Well . . . hello there! How on earth have you been? Anything new with you? I just put my sick baby girl to bed with her vaporizer and thought I'd check in with everybody.
It IS still technically Friday, so I'm going to giddy up and give you guys a FABULOUS recipe. Seriously, this bread is amazing. I got it from Sugarcrafter and if you guys haven't checked out her site, she's a wonderful food blogger and photographer. I've gotten some really good stuff from her and guess what? You can too - go give her a visit and tell her I said hi. Never mind she doesn't know who I am.
So . . . are you ready to make another yeast bread? OH COME ON. It's not that hard! You can do it - I'll babysit you all the way through.
You know, someday, I'm going to have a clinic at my house. I'll invite anyone who wants to learn how to make yeast bread to come over for some hands-on experience. It would be exactly like when the Pioneer Woman invites people to her ranch for cooking weekends. Only I don't have a ranch. Or a guest lodge. And you'd have to sleep on a sleeper sofa in the Lego room. Which I may or may not vacuum for you. Also, there are no cowboys wearing chaps at my house. I guess Duane could wear some . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . huh? Whaaaa . . . what? Wait, what were we talking about? I think my brain just froze. (Note to self: get Duane chaps for Christmas.)
Um, why don't we just go ahead and make this recipe.
Here's what you need:
4-1/2 c. bread flour
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. ground ginger
1/8 t. ground cloves
1/8 t. ground nutmeg
1/3 c. sugar
1-1/2 t. salt
1 T. instant yeast
1/2 stick butter, melted
1 - 15 oz. can pumpkin (not pie filling)
1/3 c. dried cranberries
See the small, brown rock on top of the can of pumpkin? Well, check this out -
Whole nutmeg. Have you ever ground your own spices? I have to confess, I hadn't until my mom got me using whole nutmeg. It's much stronger and more fragrant so I don't use as much as the recipe calls for.
Here's how you use it -
Grate it with your Microplane. It's coarser than the stuff you buy already ground. And it smells so good when you're grating it! Yum.
Put all the dry ingredients - flour, spices, sugar, salt and yeast - in a big bowl. I like to use my mixer because then it can do the work of kneading the dough. Briefly whisk the ingredients together.
In a separate bowl, mix all the wet ingredients together - eggs, butter and pumpkin.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry in the mixer bowl and begin mixing.
When everything is well-combined, knead for 2 minutes, let it rest for 15 minutes then knead again for another 5 minutes. Knead in the cranberries.
Remove the dough and lightly grease the mixer bowl. Cover it and let it rise until doubled - about an hour.
After the hour of rising, turn the dough out and divide it in half.
Divide each of those halves into three pieces.
Roll each piece into a rope around 15 inches long.
Pinch the ends together,
Spread out the ropes,
And begin braiding. Make a loose braid, with spaces in between the ropes. As the loaf rises, those spaces will fill in. If you get the braid too tight, it will rise without any problem, but you'll have really dense areas of dough. Those dense areas may not bake as evenly as the rest of the loaf and you'll have places of gooey dough.
Personally, I find that rather gross. But that's just me. If you want to make tight dough braids at our bread clinic, feel free. I won't be paying attention anyway. I'll be ogling the guy in the chaps . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . huh? What? QUIT DISTRACTING ME.
OK, you've finished braiding the dough but see how the ends look all wonky? (I love that word. Thank you, Molly, for teaching me the word "wonky". It's appropriate in so many situations.)
Fold them under and -
Voila! Beautiful braids. See how small they are? Both braids can fit on one cookie sheet. They're about 12 inches long.
Cover them and let them rise for another hour. They'll be puffy, in fact, I had to pinch the ends of my loaves back together again as they were starting to come apart.
Bake 20-25 minutes at 375F.
It will smell like Thanksgiving in your house while they're baking!
This bread is moist, light and chewy and not overly sweet with fantastic flavor! I found I didn't want anything on it, not even butter.
I'm going to make this for Thanksgiving morning, when we're all sitting around in our pajamas watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade! We'll be keeping an eye out for my niece who, along with the other members of the Blue Springs High School marching band, is in the parade.
I know you'll love this bread - it really is outstanding! Now, I've got to go shopping. At a western store. Some place that carries chaps.