This bread was a stormy-day project last week that produced highly satisfactory results, as you’ll see from the photos! The original recipe from “Home Baking” by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid called for chunks of papaya, but dried cranberries was all I had. It seemed to work well, though next time I’ll try it with papaya. It’s not a sweet bread, just a regular whole-wheat loaf that’s jazzed up a bit with the fruit and nuts. Delicious as toast, I’ve discovered! Happy baking!
Cranberry-Almond Whole Wheat Bread
5 cups lukewarm water
2 tsp active dry yeast
6-1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
scant 2 tbsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
3 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup dried cranberries (or dried papaya, cut into 1/4-inch lengths)
1 cup unblanched whole almonds
Place the water in a large bowl and stir in the yeast to dissolve completely. Add 6 cups of the whole wheat flour, 2 cups at a time, and stir to make a smooth batter, always stirring in the same direction. Stir for 1 minute more, then cover and set aside for 2 hours. It will be bubbly and a little risen.
Sprinkle on the brown sugar and salt and stir in, then add the olive oil and stir in. Add the remaining 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, then add 2.5 to 3 cups of the all-purpose flour, about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring and turning to incorporate.
Generously flour a work surface with the all-purpose flour. Turn out the dough and knead for about 10 minutes, incorporating flour from the work surface as necessary to prevent sticking. The dough will be smooth and satiny.
Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside to rise for 2 hours, or until doubled in volume.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Let the dough rest while you butter two 9×5-inch bread pans.
Cut the dough in half. Set one piece aside, loosely covered, and flatten the other piece into a rectangle about 8 inches by 10 inches. Sprinkle on half the cranberries and half the almonds. Press them into the dough a bit with the palms of your hands and, starting from a short side, foll up the dough into a loaf. Pinch the seam to seal and place the dough seam-side down in one of the pans. Repeat with the other piece of dough. Cover and let rise for about 30 minutes. The loaves will rise, but not double in volume.
Meanwhile, place a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400F.
Use a very sharp knife to make 3 parallel slashes across the top of each loaf, then place immediately in the oven. Bake for 1 hour, or until golden on top. To test for doneness, lift one loaf out of the pan and tap it on the bottom. It should sound hollow, and the lower corners of the loaf should be firm when pinched. Place on a rack to cool for at least half an hour before slicing.