Cranberry Sourdough Bread
This savory sourdough bread is studded with tangy sweet dried cranberries that re-hydrate during the rising and baking process. It is amazing when warmed or toasted with a bit of butter. Cranberry sourdough bread is truly a versatile bread that I like to serve with dinner or breakfast. I'm sure it's going to make fantastic grilled cheese sandwiches one day at my house. It would also be perfect for making crostini to serve with baked brie.
Putting the dough together is simple in a stand mixer. Add all of the dry ingredients except the dried cranberries and seeds to the mixing bowl then run the mixer with the dough hook attachment just to get them mixed. Then add the sourdough all at once and begin to mix them together. As this starts to combine, start drizzling in the warm water until you have used about 1 cup. If the dough seems too dry, add water one tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together and then let the mixer continue to run for 7-8 minutes to knead the dough and get the gluten working.
I've used images in this blog from two different loaves of the same recipe.
Turn the dough out onto a floured board with a spatula. Flour your hands and then knead the dough just a few times by folding it over itself one direction and then the other. Gather the dough into a ball and place it in a large bowl that has a tablespoon of oil in it and roll it around so it's lightly covered with the oil.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set it somewhere warm to rise for 1-2 hours or until it has doubled in size. The more you bake in your house and the warmer it is, the faster your bread will rise. The extra yeasts in the air and some warmth will do amazing things!
After an hour or so the bread should double in size and be ready to form into loaves for the second rise.
Turn the dough out onto the floured board and with floured hands pat it out into a disc and top it with the dried cranberries. Stretch and fold the dough over itself then turn the dough and stretch and fold again. Repeat until all of the cranberries have been incorporated into the dough then roll the bread into a ball creating surface tension as you roll until you have created a round shape. Place the dough onto a floured banneton or a bowl that you have lined with a towel and floured well.
After covering the bread with a light dry towel or banneton cover, for it's second proofing I start my oven heating with a large round dutch oven inside. This takes about 45 minutes to one hour.
Place the dutch oven inside of your kitchen oven and turn the temperature up to 450 degrees.
Next comes the part I love! This is where I get to be creative and hopefully create something beautiful as well as tasty.
After the loaf has risen for the second time, take the dutch oven out of the preheated oven and set it on top of the range very carefully using big oven mitts. It is obviously VERY hot.
Place a piece of parchment paper on a bread board and sprinkle it with polenta or semolina flour. Gently roll the loaf you are baking out of its banneton onto the parchment paper then score it using a very sharp straight edged blade or knife making three slashes quite deep and quickly into the bread.
For a more descriptions and great pictures of the baking process using a dutch oven click on the dutch oven category at the top of this post for more bread recipes or check out my recipe for Rosemary Garlic Sourdough Bread.
After scoring the bread with three long deep slashes, remove the lid of the dutch with an oven mitt and set it aside someplace secure. Now lift up the bread using the parchment paper and placed it directly into the dutch oven, paper and all, replace the lid and put it into the oven. Now turn the temperature of the oven down from 450 degrees to 425 degrees and bake for 45 minutes.
Happy Bread Baking!
2 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
3/4 cup bread flour
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1 cup sourdough starter
1 cup very warm water or whey (100-110 degrees)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup tablespoons pumpkin seeds
1 1/2 tablespoons flax seeds
1 1/2 tablespoons millet seeds
(40 minutes active 2 1/2 to 3 hours total)
1. Add dry ingredients to a stand mixer ( I don't sift) and mix on low speed with the hook attachment to somewhat combine.
2. Add sourdough starter all at once and mix again on low speed to somewhat combine.
3. Begin to drizzle in the liquid very slowly with the machine running on low speed until you have used about 1 cup.
4. Allow the machine to continue to work the dough until it begins to pull away from the sides of the mixer adding more liquid tablespoon by tablespoon if it seems too dry. If you go too fast and the dough gets too wet add more bread flour a few tablespoons at a time. The dough should become just slightly sticky and be very soft in about 5 minutes. Let the machine knead a few minutes after it comes together about 7-8 minutes total. The dough should be very soft and not too sticky.
5. Turn the dough out onto a floured board with a spatula. Flour your hands and then knead the dough just a few times by folding it over itself one direction and then the other.
6. Gather the dough into a ball and place it in a large bowl that has a teaspoon of oil in it and roll it around so it's lightly covered with the oil. I use grape seed oil but any good oil will do.
7. Cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap and set it somewhere warm to rise for 1-2 hours or until it has doubled in size. The more you bake in your house and the warmer it is, the faster your bread will rise. The extra yeasts in the air and some warmth will do amazing things!
8. When your bread has risen until you can still see your fingerprint when you poke it gently and it doesn't immediately spring back then it's time to form your loaf!
9. Turn it out onto a floured board and degas the dough by folding it over on itself 3-4 times, then gather it back into a ball and put it into a floured proofing basket. I cover this with a cotton kitchen towel or banneton cover and set it back in my warm rising space on top of my stove with the range hood lights on for a little extra warmth.
10. Put a cast iron dutch oven in your oven and begin heating it to 450 degrees for at least 30 minutes.
11. After 40 to 60 minutes the dough should have nearly doubled in size so prep for scoring by putting a piece of pop-up parchment paper ona breadboard and sprinkle it with cornmeal, polenta grits or semolina flour.
12. Very carefully remove the preheated dutch oven to your stove top leaving the lid on.
13. Gently roll/flip the formed loaf out of the proofing basket onto the parchment paper sprinkled with cornmeal and then quickly score the loaf with a razor blade making three 1/2 inch deep slashes.
14. Remove the lid from the dutch oven with an oven mitt and gently transfer your loaf by lifting the parchment paper and setting the whole thing in the pot paper and all. Replace the lid using an oven mitt and put the whole dutch oven back into your oven.
15. Turn down the temperature on the oven to 425 degrees at this point and set a timer for 45 minutes. If you would like a darker crust you may want to keep it on a higher temperature but it should be done within 40-45 minutes.
Bread is done when it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Let cool completely or at least an hour before slicing.
See the slideshow above for more tips on baking this bread.