Country Style Hearth Loaf With Cranberries, Sherry and Walnuts

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“This is a whole grain loaf adapted from a Bread Alone recipe by Daniel Leader. I bake this weekly for our Farmers Market and always sell out. It is a nutritious loaf without fats or sugars, just the real taste of whole grains, fruits and nuts. These loaves are best baked on a baking stone, but a baking sheet will work.”
1hr 40mins
2 loaves

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Combine water and yeast with flour in a medium bowl and stir to mix well. Beat by hand until the consistency of a thick batter and continue stirring until you see strands of gluten come off the spoon. (about 100 strokes or so) Scrape down the sides of the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let ferment for 2 to 10 hours until it is bubbly and has increased in volume.
  2. Prepare the cranberries by pouring sherry over them and allowing to soak 8 hours or overnight. The sherry should be almost completely absorbed.
  3. Prepare the walnuts by coarsely chopping.
  4. Mix and knead the final dough. Scrape sponge into a large bowl. Add the yeast and stir well to break up the sponge. Stir in the whole wheat flour and continue stirring until smooth. Stir in enough 20% bran wheat flour and the sea salt to make a thick mass that is difficult to stir. Turn out onto a well-floured surface. It will be sticky and difficult to knead at first. Knead, adding more flour as necessary for about 10 minutes, or until it begins to smooth into cohesive dough. Gradually add the walnuts as you continue kneading. Then knead in the cranberries. The moist cranberries will change the moisture of the dough and you may need to knead in more flour. Continue kneading another few minutes until the dough is smooth. The dough is ready when it springs back after you have poked it with your finger.
  5. Shape the dough into a ball, lightly oil the mixing bowl, and put the dough in the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let ferment for 2 to 3 hours, until doubled in volume. The dough has risen enough when a finger poked 1/2 inch into the dough leaves an indentation.
  6. Turn the dough onto lightly floured surface, deflate slightly and let rest for 30 minutes.
  7. Then divide the dough in two and shape into a tight ball for round loaves.
  8. Line bowls or baskets with floured towels and place the loaves smooth side down in each bowl. Dust top and sides with flour and cover with plastic wrap to rise in volume about 1 1/2 times.
  9. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place skillet on bottom wrack to hold water to make steam. Gently flip the loaves onto a peel or onto baking sheet, slash tops with shallow cuts 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep along the surface.
  10. Add 1/2 cup water to skillet. Slide loaves into oven and bake at 450 for 20 minutes, reduce heat to 400 and bake an additional 20 minutes.

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