bit of cottage cheese.  Yum.  Here are the comments from Becky’s co-workers:

“My favorite so far! Love it as is, but would be good with honey or jelly.”

“This bread would be amazing with honey”

“Really good!  Smells amazing would be good cooked like French toast.”

And from the staff at Oceanside Animal Hospital:

“Yum!”

“Would be great toast!”

“Good toast with butter and coffee in the AM!”

“I loved the hint of sweetness with Rosemary.  Would be lovely breakfast with jam.”

“Loved it! Very delicious”

“The best!  Wouldn’t change a thing.  My only complaint is I only got one piece.”

Alright then, this one is definitely a winner.