Oat and Cranberry Bread

I’m going to a coffee morning this morning. It’s all I ever seem to do these days, go to coffee mornings. I have had a run of invites, you get nothing for months then suddenly everyone wants a piece. I don’t mind, tomorrows coffee morning is support the Bra Walk by Action Cancer and it’s being run by a friend. All I have to do is show up and eat cupcakes!

Before I head out of the door I want to share my latest loaf with you. This bread has a little crunch and combined with the fruitiness of the cranberries it is very pleasing. The bread doesn’t look like anything special, please don’t let this put you off. This is totally my own recipe, I hope you like it.

Ingredients

300g (10.6oz) wholemeal bread flour

200g (7.1oz) white strong bread flour

300ml (10.6oz) of very slightly warm water

1 tablespoon sugar

2.5 teaspoons dried yeast

2 teaspoons salt

3 tablespoons powdered milk (optional but I think it gives the bread a better texture)

75g (2.6oz) oats

75g (2.6oz) dried cranberries

Another optional ingredient is 100g of unfed sourdough starter or 50g of freshly fed starter. The starter is totally optional, if you don’t know what I am talking about so please ignore this as you will probably not have starter. If you have starter then the addition gives you a bit of depth to the flavour of your bread, however this bread is very tasty without.

Method

I tend to play about with my bread making methods, this is the one I’m currently using for the yeast I have. The dried yeast I am using has been opened about three weeks now and has been exposed to the air so I like to do this first step. It is not essential but is good practice.

Bloom the yeast by mixing the yeast and sugar in with the water.

While the yeast is blooming mix all the other ingredients in a bowl except for the oats and cranberries.

Add in your starter if you are using it.

Mix everything together and when the yeast water mix has some foamy froth on the top mix that in too.

Using your dough hooks or by hand mix the dough until it leaves the sides of the bowl clean.

The dough will be fairly elastic. Mix in the cranberries and oats and then knead the dough until it is elastic and smooth.

The dough is ready to be placed back in the bowl to rest for around 45 minutes.

It will rise considerably.

Tip your dough out onto a lightly floured board and knock the air out of the dough.

Shape your dough onto a round boule, creating surface tension as you can with craggy fruity dough.

Leave your dough to rise on a non stick parchment. I use a Teflon-like sheet.

After about an hour your dough will have risen considerably. Test it by gently pressing with your finger, if it slowly takes its shape again it’s ready to bake.

Heat your oven to 240C (460F) with your baking sheet or pizza stone in it.

Place a heat proof dish in the shelf below and add some hot water. The dish will steam.

Once the oven is hot, carefully slide the bread onto the hot baking sheet/pizza stone.

Bake for 15 minutes at 240C. After 15 minutes remove the steam plate from the bottom of the oven. Turn the oven down to 200C (395F) and bake for a further 15 minutes approximately.

Your bread will be ready when it sounds hollow if you tap it on the bottom.

Cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.

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