Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Orange Cranberry Bread

This is somewhat of a departure from desserts. But, it's baked, so I think it can still be posted. I made some orange cranberry muffins for my mom a while back, but I wasn't that pleased with the texture of them, and I still had some leftover ingredients. I always seem to have more luck with yeast breads than quick breads (go figure, right???), so I thought of making an orange cranberry bread. I looked at this cinnamon raisin bread recipe for inspiration, but I HEAVILY adapted it and made enough changes that I feel comfortable labeling this an original recipe. This bread is moist, light in texture, and heavy on flavor! It's nice and hearty because of the copious add-ins and would make a great breakfast! Please enjoy!

Orange Cranberry Bread (a Blondie original)

  • 1/3 c. warm water (110 degrees F)
  • 4 Tbl. honey, divided
  • 2 tsp. yeast
  • 3 Tbl. butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 2/3 c. bread flour, divided
  • 1/2 c. plus a little more thawed orange juice concentrate, divided
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Ground cloves
  • Ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. chopped walnuts
  • Handful dried cranberries
  • Handful golden raisins
  • Melted butter (optional)

Mix the warm water with 1 Tbl. honey in a large bowl. Sprinkle the yeast over this and let proof until foamy, about 5-10 minutes.

Whisk remaining honey, butter, egg, and salt into the yeast mixture until pretty thoroughly mixed. If you still have some lumps of butter, that’s ok. Add 1 c. bread flour, and whisk until the mixture is smooth and no lumps remain. Whisk in 1/2 c. thawed orange juice concentrate. Using a spoon (it’ll get too thick to whisk), stir in remaining flour a little at a time until dough pulls away from the edge of the bowl. Turn it out onto a lightly-floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes, adding more flour as necessary to prevent sticking.

Coat a large bowl with cooking spray. Form your dough into a ball and coat it in cooking spray. Put the dough into the bowl and cover the surface of the dough with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, or until doubled.

On a lightly-floured surface, roll out the dough into a rectangle that is 1/2-in. thick and 9-in. wide (it will end up being about 11 to 12-in. long). Brush the dough with a little more thawed orange juice concentrate, just to moisten it. Sprinkle liberally with cinnamon, lightly with cloves, and very lightly with nutmeg. Sprinkle the brown sugar over the dough. Sprinkle the dough with the walnuts, cranberries, and raisins, distributing them evenly. Roll up dough jelly-roll style, TIGHTLY, folding in the ends. Place in a well-greased 9x5-in. loaf pan. At this step, you can either put it in the fridge to rise overnight, or put it in a warm place to rise for an hour. If you let it rise overnight in the fridge, be sure to let it sit at room temperature for about a half hour to warm up before baking.

Bake at 350 degrees F. for 30 minutes, or until the bread is lightly browned on top and sounds hollow when knocked. You can brush the top with melted butter at this point to ensure a soft crust, but my house is super humid and things always get soft anyways, so I didn’t.

This would also be fantastic topped with a glaze of powdered sugar and orange juice concentrate, but it's not necessary.

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