BBA #11 Cranberry Walnut Celebration Bread

Alright, next up is the Cranberry Walnut Celebration Bread which was in many ways very similar to the Artos Celebration Bread I made in week two of this Challenge. I thought the bread was good, but I really am a fan of cranberries. I wish it had just a hint of the spices that the Artos included. Eh – I know, I know, if I wanted Artos then I should just make the Artos again. Well, I will, just not right away. For now let’s look at what it takes to make the Cranberry Walnut bread instead.

Starting off with a snapshot of my ingredients:


 Sugar, unbleached bread flour, salt, cranberries, unsalted butter, water, yeast, eggs, lemon extract, walnuts and buttermilk (frozen).


 Here is the shot of my mis-en-place!


Let’s get started, I reached for my large mixing bowl and combined the flour, sugar, yeast and salt and mixed until the yeast was uniformly distributed in the rest of the dry ingredients.


Next I added the wet ingredients: (clockwise starting from the yellowest puddle) eggs, butter, buttermilk/water and last, but not least, the lemon extract.


I pulled out my handy dough whisk and with a few strokes watched as the dough started to come together, just enough to start kneading with the dough hook.


I turned on the mixer and let the dough form a ball and gradually increased the speed to setting 4 on the Kitchen Aid. After about 10 minutes of kneading I checked the consistency. I was a little confused because the recipe doesn’t say that it should pass the windowpane test.


It was pretty close so I turned the dough out on to my counter and kneaded it for a few more minutes and then patted the smooth dough out until it was about a inch thick.


Next, I dumped about 2/3rds of the total amount of cranberries onto the surface and started kneading them in. 


This was difficult to do since they wanted to spill out onto the counter instead of staying inside!


It didn’t take long for my pup, Jude, to start hanging out in the kitchen waiting for cranberries and then walnuts to fly off the counter onto the kitchen floor. He must have thought it was raining treats!! Well anyway, he was good company and kept me from stepping on the cranberries and getting them stuck to my feet. What a helper I tell ya!


Once I had all the cranberries distributed, it was time to add the walnuts. I had no idea how they were going to mix in since every turn of the bread caused the cranberries to come poking out.  I was getting a full upper body work out with all this kneading!


About 10 minutes later, they were pretty well incorporated.


I formed the dough into a ball and placed it in my oiled mixing bowl for its bulk fermentation.


 This it what it looks like after 60 minutes, it has doubled in size!


 I removed the dough from the bowl and separated about 1/3rd of the dough to make a small three strand roll.  DSC01593

This was going to be for my sister since I know she would want to try this bread.DSC01596

Once braided, I set it on a parchment lined baking sheet and gave it a brush with an egg wash to give it a nice shiny surface.


I took the remaining 2/3rds of the bread and split it as close as possible into four small sections and then formed them into tiny boules to rest for about 10 minutes.


Each of the boules were then rolled into strands. This was tough because the cranberries just did not want to stay in the dough. Jude got a few more treats in the process.


I left the strands to rest for a few more minutes and then started to braid. I wanted to try my hand at the round loaf that fellow BBA Challenger Tammymade in the Challah challenge. I so admired that beautiful loaf! DSC01600

It was too diffiicult to take step by step photos, but this is what I ended up with. Looks pretty good to me! I hope it stays together in the oven!


Up close and personal with the cranberry goodness…..


The braided round went to hang out with the mini roll and was given an egg wash bath to match.  I let the dough rest for about 90 minutes and then put it in the oven to bake.


After about 55 minutes I tested for temperature and it was over 190 degrees. Once I removed it from the oven I started noticing that it didn’t really have an any oven spring, in fact, it might have even shrunk a little in the oven!! Not a great thing I can assure you!


I allowed it to cool overnight and then sliced it up the next morning.DSC01609

The crumb was pretty dense. My suspicions were confirmed – it just rise like it should have.  I crossed my fingers and hoped that it still tasted ok sure….DSC01608


I took it into work, where my ever-supportive giuena pigs co-workers assured me that it was fine, great and plenty tasty. So nice of them, but I know the truth – this loaf just didn’t rise to its full potential. It was a pretty loaf, and it tasted pretty good, but I just couldn’t shake the feeling that it was a little more brick-ish than it should have been. I’d like to make this again just to see if I had different results and hopefully a fluffier loaf. 

I’m still not sure if I should have check for a windowpane during the mixing stage or if I over-mixed it when adding all the fruit and nuts so hopefully I can rule out one or the other next time!

Next up! #12 English Muffins – I love, love, love  English Muffins so this is going to be great!

2 responses to this post.

  1. Looks great and I had the same question on the windowpane. I just figured close enough and called it a day.

    I had the same problem with the massive amount of cranberries and nuts. Unfortunately I decided to toss mine into the KA while it was kneading. Needless to say I am still finding a stray cranberry weeks later.

    The muffins are fun however really curious on your results. Our dough was tough and I think we screwed up any chance for big poofy holes by squishing the muffins down when they hit the skillet. I also heard Nicole said she had great luck using all the buttercream.

    Good luck!!!!


  2. Posted by misterrios on August 21, 2009 at 9:27 am

    Odd that the crumb was tight. I didn’t have too tight a crumb, but it also wasn’t light like most breads, I think because of the weight of the fruit and nuts. Of course, that single braid is awesome. I’d like to try that sometime.


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