Making this bread was less about wanting a cranberry walnut bread (by itself) and more of having a recipe that said to use cranberry walnut bread. Granted it says you can use other bread but I figured, I know how to bake, I’ll make my own. Right…..
First things first I needed a recipe. And I needed a recipe that was more like a sandwich bread than a banana bread. Which was difficult as most recipes came back looking like it was a dessert bread. Finally I was able to find one that I was happy with. Making it however, was not not happy.
Ultimately,not just didn’t come together. The recipe called for 1/2 cup of dried cranberries and 3/4 cup chopped walnuts mixed in with the usual bread ingredients. It said it would be a like a batter to begin (it was), followed by a dough (it was not). I wound up with a very dry and crumbly mixture. I could kind of squeeze it together but it was no where near a dough consistency. I re-read the recipe several times and hadn’t missed anything or got the quantities wrong. It simply didn’t work. I did add a little bit of water (1/3 cup) and was able to get it into a ball. I put it in the bad as directed and let it sit for an hour and a half as directed to see if it would do anything. It did not. Into the trash it went.
It was late enough at night that I didn’t try anything else right then. In thinking about it, I remembered about a month ago I had made a French Country Bread that turned out pretty well and was similar to what I was attempting to make. Maybe I found add some cranberries and walnuts to that recipe. You can read about that bread here.
In the end I added a half cup of dried cranberries and a half cup of chopped walnuts. Note – the cranberries were a “special” package of julienned dried cranberries that were especially for baking. It was a whim when I bought them and it seems to have worked out.
The dough came together well, although I feel like I used more flour than it called for as I was kneading it, trying to get it to the right (non-sticky) consistency. Finally I did and let it go for the first rise. It rose very well. I was very happy with it until I tried to punch it down and learned that it had gotten very sticky. I’m not really sure why but maybe the cranberries and walnuts affected it. Probably. It probably affected the moisture balance and it needed more water. Or flour. I don’t really know.
Anyway, it was super sticky which gave me trouble in shaping it into a ball and getting it on the pan. It sort of just got on there in a misshapen, somewhat flattened ball. Not much I could do at that point. I let it rise again and then baked it. I didn’t feel that it rose very well the second time. Which was disappointing and discouraging, especially since I needed a bread that had some height to it (not flat).
After it was done baking it looked better and seemed like it would be ok. It wasn’t as nice as the las time I made that bread but I did mess with it. I haven’t made the other recipe (yet) but I did make some toast with this bread and it is good bread. It is still nice and soft and the cranberry/walnut flavor is there without being overpowering. I think it worked out pretty well. Now to see if it will work for the other recipe.