I do like making bread and got a little bit obsessed a couple of months ago, at one point I was making it every other day. The best decorative loaf I made was in the shape of a monkey’s fist knot but they were all either plain white or plain wholemeal loaves. This week on the great british bake off was bread week and I wanted to make something a bit different and adventurous for my entry into the great bloggers bake off. I had a think about recipes I’ve seen recently and decided to make a loaf based inspired by Justine Forrest’s recipe for breakfast cookies which I scribbled down at the Tatton Park Foodie’s Festival a few months ago. The cookies were cranberry and orang and delicious. I decided to add cranberries, and orange zest to my normal white loaf recipe, along with a couple of tablespoons of castor sugar.
Normally I make a simple plait for my white bread but this time I tried something a little fancier (inspired by Pintrest of course) and instead of making a normal 3 strand plait I split one of the strands into 3 and pliated that before adding it into the larger plait. I’m not sure it’s obvious in the pictures and next time I might do 2 mini plaits and one plain. Anyhooo, the recipe is below if you fancy having a go, all the adults liked it but the kids rejected it on the grounds that it had lots of bits in it.
500g strong white bread flour
1 sachet fast acting dried yeast
1 tsp salt
2 tablespoons castor sugar
200ml warm water
1 tablespoon unsalted butter (softened)
Zest of 1 large orange
40g dried sweetened cranberries
1 egg beaten to glaze
- In a large bowl mix the flour with the yeast salt and sugar. Add the salt at the far side of the bowl to the yeast and mix thoroughly.
- Add the water slowly and mix with a wooden spoon or by hand until all the flour is picked up.
- In a free standing mixer use a dough hook to knead for about 10 minutes. This can be done by hand but I much prefer to let my mixer do the hard work for me.
- While the dough is in the mixer zest the large orange and dice the 40g of cranberries. (I say 40g but I just used about half of a 75g bag)
- Once the dough has a smooth texture turn out onto the work surface and knead through the zest and cranberries by hand until they are distributed evenly.
- Wash out and dry the mixing bowl, oil it and place the dough in. Cover with cling film and leave to rise for at least an hour until it has doubled in size.
- Turn out the dough and knead again before shaping however you choose. I split mine into thirds and one of the thirds into thirds again. As mentioned above I made a mini plait with the small pieces then plaited that with the remaining two sections into a large plait.
- Place on a greased baking tray dusted with flour and cover with a cloth. Leave to rise for another 30 minutes or so while preheating your oven to 180c.
- Brush the loaf with beaten egg to glaze and bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown on top.