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Monday, December 21, 2015

Alpha Bakers: Cranberry Christmas Bread

This bread rocks.

That is how hubby and I feel when we took our first bites. We couldn't even wait for the 2 hour cooling period as instructed by the recipe. We waited an hour, then he got hungry and I grew impatient. Together, we ate 1/3 of the bread.

With bread, I make full recipes. If it's vegan, which this is, I know it will be eaten in no time. I made a few modifications though. I omitted the oil and I used less cranberries. Hubby prefers raisins than cranberries - he finds cranberries sour so I used 80 grams. I was planning on using sugar since I don't want to buy barley malt syrup only to use a bit of it and then accidentally forgot to add sugar. Oh well, can't really tell from the way it turned out whether sugar would have made a difference.

This bread is easy to put together. I was a bit apprehensive about it because usually breads that has nuts, ground nuts, and some berries filling turned out too dense to my liking. But I was surprised to see how fluffy and big it is. And I love the use of hot water to plump up the cranberries and using the cranberry-soaked water (even though the water looked disturbing in its pink form).

Step by step photos:

Place roasted walnuts in the food processor with the whole wheat flour.

Pulse until blended. Then add the bread flour, yeast, and salt.

Plumpy cranberries. They look so pretty.

Biga! This has been in the fridge for 3 days.

Biga swimming in cranberry water. This looks pretty disturbing to me, having watched many many vampire shows :).

You know you have gluten when this happens.

After adding walnuts.

I love it when the bowl is so clean.

Placed the bread onto a floured counter.

Roll to 14 inches by 10 inches.

Rose's instruction says to place the cranberries evenly. Err... I got a little carried away with the word evenly. Think it's even enough? :)

Roll it up.

It looks like a giant bean of bread dough.

That grows into a crazy giant bean after the first rise.

Roll into a rectangle.

Back into the bowl for the second rise.

I love how round and big it gets after the second rise.

Roll again into a rectangle -this is a better-looking rectangle than the previous attempt.

Fold the top two corners down. 

Torpedo shaped loaf. Ready for final rise. 

After 45 minutes rise.

Slashed and baked.

Alpha Bakers is a group of bakers who are baking through The Baking Bible, Rose Levy Beranbaum's latest cookbook. Come check out the rest of the group at Rose's Alpha Bakers.

Click here for a full listing of all the recipes we are baking.


  1. Looks delicious! I have to play catch up some time soon!

  2. What a beautiful loaf of bread! Love how evenly spaced out the cranberries are and bet it really was worth it when sliced. Great pics, too.

  3. The malt does provide a subtle flavor, though not essential. If you didn't want to buy the syrup you could buy tiny amount of malted barley at a beer supply store (where it's usually sold in bulk and dirt cheap) and grind it in coffee mill. Or even use a tablespoon of malt milk powder or grape nuts.

  4. Your pictures are so lovely. I particularly like the first one as well as the one where you've just rolled up the dough - it just looks like it's bursting with life.


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