3 cups unbleached flour
3 tbsp granulated sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 packet (7 grm) dry yeast
1 1/2 tbsp orange or lemon extract
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup of milk, at room temperature (I used 1% fat)
1/4 ~1/2 cup water
1 1/2 cups dried sweetened cranberries
3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (I replace this with raisins)
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 egg, whisked until frothy, for egg wash
1. Heat 1/4 cup water to 105°F~115°F (Do not exceed 115° or the yeast will die). Sprinkle active dry yeast on the surface of warm water in a large mixing bowl. Let it stand until the yeast is dissolved, about 5 minutes. You will see a froth form on the top it, and you can also smell the yeast.
2. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, sugar, salt.
3. Gradually stir (or mix on low speed with the paddle attachment) flour mixture into the yeast bowl. Add the orange extract, eggs, milk, and butter. Adding the remaining water, if needed, to make a soft, pliable ball of dough.
4. Sprinkle flour on the counter and transfer the dough to the counter. Knead (or mix on medium speed with the dough hook) for about 5 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and only slightly tacky, but not sticky. It should have a soft, pliable quality, not stiff and resistant. If it is too stiff, knead (or mix) in small amount of water until it softens; if the dough seems too sticky, sprinkle in small amounts of flour as needed.
5. Add the dried cranberries or raisins and knead (or mix) for another 2 minutes, or until they are evenly distributed. Then gently knead (or mix) in the walnut pieces until they are evenly distributed. Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
6. Ferment at room temperature for about 2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size. Punch down the dough for degas, fold the edges of dough to the center.
7. Transfer the dough to the counter and divide it into 6 equal pieces for 2 loaves. Roll out each pieces into strands about 9 inches long, thicker in the middle and slightly tapered toward the ends. Place 3 strands side by side and braid as you would hair. Pinch together the tips at both ends to seal the finish loaf. Place braid on a sheet pan lined baking parchment or greased. Continuing with remaining 3 strands.
8. Proof at room temperature for about 90 minutes, or until the dough nearly doubles in size. Brush the loaf a second time with the remaining egg wash. Preheat the oven to 325°F with the oven rack on the middle shelf.
9. Bake for approximately 40-45 minutes or until the loaf is deep golden brown, feel very firm, and sounds hollow when thumped on the bottom. The internal temperature at the center of the loaf should register between 185~190°F.
10. Remove the bread from the pan and transfer it to a cooling rack. Allow the bread to cool for at least 1 hour before slicing or serving.
Thanks to www.mykitchensnippets.blogspot.com this is a wonderful recipes! Everyone of my family loves it even though its over bake a bit cos I went out to get something with my hubby and lift it to my maid. Hahaha! But though everybody said its a very good texture.
I don have cranberry at home so I'm using my left over mix fruit and orange peel. I didn't add nuts in it cos I don't like nuts in my bread, cakes or chocolate. I like nuts on its own.