Oh yes, with Blue Cheese and Walnuts….
Mmmmmmm. Gorgeously perfect for your Christmas meal but sooooo easy you’ll never look at homemade bread the same!
First of all, let’s just talk for a moment about the sheer pleasure that is baking bread.
I swear I’d have to be at death’s door to go gluten-free. But I do insist on organic, unbromated, unbleached flour. I have some grains that I grind when I can but let’s be real. I’m just not that committed. I’ve got laundry people. Lots of laundry.
Did I mention I have lots of laundry?
To get beautiful flour for our household I suggest War Eagle Mill. I love them. It’s freshly ground and it comes in the most charming fabric bags! I order 50 pounds at a time and store it in food grade buckets like these. I typically order 25 pounds of white flour and 25 whole wheat but they have a lovely selection of corn meals, lentils… you name it.
So. During the summer I try to make it up to the farmers market in Wisconsin. It’s “fun” with all the children and the crowds but I get to hang with my cousin and stock up on things that might have bombed in our gardens. My cousin Darla insisted (as a big bread baker herself) that I try a loaf of this bread full of cranberries, blue cheese and walnuts and it was delicious. Of course, it set me on fire to try it myself and since I hosted Christmas this past weekend for my family I thought it was the perfect time to give it a whirl!
In my new cookbook, there is a recipe for “Country Loaf” – my take on the popular “no knead” bread. I’m SUCH a sucker for this long-proofing bread that I decided to use it as the foundation for this bread too. It came out wonderfully…. here’s how to do it!
For your Cranberry Bread you will need:
- 3 cups of flour and additional for dusting
- Just under a tablespoon of yeast (I loaded up because I didn’t know if the blue cheese would affect the rising)
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt (go ahead and use a teaspoon if you like saltier bread)
- 1 1/3 cups of warm water
- 3/4 cup of blue cheese
- 1/2 cup smashed walnuts
- 1/2 cup of cranberries, more if desired
5-quart dutch oven, roaster pan with a lid or even your crock pot dish with lid.
Mix everything together in a large bowl and cover with tin foil or plastic wrap. The dough will look rough and shaggy. No worries. Just be sure you get it mixed together thoroughly and that there are no pieces that are too dry and not affected by the water. If you need to add a tablespoon or two of water that is fine. Just don’t overdo it.
Set your bowl in a warm area to proof for 12-18 hours. I think the longer the better with this one. I did 12 hours as I was rushed with company on the way and my bread wasn’t as full as I wanted it to be. If you are weirded out by leaving the blue cheese out overnight go ahead and add it the following day.
12-18 hours later gather the dough and GENTLY form it into a loose ball. (You’ll need to carefully mix in your blue cheese at this point if you didn’t initially.) Fold it over onto itself and into a ball again. Cover it loosely with the leftover plastic or foil for 15 minutes.
After that time has passed, sprinkle your countertop with a little flour, fold the dough ball over onto itself, and then do it again, covering with a little flour along the way.
Leave the dough to now rise on your floured surface for two hours.
1 hour and a half into the two hours, preheat your over to 450 degrees.
Put the empty dutch oven in at this time! After the two hours have passed, take a sharp knife and score your bread with a slash or x, no deeper than 1/2 inch. CAREFULLY remove the HOT Dutch oven, lift the dough and drop it down into the dutch oven. Spritz the sides of the dutch oven with a little water, put the lid on and bake back in your oven for about 20-25 minutes. After 20 minutes check the bread, if it’s getting almost done take the lid off and finish baking for a few minutes… maybe ten? (Every oven can be so different!) until it looks golden and crusty-crunchy!
Carefully remove the loaf from the pan so the bottom doesn’t continue to bake. Allow it to cool a little… and ENJOY!
I think this is a gorgeous bread to serve with your Christmas meal! I hope you enjoy!!!!!