Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Stuffing Bread with Dried Cranberries

The perfect bread for turkey sandwiches or to use for stuffing, this tender flavorful loaf also slices up beautifully for Thanksgiving breakfast toast that hints of the delicious dinner to come later.

If you’ve been reading along here for a while, you know that I like to bake bread. I love the smell of the yeast as it comes back to life in a little warm water. I love the heft of an enriched dough as I knead it and the springy bounce as I spin it in the oiled bowl of my mixer in preparation for the first rise. But the very best part of baking bread is the way the whole house smells as the bread bakes. When my girls were still living at home, nothing brought them out of their rooms and downstairs faster than the aroma of bread in the oven. Well, and the eating, of course!

But I understand that not everyone feels they have time to bake bread. So it is my great pleasure to introduce you to a book that solves the “no time to bake” problem. Make Ahead Bread divides the process into manageable parts, allowing you to make the dough ahead of time and leave it in the refrigerator overnight or even for a day or two, depending on the recipe, until you are ready to bake and enjoy.

Make Ahead Bread was written by the witty and knowledgeable Donna Currie of Cookistry, a blog you might already be familiar with. If you aren’t, do go over and say howdy. Donna never fails to crack me up with her quips and I often had to watch that I didn’t have a mouthful of coffee in the morning when she shared the antics of her husband, Bob, because he could make me snort coffee out of my nose. Sadly, Bob passed away suddenly just a few weeks ago. In typical food blogger fashion, a group of us decided we’d honor his memory by helping Donna promote her bread book, a project he deeply supported, as he did all of Donna’s endeavors, hopefully sending a few customers her way through the power of social media.

I’m not just recommending this book to be nice though. I really love it! I am quite the cookbook junkie but I’d like to tell you that this was THE ONLY cookbook I asked for for my birthday this year! Yep, it’s that special. I was so delighted when my mom arrived in Dubai with Make Ahead Bread that I couldn’t help but share a photo of me and it on Facebook.

I haven’t shared recipes from it before now but I have special permission from Donna to share this one and I hope you enjoy it as much as we did! You can get your own copy of Make Ahead Bread at better bookstores as well as on*

This recipe is from Make Ahead Bread – 100 Recipes for Melt-in-Your-Mouth Fresh Bread Every Day © Donna Currie. Used by permission. (I’ve added the metric adaptations.)

1 cup or 240ml lukewarm water
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
2 1/2 cups (11 1/4 ounces) or 318g bread flour
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried chives
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 cup or 35g dried cranberries
Non-stick baking spray (the kind with flour in it)

Note: I had to subsitute fresh herbs so I doubled the amount since dried herbs are always stronger in flavor than fresh. Another confession, I wasn’t reading with my cheater glasses so I thought it was 1 tablespoon of both parsley and chives. I don’t think the extra chives were a bad thing though since I’m a fan.

On Prep Day
1. Combine all the ingredients and knead by hand (mix first in a large bowl, then turn out and knead) or in a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, until dough is elastic.

2. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, or place it in a large plastic bag and seal the ends. Refrigerate overnight or up to 24 hours.

Going into the refrigerator.

The next day after a long, slow rise in the cold. 
On Baking Day
1. Spray the 9x5-in or approx. 23x13cm bread pan with baking spray. (I also chose to line the pan with parchment for easy clean up, something Donna mentions in the introductory part of her book as an option.)

2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat it into a rough 8 in or 20cm square. Fold the top half to about the middle of the dough and press the edge down to secure it. Fold the top over again, this time to within about an inch or so of the bottom. Press the edge to deal. Now pull the bottom of the dough up to meet the dough roll you‘ve created and seal the seam. Pinch the ends closed and place the dough, seam side down, in the prepared pan.

3. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and set aside to rise. The dough is ready when it has risen about an inch or 2 centimeters over the top of the pan, about 1 hour in a warm room.

4. About 30 minutes before the loaf is fully risen, heat the oven to 350°F or 180°C.

5. When the dough has risen, remove the plastic. Bake until the bread is richly browned and the internal temperature of the loaf reaches 195°F or °90.5C on an instant read thermometer, about 55 minutes. Remove the bread form the pan and cool completely on a rack before slicing.


The hardest part of this whole recipe? Finding space for the dough bowl in my ridiculously overstuffed refrigerator.

Make this bread. Buy Make Ahead Bread.* You won’t be sorry!

Check out the fabulous list of breads we've baked for Donna from her book:

UPDATE: Win your own copy of Make Ahead Bread
Follow this link to enter:

*Affiliate links.

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