Fresh cranberries soaked in rum, rolled in cane sugar, and baked in a bread laden with flaxseed. Really, really yummy bread. And yes, of course I drank the rum. And no, I’m not a lush. And possibly, I might be fibbing… but not about the bread.
So I bombed the ginger carrot bread I made today. Total disaster. It was like anti-gluten ate the structure of my dough. But that’s okay, because this new recipe may possibly change the world. If everyone ate a lot of it while signing peace treaties and stuff…
This recipe absolutely must be made while listening and singing along to Bruce Cockburn. Here, I’m embedding this playlist so you can’t make up silly excuses like “Oh, my Walkman ran out of batteries again.”
Now that you got the kind grooves playing, get ready for your life to change. This bread is beautiful to look at, pleasurable to savor, and easy to brag about.
I’ve baked with dried cranberries before, but not with fresh ones. I thought the berries would be too bitter. Honestly, that’s why I soaked them in rum and rolled them in sugar. The bread would have come out fine had I just soaked them in water, but then I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy the cranberry rum I was left with after I strained the berries.
I am hopeful that you really will acquaint yourself with Bruce Cockburn’s music if you don’t already know it. I just bake bread which fills my tummy, but Bruce writes music that heals the soul. His lyrics contain some of the most breathtaking poetry I have ever heard. And here’s the thing. Your bread will taste better if you listen to him. I’m serious.
I’m pretty sure you still think I’m joking. But I can’t hear your doubts because I’m listening to Wondering Where the Lions Are. See… his music is magic.
Cranberry Flaxseed Boule
- 1 scant tablespoon (or one ¼-ounce package) active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ¼ cup warm water about 110 degrees
- 1½ cup warm water about 110 degrees
- 1 tablespoon salt
- ½ cup flaxseeds
- 1½ cup fresh cranberries cut in half
- 1 cup rum
- ½ cup raw cane sugar
- 4½-5 cups unbleached flour
- cornmeal or semolina flour
Note: this recipe uses a bread cloche.
Cut fresh cranberries in half. Bring rum to a boil (I put mine in a Pyrex measuring cup in the microwave for 2 minutes). Soak cranberries in the boiling rum for at least 30 minutes.
Strain the cranberries and mix them together with the cane sugar.
In a small bowl, stir yeast and sugar into ¼ cup water to soften.
Combine 4½ cups of flour, salt, and flaxseed in a large bowl.
Add the yeast mixture and the rest of the water. Add the sugared cranberries. Mix well adding more flour or water as necessary.
Turn dough out onto a floured work surface. Knead until you have a smooth, elastic dough. My mom's recipes always say that. Technically, with a ½ cup of flaxseed and a cup and a half of cranberries, your dough won't be very elastic. Best guide: you're ready when the dough can keep a nice round appearance when shaped into a boule.
Dust the dough with flour and place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about one hour.
Remove from the bowl, and knead it a few times. Let the dough rest on the counter for about 5 minutes and then shape into a ball.
Place the dough in a well-floured proofing basket, cover with a tightly woven towel and let rise until almost doubled, about 45 minutes.
About 30 minutes before baking, place the cloche base in the oven and preheat to 450 degrees.
When ready to bake, take the cloche base out of the oven and put it on the stove. Sprinkle the cloche base with corn meal or semolina flour. Gently turn the dough onto the cloche base and score the top of the loaf in fancy patterns with a sharp knife.
Place the cloche base with dough into the oven. Cover with the cloche lid. Bake for 15 minutes and then turn the temperature down to 400 degrees. Bake for 15 more minutes and then take the cloche lid off. Bake for another 10-15 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.
The internal temperature of the loaf should be about 190 degrees. Immediately remove bread from the cloche base and cool on a rack.