I’ve been wanting to post about this bread for a while now, but since I saw that so many other bloggers were sharing this recipe, with little to no alterations, I didn’t think it would be necessary. After making it once a week for the past four weeks though, I’ve come to the realization that I have got to get the word out about this bread. It is so easy to make, with only 4 very basic ingredients (plus the mix-ins), a short rising time and you barely need to knead it at all. It has a very interesting combination of warm and cold rising locations but can be completed in just under 3 hours or left to sit in the fridge overnight and baked first thing in the morning. This bread is phenomenal when still warm, just out of the oven, served plain or with some butter and almost as sensational when toasted with butter or jam the next day. I don’t normally post about recipes that I haven’t created on my own or made various alterations to in some way but like a good book that gets passed around and read over and over again this bread recipe most definitely should be passed around and shared. Trust me, you will want to make this bread many times over, and share it with as many people as you can, family and friends alike, I know I have!
1 1/2 cups of warm Water (about 110°F)
3 1/4 cups Bread Flour (or all purpose flour can be used or a mixture of half white and half whole wheat flours)
1/2 tablespoon Salt
3/4 tablespoon Yeast (about 1 packet)
1/3 cup Pumpkin Seeds*
1/3 cup Almonds*
1/3 cup Dried Cranberries*
* You can use whatever mix-ins you like for this bread but no more than a total of 1 cup.
Mix warm water, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Add the flour and stir with a large spoon until a sticky ball forms. Remove the dough from the bowl, oil the bowl and return the dough to the oiled bowl (or you can use a second bowl). Cover with a towel and let sit in a warm spot to rise for one and up to two hours. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a lid and let rise in the fridge for 1-2 hours or overnight. Lightly flour a clean surface. Chop the almonds and cranberries into smaller pieces and mix together with the pumpkin seeds in a small bowl. Carefully remove all the dough from the bowl, it should be pretty sticky and stringy at this point, and place on the floured surface. Knead a few times until it feels elastic and then press the dough out flat and add the fillings. Knead a few more times with the fillings in the dough. To get everything evenly distributed flatten the dough out and fold it over itself in thirds like you are folding a business letter. Do this at least 2-3 times. Form into a ball and be careful that none of the fillings are sticking out of the top of the dough or they will burn. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and sprinkle with a dusting of flour. Cover with a towel and let rise for at least half an hour. Put a metal baking dish in the oven with about an inch or two of water in it and preheat the oven to 450°F. When the oven is preheated cut two 1/2″ deep slashes in the top of the bread and carefully place in the oven (there will be steam). Bake for 30 minutes or until browned on top and sounds hollow when tapped. Transfer to a baking rack and bake for 5 more minutes to brown the bottom of the loaf (I remove the pan of water at this time too, but be careful it’s very hot!). Let the loaf cool on a metal rack for about half an hour before cutting. Enjoy immediately or you can store it for up to 4-5 days and it is equally delicious toasted.