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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Citrus Cranberry Crusty Bread

One of the late successes of 2012 was my new found ability to make yeast-bread.  Around October, as the weather started to cool (slightly), I found myself wanting to try my hand at baking REAL bread...but I had always feared yeast. Those little microorganisms are so delicate, and I was afraid my bread would come out flat and dense. Or on the other hand, the dough might rise so much that it would look like a miniature hot air balloon until it exploded (like in the cartoons) and my kitchen and dog would be covered in sticky bread dough. It's an irrational fear...and yet my first attempt at yeast bread, which I nursed for hours and hours one Sunday afternoon turned into a dense, flat loaf.  My hunnie was sweet enough to say that it was "good", and I followed up by saying, "yes...good for a doorstop."  

After a month of feeling defeated (and after getting some tips from my co-workers adorable and very domestic wife) I finally conquered the little yeasties, kneading and baking up some delicious and light rosemary rolls for Thanksgiving dinner.  This 2nd attempt could not have gone more perfectly, and I felt so good about the results that I reduplicated the recipe for Christmas (perhaps I'll post the rosemary roll recipe soon).  As 2012 came to an end, I could feel my yeast-bread (and my confidence) rising, so I decided to try something a little different.  A no-knead bread that you bake right in your dutch oven.  So, as a leap of faith in my yeast-bread skills, and to ring in 2013, I took the plunge on a crusty bread recipe packed with festive, earthy flavors.  The result was a delightful loaf full of healthy goodness.  It was perfect for my pre-run PB&Js and also went really well with goat cheese and salad for dinner. 
Citrus Cranberry Crusty Bread
3 cups all purpose flour + extra for rolling
1 3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon yeast
1 cup water, luke warm
1/2 cup orange juice, luke warm*
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup sliced almonds

In a large bowl combine flour, salt, and yeast.  Stir in cranberries and almonds.  Add water and orange juice and mix until combined and moist.  Cover dough with plastic wrap and let rise for at least 12 hours.  Once dough has sufficiently risen, set oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, and place dutch oven inside with lid on.  Let dutch oven warm in oven for 30 minutes.  During that time, pour dough onto heavily floured surface and shape into a ball.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until dutch oven is warm.  Carefully remove pot from oven, place dough ball inside, and return to the oven with the lid on.  Bake with lid on for 30-35 minutes, until bread has a nice, golden crust.  Remove from oven and let cool on cooling rack. 

*I warmed my refrigerated OJ for about 20 seconds in the microwave. 
Recipe inspired by Simply So Good. Pin It

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