Cinnamon Cranberry (Not Raisin!) Bread
If you have yet to give in to the over-sharing-but-strangely-intriguing force of Twitter, let this long-time skeptic convince you of one of its better qualities. Though I resisted joining for a long time, I finally conceded when my roommate told me I could follow all sorts of food-related people. Next thing I knew I was reading the daily tweets of Food Network, Cooking Light, and Foodista and getting my hands on all sorts of recipes and foodie news. Forget about the young and annoying Hollywood actresses updating about their every move and use Twitter for all its best assets. Heck, I got my internship at Look Cupcakes via Twitter, and it led to a paid job!
But this is not a post for praising Twitter and I don’t wish to bore you. Like me, you’re here for the food, right? The food today is a fragrant, comforting loaf of bread rife with plump cranberries, whole grains and plenty of cinnamon. The recipe came to my attention when it was tweeted by Foodista. I immediately saved it because it called for spelt flour, an ingredient I’d had in my pantry since the summer but had only used once (in my recipe for Lemon Lavender Scones).
I’ve lately been yearning to make a loaf of bread, but have been too busy to set aside the time for it to rise, proof, and bake. Earlier this week I decided to squeeze in a baking session before my noon work shift. I was a little worried about cutting it close on time, but the dough seemed to sense my need for speed and rose (literally) to the occasion. Even so, I pulled it out of the oven just minutes before I had to leave, so I was forced to wait until that evening to taste my creation.
My patience was rewarded when I sank my teeth into a slice of this tender, aromatic bread. You wouldn’t believe there is no sugar in the dough when you taste this. The cranberries, awakened by a soak in boiling water before mixing into the dough, are juicy and lend a perfect amount of sweetness to the loaf. The cinnamon adds warmth and the lemon zest brings brightness. I was always upset that I hated raisins growing up and couldn’t partake in the cinnamon raisin bread my mom would bring home and toast up for my sister. All those years tortured by the enticing aroma of something I wouldn’t eat. I feel mollified by this bread. I have finally found a more-than-worthy substitute. Where has this bread been all my life?
As I said, the original recipe came from Foodista and was listed with a title in another language and a list of recipes measured in grams. Don’t worry, I did the work for you and converted the measurements to good ol’ cups and teaspoons. I also adapted the process to use active dry yeast, since it’s much more common in home kitchens than the instant yeast it originally called for. Don’t be daunted by this bread. I was a little nervous using spelt flour in a yeasted dough for the first time, but it performed beautifully. My spelt flour came from Finnriver Farm‘s stand at the Belltown farmers market, but you can also get it from Bob’s Red Mill or King Arthur Flour if you can’t find it at your grocery store.
Cinnamon Cranberry Bread
- 1 1/3 cups dried cranberries
- 3/4 cup rolled oats
- 1 3/4 cups boiling water
- 1 Tbsp (or one packet) active dry yeast
- 2 1/2 cups whole spelt flour
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- zest of one lemon
- 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
- In a bowl, combine the cranberries and oats and pour the boiling water over to cover. Stir to combine and set aside for 15 minutes, until the mixture is just slightly warm.
- Meanwhile, combine the yeast with about 2 Tbsp warm water (95-110 degrees) and a pinch of sugar in a small bowl and stir to combine. Let sit for 10 minutes until frothy.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer (or another large bowl, if mixing by hand), combine the flours, salt, cinnamon and lemon zest. Use your fingers to rub in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Add the cooled cranberries and oats and the yeast mixture. Attach your dough hook and mix on low speed until everything is fully incorporated. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes (the dough will look a little wet at first, but waiting 10 minutes will allow the spelt flour to absorb some of the water, as it tends to do).
- Knead the dough on medium speed for about 10 minutes. The dough will clear the sides of the bowl, but will still be somewhat tacky to the touch (not sticky!). If it’s still very sticky, add extra all-purpose flour a couple tablespoons at a time. Remove to a lightly greased bowl, cover will a towel and let rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes until nearly doubled.
- Turn the dough out into a lightly floured surface and use your fingertips to flatten into a rectangle.
Starting at the top, fold over a third of the way and press the seam with your fingertips.
Roll another third and press again.
Fold in the sides and press down.
Fold over one last time and use the heal of your hand to seal the edges.
Place in a lightly greased loaf pan seam-side down, cover with a towel, and let rise in a warm place for another 30-40 minutes until nearly doubled.
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Brush water on the top of your loaf and sprinkle with extra rolled oats. Use a very sharp knife or razor to score a line down the top of the loaf.
Bake for 35-45 minutes until the internal temperature reaches about 195 degrees (yes, you should temp your bread!). The top of your loaf will get very dark. Tent it with foil if you’re worried. I didn’t, and the bread was just fine.
- Let cool completely in the pan before removing. I’ve been enjoying my slices toasted and drizzled with a touch of honey. Great for breakfast or with tea and coffee. Mmmmm!