I was not very enthusiastic about baking this week’s bread. I am not big on fruit and nut breads to begin with, and it seems like not that long ago that we made Cinnamon Raisin. This bread is a Thanksgiving-themed bread, and it has been in the 90s here since I came home from vacation. And not only are breads with add-ins not my cup of tea to eat, they also happen to be a pain in the neck to knead. So. Not enthusiastic.
I started by putting together the usual dough ingredients. I mixed with my dough whisk.
Then there came a point where we were supposed to add between 2 and 4 ounces of water. I was going to mix and knead this in my KitchenAid, but then I think I added too much water. I realized the only way I would know for sure was to take it out and knead by hand. Eleven weeks ago, this would have scared me a bit, but it’s starting to seem like old hat, now.
So I set my trusty timer and kneaded away. I had to add flour while kneading, probably because I added too much water, and also because that seems to be the way of the recipes.
Although Reinhart said that almost any fruit/nut combination would work, I stuck with the original cranberry walnut, because, eh. Not enthusiastic. Also, I happen to like cranberries and walnuts, although I prefer them both in a nice green salad than in my bread.
I used Craisins, which come in 8 oz. packages. You need 6 ounces for the recipe, and I went ahead and bought two packs and used the full amount.
The walnuts were not so fortunate. They came in small bags of 2.25 oz. and even though 3 oz. was given in the recipe, I just bought one small bag and figured that would be enough.
And guess what? It totally was. Too many add-ins! First cranberries:
I don’t think any more could have been squeezed in.
I put the dough aside to rise:
It rose quickly because of the heat, and by the time I came back to check on it — well before it should have been ready — it was almost bursting out of the rising container.
I hurriedly divided the dough into two loaves and shaped them for loaf pans. I had already decided I didn’t want to do a complicated double-braid, because, eh. Not enthusiastic.
I let them rise and again, sooner than expected, they were ready.
I didn’t bother with an egg wash. I baked and turned and baked some more. I think I maybe baked a little too long. Maybe the loaf pans require less time.
The smaller loaf was kind of deformed on the side due to my negligent shaping.
I let them cool, sliced open, and ate a slice. It wasn’t bad. The bread itself isn’t very sweet, but the sweetened cranberries added to the flavor. I didn’t mind the walnuts much either. But I have a hard time imagining what I would do with this bread. I guess meat-eaters could use it for turkey sandwiches.
Although I wasn’t really into baking it, this recipe worked well and delivered what it promised. I wonder if maybe adding some cinnamon or nutmeg to the bread would have made it a little more interesting, but I guess that would push it more into “dessert” bread territory. I’m going to give it 3.5 stars.