Cranberry-Almond Cinnamon Bread

Every once in a while I make a Raisin-Walnut Cinnamon Bread, from "The Bread Baker's Apprentice", cinnamon swirl included. It's quite nice, even when I start doing things to it, it's very tolerant of my random ideas. The changes haven't been that big so far, and usually just one at a time: A few times I've used about half whole wheat flour, and recently I wound up with some Oat Flour, which I was very excited about and promptly substituted for a third of the flour in the recipe (Apparently you can substitute oat flour for about a third of the flour in a recipe before it starts changing how the dough acts, as oat flour is gluten free, or has very little. I haven't worked up the courage to try to make gluten-free breads yet, so at some point I may go above a third, but it might be a while.).
In addition to oat flour this time, a friendly apartment-mate found some white whole wheat flour (apparently this is made from white wheat, as opposed to the red wheat that is usually used), and so some of that went into the mix too. From what I know, we should not taste much of a difference between this and the usual loaf, so we shall see.
I'd been wanting to try a cranberry-almond combination for a while as well, and thus those went in instead of raisins and walnuts. And just for fun, I used some of my wild yeast starter instead of commercial yeast.

I'm not sure I'll be able to tell what makes this loaf different, since I changed a number of things at once (bad scientist! Bad!) - the first time I tried oat flour, it was generally seen as an improvement on the previous loaves without it (though to be fair, cinnamon, raisins and walnuts are a good combination to start with. And all good in oatmeal...), but with everything else, who knows? I'm also baking the loaves one at a time, though in the end they both got refrigerated overnight, I am guessing I won't bake the second one until tonight or tomorrow, which might give the wild yeast more time to add something to the second loaf.
The loaf took a lot longer to rise than usual, for which I imagine there could be a number of reasons: my starter wanted refreshing, which might have made it a bit sluggish to start off for all I know, and our apartment is set to 63°F, which is a little below the ideal. Of course, refrigerating the dough overnight meant it needed a few hours to warm back up, after that it rose quite nicely. Also, cinnamon and salt both slow down yeast, so I might just have needed to put in a larger piece of starter to make things go quicker. I wasn't in a hurry, in total from starting to mix the dough to putting it in the oven took about 23 hours. Most of that time was just refrigerating and waiting for the dough to rise, I actually about a half hour or so mixing, kneading, shaping. Then I walked away to sleep while the yeast did the rest of the work for me. So that really isn't all too bad.
The first loaf is out of the oven now, and two-thirds gone; I buttered the top while it was still hot and covered that in cinnamon and sugar, though I have a request to leave part of the next loaf uncovered - apparently the cinnamon-sugar distracts from the bread itself.

I think the yeast ate the swirl...

I'm not sure the cinnamon really came out in this loaf (which may be part of why the cinnamon-sugar on top did not go over as well), but the sourdough did. The sliced almonds added a nice crunch, the cranberries went well with the sourdough, I thought. Perhaps for the next loaf, I shall replace the cinnamon swirl with peach jam. It seems like that sort of day.
And tomorrow we shall have french toast.
Update: The peach jam swirl worked out very nicely, I think I may prefer it in this combination to the cinnamon. The yellow-orange of the peach added a nice bit of extra colour, too.

So here is the recipe:

1 cup oat flour
1 cup white whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 cups bread flour
4 tsp sugar
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp cinnamon

1 cup sourdough starter

1 large egg
2 tbsp butter, melted
1/2 cup milk, at room temperature
3/4 cup water, at room temperature

1 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup sliced almonds

Mix together the dry ingredients, then add the wet ones and the sourdough starter. Mix them all until they come together in a ball, add a bit more water if it seems too dry, a bit more flour if it seems too wet, then switch to kneading on a table or counter.
Knead until the dough for about 10 minutes, and then add the cranberries and almonds. Knead again gently, trying not to crush the almonds too much, until they are spread throughout the dough nicely, then form the dough into a ball and put it in a lightly oiled bowl. Roll it around once to cover the dough with oil, then cover the bowl and wait until the dough roughly doubles in size.
When that happens, take out the dough, divide it in half and roll out the halves in a rectangle (one side should be about the length of your loaf pan), sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar (if you like), then roll it up and put it in the lightly oiled bread pan, spraying the tops of the dough lightly with some oil. Cover this and wait until it rises above the rim of your loaf pan (or the dough is doubled in size), then bake at 350°F for about 40 minutes, checking and rotating the pan after 20.
When it sounds hollow when you tap it, the bread is done - take it out of the oven, the pan and cool it on a rack until it's no longer too hot to eat. If you want, brush some melted butter over the top of the loaf and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.

This also makes very nice french toast, should there be leftovers. The bread dries out fairly quickly, so it should be wrapped up in some way to help it last longer. Or eat it before it becomes an issue.


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