One of the great things you can do once you get into the hang of baking bread every week is to change it up without any real effort. This week, we thought that we’d go with a batch of cranberry apricot bread. Super yummy! We got the idea of using cranberries and apricots from Barrio Bread (best bread on the planet, really), as Don sometimes has these loaves available for purchase. While we got the basic bread recipe from Don, we based our version on the idea of adding in the fruit during kneading.Makes three loaves. (two Apricot Cranberry, one plain)
- 1 batch of basic bread dough
- 100 grams dried apricots, cut into pieces (50 grams per loaf)
- 50 grams dried cranberries (25 grams per loaf)
Make up the basic bread, just as always, but only through the third kneading stage. That’s when we’ll be adding the dried fruit. We didn’t want to make all three loaves as Cranberry Apricot Bread. You can, though; just use more apricots and cranberries. You could even add nuts, but we wouldn’t recommend going past the 75 grams of add-ins per loaf.
Make basic bread dough. Make it and knead it through the first three knead and rest cycles. Then you’ll have another two kneading cycles to go before letting the dough go into the bulk rise stage.
Cut the dough. After the third kneading, cut off 660 grams (or so) of dough. This will be your plain loaf, leaving about 1330 grams for the Apricot Cranberry loaves. Spread out the larger piece of dough along the cut edge (so it’s sticky) until you have a rough rectangle about 12×14 inches.
Add fruit. Spread the dried fruit on the surface and fold in to seal. Tuck the raw edges in, turn the dough over and let rest about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, form the smaller piece of dough into a ball, and knead for 5 minutes.
Knead. After the fruit-laden dough has rested for 5 minutes, carefully knead for 5 minutes, trying not to let the dried fruit escape.
Let rest. Now form into a ball, and let rest for 5 minutes. (You can knead the single loaf during this time).
Knead. Again, knead the fruit-laden dough for 5 minutes (or 300 strokes), trying to keep the dried fruit inside. Some will come up to the surface and start to poke out. That’s fine, it’ll look good when the bread bakes.
Now, just as in the basic bread recipe, shape the dough into a ball, and let it go through the bulk rise. Then pre-shape, then shape, then bake in the cast-iron dutch oven. Then enjoy.
You might think from reading that this is a bit too sweet for a savory bread, but it turns out that it has just the right amount of fruit to add that little hint of sweetness. We think that this is one of the best breads from which to make grilled cheese sandwiches. Provided you use a sharp Cheddar. Oh, man, just thinking about it makes us drool. Fives!