Happy New Year!! I hope you all had a great evening ringing in the New Year last night. We had a fairly quiet night here - complete with a Harry Potter movie marathon and a family nacho making competition (post, complete with pictures and an announcement of the winner to follow soon!!). Despite being quiet, it was very enjoyable and gave us a great chance to reflect on the year just past and set some goals/ resolutions for the new year.
In some ways this has been a really challenging year and in other ways it has been a spectacular year. We've had a number of difficulties within our family including a number of health issues, but we're getting by. We've also been blessed with being able to take some beautiful vacations together and enjoyed success in our studies and careers. I hope you and your family have been blessed this year and haven't encountered too many challenges. Thanks for following along on my blogging journey and checking back regularly to see what I'm up to. You guys really keep me going some times. :)
With some of my time off over the holidays, I've had time to reflect, cook and bake! One of my baking escapades included this cranberry, rosemary and toasted pecan bread. It was absolutely spectacular!!! This is probably the best bread I've made all year (and if you look back, you'll notice I make quite a lot of bread). The bread is beautifully moist, light and flavourful and is delicious on its own, or toasted and spread with a little butter. It would also probably make great grilled cheese sandwiches with some proscuitto and gruyere cheese.
Cranberry, Rosemary and Toasted Pecan Bread
- 1 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped
- 1 1/3 cups warm water
- 1 pkg active dry yeast (1/4 oz)
- 2-3 cups bread flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 tbsp kosher salt (2 tsp would be enough if you aren't a big fan of salt - the bread is fairly salty)
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- 3 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
- 1/2 pkg of fresh cranberries
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tbsp water
- coarse salt for sprinkling
- First, make the cranberry sauce you will use in the dough and when assembling the bread. Place cranberries, red wine and brown sugar in a small saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat until cranberries are popping and the sauce is very thick (about 15 minutes). Set aside to cool while you prepare the dough.
- Stir together warm water and yeast. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand for five minutes or until frothy. Place in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. Add 2 cups all purpose flour and the whole amount of whole wheat flour, salt, sugar and rosemary and mix until dough comes together. Knead with dough hook for 4-5 minutes until smooth and elastic. Add 1/4 - 1/2 of the cranberry mixture and work into bread. You may need to add up to one cup of additional all purpose flour in order to make the dough the correct consistency (should be smooth and just slightly tacky). Mix in the pecans. Some pecans may stay in the bottom of the bowl, just turn the dough out onto the counter and knead in those pecans with your hands, using fingers to push them into the dough. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in a warm place to rise for one hour.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine egg and 1 tbsp water to make egg wash and set aside.
- Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and roll out until about 1/2 inch thick (roughly into a 12 x 12 inch square. Fold in 1" flaps on each side of the dough. Spread the dough with the remaining cranberry sauce. Then starting at the top, roll the dough tightly (as you would if making cinnamon buns). Pinch the seam so that the roll stays together.
- Lay the roll seam side down on the prepared baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and place back in warm place to rise for 45 minutes. During the last 10 minutes of the rise time, preheat oven to 350F. Brush dough with egg wash. Then using a sharp knife, make slashes diagonally across the dough at two inch intervals all the way down the loaf. Sprinkle with coarse salt.
- Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes or until loaf sounds hollow when you perform the "knock test". Cool completely before slicing.
Make this bread! You won't be disappointed and it will disappear very quickly in your house.
This post has been Yeast Spotted!
Happy Baking my Friends! All the best to you in 2012!