Cranberry Bread with Sunflower Seeds and Rosemary, Take 2

This is a nice, little bread recipe from Jamie Oliver. (I heart Jamie.) He’s all about chunks, gobs and heaping handfuls and tablespoons, which trigger all sorts of baking alarms in my head, but actually, everything always works out. Just as it did here with this bread. A cinch to make, I think it took me all of 20 minutes to put together, including kneading…way easier than my first version of this bread.

It’s a moist and flavorful bread. Definitely doesn’t have the developed crumb or taste you get from breads made with starters, but I still really enjoyed it.

Enjoy!

Cran-Rosemary Bread with Sunflower Seeds (recipe adapted from Jamie’s Kitchen via foodnetwork.com)

INGREDIENTS

Basic Bread Dough

1 oz (30 g) fresh yeast or 1x 37 g sachet of dried yeast

1 oz (30 g) honey or sugar

Just over 1 pint (625 ml) tepid water

Just over 2 pounds (1 kg) strong bread flour, plus extra for dusting (I substituted half of this with wheat bread flour)

1 oz (30 g) salt

Additional

Small handful fresh rosemary leaves

Good handful raisins

METHOD

Stage 1: Dissolve the yeast and honey (or sugar) in 1/2 the tepid water.

Stage 2: On a clean surface or in a large bowl, make a pile of the flour and salt. Make a well in the center and pour in all the dissolved yeast mixture. With 4 fingers of 1 hand (Is this really necessary? Just use a fork), make circular movements from the center moving outwards, slowly bringing in more and more of the flour until all the yeast mixture is soaked up. Then pour the other 1/2 of the tepid water into the center and gradually incorporate all the flour to make a moist dough. (Certain flours may need a little more water, so don’t be afraid to adjust the quantities.)

Stage 3: Add in the rosemary and cranberries or raisins. Then begin kneading. This is the best bit, just rolling, pushing and folding the dough over and over for 5 minutes. This develops the gluten and the structure of the dough. If any of the dough sticks to your hands, just rub them together with a little extra flour.

Stage 4: Flour both your hands well, and lightly flour the top of the dough. Make it into a roundish shape and place it on a baking tray. Score it deeply with a knife allowing it to relax and proof with ease until it’s doubled in size. Ideally you want a warm, moist, draft-free place for the quickest proof, for example near a warm cooker or in the airing cupboard, and you could cover it with cling film if you want to speed things up. This proofing process improves the flavor and texture of the dough and should take around 40 minutes, depending on the conditions.

Stage 5: When the dough has doubled in size you need to knock the air out of it by bashing it around for a minute. Now you can shape it into whatever shape is required – round, flat, filled, trayed up, tinned up or whatever – and leave it to proof for a second time until it doubles in size again. The important thing is not to lose your confidence now. Don’t feel a need to rush through this, because the second proofing time will give you the lovely, delicate soft texture that we all love in fresh bread.

Stage 6: Now it’s time to cook your loaf. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) oven for about 25 minutes. You want to keep all the air inside it, so gently place it in the preheated oven and don’t knock it or slam the door. (I brushed mine with water before and mid-way through baking, in order to get a crunchier, more golden crust.) You can tell if your bread is cooked by tapping its bottom (if it’s in a tin you’ll have to take it out). If it sounds hollow it’s cooked, if it doesn’t then pop it back in for a little longer. Put it on a rack to cool before tucking in!

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