Today, Alex and I became nostalgic for the Sundays when we used to sit around all day, just doing homework and baking bread.
See, we’ve been having a lot of Sundays of sitting around, just doing and homework and NOT baking bread, and they just don’t compare.
Because of the work dilemma, we opted for a recipe straight from Epicurious, our old and faithful source for all things delicious. This recipe received amazing user reviews, and it’s clear why. It’s beautiful, straightforward, seasonal and delicious. I’ve cut myself off for tonight, but I’m already thinking about the slice that I’ll toast for breakfast tomorrow morning.
I’m re-posting the recipe below for your convenience (and ours, as we’ll probably make this again and again).
3 cups (or more) bread flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 envelopes quick-rising dry yeast
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 tbsp orange extract
1/3 cup (about) hot water (120°F to 130°F)
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 large egg, beaten to blend (for glaze)
Combine flour, sugar, yeast and salt in large bowl. Add buttermilk, 2 eggs, melted butter and orange extract and stir until well blended. Gradually stir in hot water until dough is soft and slightly sticky. Knead dough until smooth, about 7 minutes. Knead in dried cranberries 1/3 cup at a time, then knead in walnuts, form into a ball, and place ball in an oiled bow. Cover dough with plastic wrap and then a towel, and let rise until doubled in size, about an hour and a half.
Lightly oil heavy large baking sheet. Punch down dough, and divide into 4 equal pieces. Then divide 1 dough piece into 3 equal pieces and reserve. Roll out each of remaining 3 large pieces into 13-inch-long ropes and braid them together, tucking ends under and pincing together. Transfer braid to prepared baking sheet. Roll out each of reserved 3 small dough pieces to 10-inch-long ropes and braid them together. Brush large braid with some of egg glaze, and top with small braid atop center of large braid. Brush small braid with some of egg glaze. Let rise uncovered in warm area until almost doubled, about an hour and fifteen minutes.
Preheat oven to 325°F. Brush loaf again with egg glaze, and bake until loaf is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on bottom, about 45 minutes.Cool at least 45 minutes before slicing, and serve!