Saturday, December 12, 2009

Heavenly Breads - for you, or to share!

Cranberry Orange Bread
Photo credit: Heidi @ Mt Hope on Flickr


In the midst of the holidays, when we're all swimming in fudge, Christmas cookies and divinity, it is often nice to be able to present a simpler, less sugary option. Below are two of my favorite VERY EASY bread recipes - and while they might be a bit less dazzling than colored sprinkles they are no less delicious!

Cranberry Orange Bread


This recipe is adapted from James Beard’s Beard on Bread. It’s a great way to use fresh cranberries. The use of melted butter saves the labor of beating fresh butter and makes for a more evenly tender loaf.

Ingredients
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup melted butter or canola oil
  • 1 ¼ cup milk OR ½ cup orange juice and ¾ cup Milk
  • 1 ¼ cups raw cranberries, washed, dried and picked over, roughly chopped if preferred (frozen is fine)
  • 3 Tb. Grated orange rind (optional)
  • 3/4 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped

Directions
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease two loaf pans.
  • In a large mixing bowl, blend together the flour, soda, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together the eggs and sugar.
  • In a small saucepan, melt the butter (if using) and let cool before adding it to the egg-sugar mixture; otherwise, stir the canola oil into the egg-sugar mixture. Stir in the milk or milk-and-juice mixture.
  • Stir in the dry ingredients until just moistened, then fold in the cranberries. The batter will be thick.
  • Scrape the batter into the two loaf pans and spread out evenly.
  • Bake for 50 minutes to an hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a loaf comes out clean.
  • Cool on a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.


English Muffin Loaf (No Knead)

Ingredients

  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 6 cups unsifted flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Cornmeal

Directions
  • Combine 3 cups flour, yeast, sugar, salt and soda in mixing bowl.
  • On the stove, heat liquids until very warm (120 to 130 degrees).
  • Add liquids to dry mixture. Mix well. Stir in the rest of the flour to make a stiff batter.
  • Spoon into two 8-1/2 by 4-1/2 inch loaf pans that have been greased and sprinkled with cornmeal.
  • Sprinkle tops lightly with cornmeal; cover and let rise in a warm place for 45 minutes.
  • Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes or until golden.
  • Remove from pans immediately and let cool. (These loaves freeze very well).

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