Well, I did it, I caved and decided it was time to abandon the store bought bread and begin and adventure in making my own. There are tons of recipes out there for simple artisan breads, but I found that most were incomplete – so with a bit of trial and error (3 loaves to the trash before perfection) – here is an easy recipe that I’m certain you will come to enjoy and love.
1/4 oz. Dry Active Yeast
1 1/2 cup Warm Water
1 tbsp. Brown Sugar
2 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flour*
1 1/2 tsp Crumble Spice (substitute Cinnamon)
1 tsp. Salt
1/4 cup Oats
1/2 cup Pecans (roughly chopped)
1/4 cup Dried Cranberries
I highly recommend using a mixer with the dough hook for this recipe, it will make life MUCH easier. If this isn’t an option you may find it beneficial to get your hands dirty and mix the dough by hand (it will be sticky, but fun). In the mixing bowl add warm water (you want roughly 110 degree water to activate the yeast), brown sugar and the yeast – lightly stir to mix together. It will take approximately 5 minutes for the yeast to start activating, it will begin foaming and once you have a nice foam coating it’s ready for the rest of the ingredients. In a separate bowl add 2 cups of the flour, Crumble Spice and mix in the salt (this will help protect the yeast from the salt (which online rumors say will kill the yeast).
When the yeast is ready turn on the mixer and add the 2 cups of flour, oats, pecans and dried cranberries. Allow to mix well and then slowly add remaining flour until the dough comes together (forms a nice ball) but remains moist and very sticky.
Now your dough is complete and ready to rise and eventually bake. If you want a traditional loaf just grease a 5×9 loaf pan and place dough in the pan and cover with a cloth to rise. For an artisan dough I took an 8 inch round cake pan and set a sheet of parchment paper in it to hold the dough and allowed it to rise in a round shape in the cake pan. To help the dough rise it is helpful to turn the oven on to 250 degrees and set your pan on top of the stove. The warmth will give the dough (and yeast) the extra warmth it needs to rise nicely.
Once the dough has doubled in volume (approximately 1-2 hours, more depending on temperature). Preheat oven to 450 degrees and once preheated, bake bread for 30-40 minutes. You will know the bread is done when you “knock” on the top and it sounds hollow. Remove from the oven and allow to cool and enjoy!
I’m looking forward to bringing you more delicious bread recipes in the very near future. Stay tuned!
* Bread flour will rise higher and if this is what you are going after, by all means use bread flour. I wanted full Whole Wheat, but for a happy medium you can mix half and half.