Make your own homemade, autumn artisan bread with a crusty, golden outside and tender inside loaded with cranberries, walnuts, and pecans.
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1/4 teaspoon white sugar (for activing the yeast)
- 1 1/2 cups warm water (around 110°F)
- 3/4 cup dried cranberries
- 3/4 cup walnuts and pecans, roughly chopped
- Activate the yeast: Pour warm water into a small bowl. Sprinkle yeast on top. Add sugar and give the mixture a small stir. Place the bowl in a warm place for about 10-15 minutes. Be patient! If yeast is activated, you will see foam on top of the mixture, and even a few small bubbles. Also, if you take sniff, it will smell very much like yeast.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, cranberries, and nuts. Add water and yeast mixture and mix until just combined into a sticky, shaggy dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit for 12-18 hours. After the dough has risen for at least 12 but preferably 18 hours, it should look loose and very moist with plenty of bubbles on the surface.
- When the dough is ready, preheat the oven to 450˚F. Place a 6 to 8qt dutch oven or cast iron pot in the oven to heat up for 30 minutes before baking.
- Place dough on a well floured surface and, using plenty of flour on your hands, gently pat it into a ball shape. Score the top of the dough as desired.
- Place it onto a piece of parchment paper, sprinkle the top of the dough with more flour, and cover with saran wrap while you wait for your pot to heat up.
- Remove the saran wrap and place both the parchment paper and the dough into the heated pot so that the parchment lines the bottom. Place on a middle rack and cook, covered, for 30 minutes. Remove the cover and cook another 10-15 minutes, until bread is golden. Cool on a wire rack.
Unless, I check the temperature with a literal thermometer, I’ve always had to try twice to activate the yeast! So if it doesn’t activate the first time you try, no worries. Be patient and try again with another 1/2 teaspoon of yeast.