Tucked in between the corners of this weekend, which included a joyful and tearful run-in with Tevye and Co. in the searing and sweet Broadway revival of Fiddler on the Roof, teatime with kids and LEGOs, and a few hours of Sunday overtime, were a few little Christmas activities. Most notably, the baking of Rose's Cranberry Walnut Christmas Bread. This bread sounded so festive that I was imagining something of a quick bread with sharp pops of fresh cranberry and chunks of ginger, maybe even white chocolate. When I realized that I was looking at a simple yeast bread, I had to reboot and revise a bit, using all AP flour instead of the WW flour called for, and adding raisins instead of the dried cranberries I had not bought.
Everything else went smoothly, though. I appreciate the step of incorporating the fruit soaking liquid (to which I added a shot of Campari to acidify those sweet raisins) into the dough--bread dough is always my catchall for whatever bits of liquid (sour milk, ginger beer, beer, mushroom broth) are lying around waiting for a purpose, and this recipe has that tendency built in.
Rose recommends a 3-day preferment to enhance the flavor. I didn't have time for that, nor did I throw in a little sourdough, which would in retrospect have been a good idea, but I did give the dough a second rise in the refrigerator overnight, which helped some with development. The final loaf had a nice crust and crumb, and good spring. It wasn't my favorite bread ever (breads with lots of nuts in always taste a little peanut-buttery to me), but it made for a sturdy lunch with some good butter on.