Rustic Harvest Bread

Rustic Harvest Bread

Rustic Harvest Bread

It is definitely soup and bread weather in my part of the world these days. Today’s high was 16 degrees and we just received 7 inches of snow. What better excuse is there to stay indoors and bake some yummy bread.

My friend, Lynda, shared this recipe with me over a year ago and I just got around to making it. I don’t know why in the world I waited so long. This is the best bread I’ve ever made!! It is chock full of fruit and nuts with a fabulous texture. It makes fabulous turkey sandwiches as well as sliced warm out of the oven with butter slathered on.

This bread takes time but no effort as it doesn’t need to be kneaded. I just broke my arm and will be able to make this again with one arm immobilized! This bread is well worth the patience it takes to make it.

3 1/4 C. bread flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
1 C. whole wheat flour
2 t. salt
1/2 t. instant yeast
1 3/4 C. cool water
1 1/2 C. dried fruit (I used craisins, cherries, & raisins)
1 1/2 C. coarsely broken walnuts

1. Mix the flours, salt, yeast, and water in a large bowl. Stir, then use your hands to mix and form into a sticky ball.
2. Work the dough just enough to work in all the flour, then work in all the fruit and nuts.
3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature overnight, or for at least 8 hours. The dough should double in size.
4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a log or round loaf to fit a 14 – 15″ round, deep, lidded casserole or 9 X 12″ oval deep dish with cover. (I used my mother-in-law’s old heavy aluminum roaster with lid). Enamel covered iron cookware would work well, too.
5. Place the dough in the lightly greased pan, smooth side up.
6. Cover with lid and let rise at room temperature for about two hours. It should rise noticeably but not a lot.
7. Place the bread in the covered casserole in the COLD oven and set the oven temperature to 450 degrees. Don’t open during cooking.
8. Bake the bread for 45-50 minutes, then remove the lid and continue to bake for 5 to 15 minutes, until it’s deep brown in color and an instant read thermometer inserted in the center reads 205 degrees.
9. Remove the bread from oven and turn out on a rack to cool before slicing.

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