A toasted slice of this cranberry pecan boule was one of my favorite things to eat for breakfast in the early days of my pregnancy. It has a light heartiness and a wonderful sweetness from the cranberries and pecans. I used to make two to three loaves a week and would enjoy them toasted and loaded with creamy butter and fresh raspberry preserves. In this recipe I use a poolish starter which imparts additional flavor as well as helps the bread have a longer shelf life. If you don’t want to do the extra step then you can just add the flour and the water that you would use in the poolish to the main dough recipe and up the yeast to two teaspoons.
- 4.4 oz Unbleached Bread Flour (3/4 cup)
- 4.4 oz Water (70-78 degrees) (1/2 cup)
- ¼ tsp Instant yeast
Mix all the ingredients for the poolish into a large mixing bowl. The mixture will resemble a thick brownie batter. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it stand at room temperature until it inflates into a bubbly, soft, sweet-smelling sponge, 8-10 hours.
- All of Poolish starter
- 8.1 oz Water (just over a cup)
- 1 tsp Instant yeast
- 10 oz Unbleached bread flour (approx. 2 ¼ cups)
- 3.6 oz Stone ground wheat flour (approx. ¾-7/8 cup)
- 2 tsp Salt
- ½ cup Dried cranberries
- ½ cup Toasted pecans coarsely chopped
- Add the water to the poolish and stir it around to loosen it up. Then add the yeast, flours, and salt. Stir until a rough dough forms. Lightly dust your counter with flour and turn the dough out onto the counter and begin kneading until a smooth and elastic dough forms, 10-12 minutes.
- Add the cranberries and pecans in and work them into the dough until they are evenly distributed throughout.
- Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise for 60-90 minutes or until it has almost doubled in bulk.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and shape the dough into a tight round ball.
- Place the dough ball seam side up into a well floured dough rising basket or a bowl/colander lined with a floured linen cloth. Dust the exposed bottom of the loaf with flour and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise at room temperature for 60-90 minutes or until it has almost doubled in bulk. If you were to press it with your finger the indentation would spring back slowly. (For added flavor and shelf-life immediately after shaping place the shaped loaf into the refrigerator to slowly rise overnight or for up to 18 hours. Make sure that the loaf is not exposed to air because it will cause the loaf to dry out.)
- Prepare the oven for baking an hour before you are ready to bake. Place a baking stone in the middle of your oven with a cast-iron skillet at the bottom of your oven. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. (If you retarded your loaf in the refrigerator make sure to take out the loaf 2 hours before you plan to bake)
- Turn the dough out onto a baking peel or inverted baking sheet lined with parchment. Score the top of the loaf and quickly place the loaf onto the hot baking stone. Add a ½ cup of water to the cast-iron skillet and quickly close the door. Bake for 5 minutes and then lower the oven temperature to 450 degrees, and continue to bake for 20-25 minutes or until the loaf is a deep brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
- Allow the loaf to cool completely before slicing.