I have been baking bread for more than 5 years now. It is 5 1/2 years since I was given a bread machine as a gift. We have bought bread from the store probably 2 - 3 times since then. If I write down all the breads I had baked before I started blogging, this would have been considered a 'Yeast Bread Baking Blog'. I love working with yeast for couple of reasons. It can be made with very less fat unlike quick breads. It doesn't have to be a sweet bread all the time. And mainly I can make any yeast bread egg less without compromising on the texture.
This particular bread is one of my favorites. I have baked this many times prior to starting this blog. For some reason, I had not made this bread for a long time now. I made this couple of weeks back, but before I could take pictures, the bread was cut in a not so nice way that I decided to bake it again.
Whole Wheat Flour - 3 cups
Vital Wheat Gluten - 3 TBSP
Orange Juice - 3/4 cup
Warm Water - 1/4 cup + 2 TBSP
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Honey - 4 TBSP
Oil - 2 TBSP
Dry yeast - 2 tsp
Sweetened Dried Cranberries - 3/4 cup (optional)
Milk for brushing the loaf before baking (optional)
Oil or butter for brushing the loaf after baking (optional)
Mix honey and warm water. Sprinkle yeast on the top and let it get foamy. Set aside for about 5 - 10 minutes until it is ready. Take flour, vital wheat gluten, salt in a large bowl. Mix them and make a well in the center. Pour the frothy yeast, water, honey mixture in the center and start mixing the dough. Add the orange juice and mix well. When all the flour has been mixed to make a dough, start kneading for about 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Knead in the dried cranberries if using. Make a ball and coat with oil all over. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise for about 1 hour. Dough might not double. As long as the indentation remains when you press, it is ready for shaping.
Preheat the oven to 375 F. When the oven is ready, brush the loaf with some room temperature milk. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Lower the temperature to 325 F and cover with an aluminum foil if the top is getting brown. Bake for an additional 10 - 15 minutes or till the bottom sounds hollow when tapped. Cool on the wire rack. Slice when completely cool and serve toasted with some butter or jam.
As I said above, adding sweetened dried cranberries is optional. Cranberries and orange go very well together. This bread is quite sweet. Not over sweet though. If you like your bread to be very mildly sweet, reduce honey. You might have to add 1 or 2 TBSP extra water to get proper consistency of the dough.
I am sending this loaf to Susan's yeastspotting.