I am so excited today to start sharing some healthful recipes with you guys! I really am, I don’t know what it is but I think I have contradicting personalities sometimes, maybe split personality? On one hand I love LOVE butter and cream and sugar, on the other hand I am obsessed with going to the gym and trying to be healthy, eating all my berries and leafy greens. Like my friend calls it, I’m a closet fatty. I stuff my face with sweets and then I run to the gym to work off the calories.
No, really now, I truly believe in being and staying healthy because when you have your health, you can do whatever you want! You’ll have the time and the energy to play with your dogs (or kids), pick up a hobby you have long waited to do, maybe woodworking, painting, pottery, or even travel the world (or like my dear ol’ aunt and uncle, they picked up motorcycling…). But you’ll need to be alive and in good health to be able to enjoy all that. However, I don’t believe in torturing myself! If I want a piece of cake, I will eat that freaken piece of cake, but just a piece, not the whole cake! All will be well when you can exercise portion-control.
I think that’s about enough rambling for the day and I haven’t even introduced you to this orange cranberry whole wheat bread! How rude of me! She is a brown beauty, made with fresh squeezed orange juice, 100% whole wheat flour, honey and dried cranberries. And she’s, what do you call it, golden brown and delicious, oh yeah…
Okay, am I freaking you out yet? Let’s be serious for a second here, the challenge of baking bread with 100% whole wheat flour is gluten formation. It is not for the lack of protein which helps gluten formation, but for the present of bran in the flour which tears at the gluten strands and inhibits the development of the gluten network (for more gluten talk, click here). Due to this, when you bake with whole wheat, you won’t get a lot of rise, and the bread will be denser. I compensate for this by keeping the dough fairly wet, so the bread will not be dry. But this doesn’t mean it will be any less tasty. Cuz this orange cranberry whole wheat bread is pretty darn yummilicious! Eat it as toast with a bit of butter, no need for jam since the bread is already slightly sweet, or make it into biscotti and dunk it into your coffee, or even French toast! I didn’t think of that when I had the bread… Well maybe next time. Enjoy!
- 1/2 cup warm water (~110°F)
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice (about 1 orange)
- Zest of 1 orange
- 2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- Dissolves honey in the warm water and sprinkle yeast over the top. Let it sit for 5 – 10 minutes for the yeast to proof.
- Zest the orange then squeeze the juice, if there isn’t enough juice for 1/2 cup, just add a bit more water to fill it.
- Meanwhile, add the flour, salt, cranberries and orange zest into a medium mixing bowl and mix it all together.
- When the yeast mixture is expanded, add this to the flour mixture. Add orange juice to the flour mixture.
- Mix with the dough hook until dough comes together. Scrape the dough out onto a lightly flour board, and knead by hand a few times to smooth out the dough and shape into a ball.
- Place the ball of dough into a greased glass bowl, cover with plastic and leave in a warm place to rise for 1 – 2 hours, until double in size. You could place the bowl on top of a heating pad and sort of wrap it around, cover with a towel to keep the heat in.
- Turn the dough out onto a flour board again and shape into a ball, cover with lightly greased plastic. Let it raise the second time while you preheat the oven to 450°F.
- Place your bake ware into the oven to heat up as well. I use a 5 quart ceramic baking casserole with lid. Preheat both the casserole and lid. You could use a dutch oven or any oven safe pot with lid. If you don’t have anything with lid, just use a baking stone, or a baking sheet, place it upside down in the oven. Once the oven heats up to temperature, leave it for 15 – 30 minutes to make sure the temperature is saturated.
- Carefully pull out your casserole, pot, dutch oven, remove the lid, place a strip of parchment paper at the bottom with the ends hanging out so we can remove the bread later. Place the dough into the pot. Close the lid. Bake for 25 minutes.
- When done, grab the parchment paper ends and lift the bread out of the pot, onto a wire rack to cool.