Who does not like to taste a crusty loaf of bread straight out from the oven.Most people stay away from making bread, thinking it takes a whole lot of baking skills to make a professionally looking bread. If you are not pressed for time, this recipe is for you, There is no kneading required, we just let gluten does all the hard work for us. All you need is all purpose flour , salt , yeast and the dried fruits/nuts you are planning to add. Its amazing with these simple ingredients, you will be able to make a perfect bread. One of the important step in the process is to make the dough sticky, that moisture will help for gluten to work its magic over time and form the bread.
I have made different verity of mixed dried fruit bread loafs, by far this is my favorite combination, sour Cranberries will balance the sweetness from raisin and pecan will add the nutty flavors to the bread. Its perfect to eat with a good French Brie (triple crème ) or with any sweet jams like Orange Marmalade . You can also simply eat as it is for breakfast, it has enough flavors to eat alone.
When ever I have friends come over , I always have this bread as part of the appetizers along with a good cheese plate. What I love this recipe is that you only need few ingredients to make this delicious bread and its easy for any one to follow the recipe. I hope you will give this a try and let me know how it goes.
3 cups all-purpose flour , more for dusting
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1 ¼ teaspoons salt
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup coarsly chopped pecans
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed
1. Mix the flour, salt, yeast, and 1 5/8 of water in a large bowl. Stir, then use your hands to mix and form a sticky dough.
2. Work the dough just enough to incorporate all the flour, then add in the fruit and nuts.
3.Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 -18 hrs, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.
4.Check the dough, you will see it will double in size and bubbly, That shows its ready for next step
5. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it and gently fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15-20 minutes.
6.Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a round loaf.
7.Place the dough seam side down on a greased pan and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, It should rise noticeably.
8. Half an hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats.
9.When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes.
10. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.