I am totally in love with baking my own bread.
It’s such a gratifying experience; the process is therapeutic and it culminates with a very delicious end product.
I don’t eat oodles of the stuff, but that’s not the point. I could NEVER adhere to a no-carb diet. For me, moderation is the key. And taking bread (and potatoes and rice and pasta and…) out of my life completely would never work.
Clearly, I don’t really like to conform to any pre-determined, rigid, lifestyle.
I would definitely rebel.
I think that if someone were to tell me that carbs were out, I’d strap on sweat band, a crop top, some parachute pants, and a pair of 3″ platform shoes, I’d saunter into the kitchen, and I’d, smugly, bake this bread.
Society is not going to tell me that platform shoes are passé.
I do what I want.
And what I want is to eat a slice of this incredible cranberry-walnut bread.
…while wearing my Hammer pants.
Cranberry-Walnut (No Knead) Bread
Adapted from Jim Lahey’s No Knead Bread
1.5 cups whole wheat flour
1.5 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp instant yeast
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1.5 cups water
1. In a large bowl, combine the flours, salt, yeast, walnuts, and cranberries.
2. Stir in the water. Your dough will look shaggy. That’s good.
3. Leave the dough in the same bowl and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let it rise in a draft-free place for 18-24 hours. **This means that you’ll have to plan ahead and mix everything together the day before.**
4. After the first rise, sprinkle the top of the dough with approximately 1/4 cup of flour and gently flatten enough to fold dough back onto itself a couple times to form a roundish blob of dough. Let it sit for a few minutes while you prepare for the next step.
5. Lightly grease a medium sized bowl with olive oil and sprinkle with wheat bran to lightly cover its surface (I usually just opt to use lightly-greased parchment paper for this step).
6. Gently and quickly transfer your dough (doing your very best to keep it in a roundish shape) to the prepared bowl.
7. Cover with a towel and let rise for 2 more hours.
8. 1-1/2 hours into the second rise, place your dutch oven/cast iron pot (with the lid) in your oven and preheat it to 500 degrees!
9. After the 2 hour rise/30-minute pot-preheat, carefully (it’s scalding!) remove the pot from the oven, take off its lid, and as gently as possible, flip the dough into the pot (being very careful not to burn yourself). Cover the pot and return it to the 500 degree oven.
10. Bake covered for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, turn the oven down to 450 degrees and remove the lid. Bake for an additional 15 minutes.
11. Remove from the oven and allow bread to cool completely (if you have the will power) before slicing and eating.
This is great when served fresh with cheese, is delicious toasted, and also makes fabulous french toast!!