Sunday, October 25, 2009

Cherry Walnut Whole Grain Celebration Bread

I have well and truly reached a milestone in the BBA Challenge. Not only is Cranberry {Cherry} Walnut {Whole Grain} Celebration Bread the last in a rather lengthy run of sweetened enriched breads in The Bread Baker's Apprentice book, it's also the final bread in the "C" section of the book. I don't know which milestone has me grinning wider. But what is the happiest thing of all is that this bread is really delicious. Despite the fact that I was totally unmotivated to bake this one (I mean, I've baked tons of different celebration-type loaves this year) one taste of this bread changed my attitude. In fact, even though I fully intended to give most of it away, we toasted up and enjoyed every last slice ourselves.

n.o.e.'s notes:

- I knew that we would enjoy this bread more if it had a bit of whole grain flour in it. I routinely add rye flour, oat flour and whole wheat flour to my toasting loaves, and love it there, so I added a bit of each flour to this dough. To compensate for the reduced amount of gluten in those flours I used some high gluten flour too.

- Peter Reinhart gives a choice of liquids to use in the recipe. I chose the buttermilk and the lemon juice options - I reduced the quantity of lemon juice because I didn't want the bread to be too citrus-y.

- I substituted dried cherries for the cranberries, and reduced the quantity from 9 to 6 ounces. I toasted my walnuts and added another half ounce or so to the 3 ounces in the recipe

- Although the bread in the book was baked as a double braid loaf on a baking sheet, it can also be baked in loaf pans. I prepared two 8.5" x 4.5" pans (so I could give at least one loaf away), braided the dough, and placed it in the pans, for a braided pan loaf. The dough didn't fill the pans very full and I almost used smaller pans but these were already greased and I was too lazy to wash them and grease smaller pans. Sure enough, they ended up being small loaves. I'm guessing that all of the dough would have fit nicely into a 9" x 5" pan.

the verdict:

This bread was good sliced while still warm and really delicious toasted with butter. I love the nuttiness from the whole grain flour and the toasted nuts. The amount of cherries was perfect for us, so I'm glad I made the adjustments that I did.
I asked my husband how this bread compares to the cinnamon raisin bread, and he commented, "it's even better - hard to believe!"

I'm sending this bread to Yeastspotting, a weekly compilation of all yeasty goodness on blogs throughout the bread-baking world.


Anonymous said...

Gorgeous bread and braid! Good choice on reducing the dried fruit and increasing the nuts.

NKP said...

This was one of my absolute faves too.
Looks great!

Di said...

That looks really great, Nancy! I wouldn't have thought to braid the dough and then put it in a loaf pan. I'll have to try that soon.

margot said...

Better than the cinnamon raisin bread? This one must be amazing. Your braided loaf looks so nice.

Audrey said...

Though I loved this with ap flour, it did seem to want to have some whole grain in it! I'm so glad to hear that worked so well. I've been meaning to make more of this, because I enjoyed that first loaf so much.

I miss baking along with all of you...someday, again!

Susan/Wild Yeast said...

Gorgeous, Nancy! I think I'd prefer the cherries to cranberries too.