Cranberry Walnut Christmas Bread.
This may well be the recipe
that put me over the edge.
And it has nothing to do with the recipe.
Although I was fooled
thinking it would be a lovely, simple tea bread,
like banana, zucchini, etc.
It is not a typical tea bread.
It is a full fledged
And a very nice one at that.
One that calls for biga
slumbering away in the frig for three full days.
Fine by me.
I forget a lot of things these days
so being instructed to purposely
ignore ingredients was a reprieve
in the midst of holiday must do lists.
I could swear this recipe called for candied orange rind.
It's always a good sign to pull the bowl
out of the refrigerator and find bubbles.
Snipped biga in cranberry water
As the name suggests, there are cranberries in this bread,
dried not fresh, plumped in hot water.
The strained water is used to flavor and tint the dough.
Mixed together with the usual cast of bread characters:
regular and whole wheat flour, yeast, salt
and the main characters, cranberries and walnuts,
it turned into a dense dough.
After a few warm risings,
it quickly transformed into a lovely mound.
The magic of yeast, like Drosselmeyer
waving his cape and the Nutcracker comes to life.
It is a fun dough to press and fold and slash into shape.
The aroma started to fill the cold, wintery house
with cozy warmth.
This bread surprised me.
I didn't think I would like it.
It is delicious.
I still have no idea what recipe I read
that made me think it called for
candied orange rind and zest
to soak with the cranberries.
Which makes me wonder if
I've taken to having baking hallucinations?
Sounds good though.
Rose Levy Beranbaum