As much as I like exploring good bread recipes – the real excitement is creating my own based on the tips and tricks I’ve learned on my way and a dash of “what’s in the cupboard”. Sometimes my composition becomes a hit with friends and family and is requested again and again, like my Dark Rye & Oatmeal bread. Other times … they end up in the trash long before even of half the loaf is consumed.
I’m munching on a slice from the second loaf of my last free composition and this one could be made again I believe. It has flavor and character … even after being frozen. The recipe came along after finding a pack of dried cranberries in my cupboard which was getting close to expiration date. I decided cranberries could be a nice surprising element in a fairly dark bread accompanied by … apple juice! Apples and cranberries, fashionably in season, just had to be done.
I like to use the soaking technique – in Norwegian it is called “skålde” – where the coarser, harder flour types soak in boiling water for some time before continuing the baking process. Soaking helps developing flavors and makes the bread more moist, and sometimes the dough more manageable, especially (and traditionally) with rye flour.
And I like cold-rising. It means I don’t have to stay close to the dough to monitor the rising, because it will take a looong time. Over night is ideal. The long rising time also helps bringing out the flavors of the flour and the moistness of the bread. So with a soaking bath and a cold rise, the result should be a pretty moist, flavorful and sustainable loaf of bread! Sure is. Sweet and savory. Next time I will add some oil, canola or some nutty oil to give the texture a lift.
Oat and Cranberry Bread
100 g large oats
300 g sprouted rye flour
80 g dried cranberries
6 dl boiling water
4 dl apple juice (cold)
100 g roasted sunflower seeds
1 1/4 tsp yeast
200 g whole wheat flour
1 tbsp salt
800 g white bread flour
- Soak oats, sprouted (or coarse if you have!) rye flour and cranberries in a bowl with boiling water and leave until it turns cold, or over night.
- Mix the dry yeast with the remaining flour and salt (hold back on white flour) and stir the apple juice with the pre-dough when it is cold (or the next day.)
- Mix everything, stir and knead until well incorporated. The dough will be pretty sticky but it shapes up during rising time.
- Leave to rise for 7-9 hours, over night again is perfect.
- Knead again until smooth and shape the kind of bread you prefer – it works well both with and without tin.
I made three bread from this dough, two in small tins (about 1l) and one hand shaped bread. The hand shaped loaf was pretty but it browned quicker during baking – which left the crumb slightly soggy when done. The tin bread came out with a firmer texture. But it is a matter of adjusting baking time I believe, and baking tin bread and free bread at the same time might not be ideal. I baked at 475 F for 10 minutes, then 345 F for 30 – 40 minutes in a convection oven. Next time I will bake at 350 F (convection oven) solid for 45 – 55 minutes.
The bread can be decorated if you prefer, oats or sunflower seeds work well, brush with water or coffee to make them stick. But its fine without too.
So if you’re into healthy but sweet tasting bread with a lot of flavor on its own and like dried fruit in bread then you might enjoy making this one. Especially if you find cold rising and long processing with minimal interference convenient. I’m into that. Too.
I'm Currently living in Florida, USA, but I'm Norwegian born and bred. At the moment I enjoy baking bread and blogging about it. I enjoy blogging in general, because I like writing. But I'm trained as an illustrator, originally ... in England. One day I'll write a book. About bread. And illustrate it myself. Maybe. Life will see.