I struggled with what to call this bread, not the cranberry pumpkin seed part, that is obvious. I wanted to call it a sourdough, because it has that texture and tang. Unfortunately it has 1/2 tsp of yeast and sugar so in my mind ( I could be wrong, it’s happened before) it’s not a true sourdough. When I make a true sourdough I use a starter and no yeast at all, so artisanal bread it is. No machines here, all the steps are done with your hands. Its actually a quite simple bread other than the long resting time, and a great place to start if you aren’t ready to make your own starter. Maybe that will be a post another day. Alright enough talk, time to make this delicious bread. It’s perfect with soups, chilli, and sandwiches. Grown up grilled cheese on this bread, yes please.
To start, get all your ingredients organized. There really aren’t that many components to this bread which is hard to believe because it feels so fancy. Just a small amount of yeast, sugar, and sherry vinegar. Flour with the salt added, and incorporated together. Pumpkin seeds and cranberries, lets get this party started.
In a large bowl add the warm water then sprinkle the yeast and sugar on top. Wait about 5 minutes.
Now add in the remaining ingredients except for the pumpkin seed and cranberries. Using a spatula gentle fold the flour into the yeast mixture until its completely hydrated. It will just be coming together with most of the flour incorporated.
Add the dried cranberries and pumpkins seeds. Using your hands gently work the dough to evenly incorporate the dried cranberries and seeds. Don’t be rough with the dough, it doesn’t like that. Plus it can make the dried cranberries bleed and your bread will be pink, although on Valentine’s Day that might make sense.
Well oil a large stainless steel, or glass bowl. Pick up the dough and shape into a ball and place in the oiled bowl. Make sure to flip the dough over to evenly coat so it won’t be sticky.
Cover with plastic wrap and put somewhere to rest, not somewhere hot or cold, in the pantry or on the counter (if you have a safe spot where your dog or 2 year old won’t attempt to eat it).
That is it, call it a day, your job here is done. Its going to rest a minimum of 16 hours, but I like to wait 24 since I live in a cold climate. This dough needs to rest, maybe you deserve a little rest too. Here, I will help you sleep with this ramble. The dough is going to rest this long because here is where it gets the sourdough quality, also the reason such a small amount of yeast is used. The fermentation process, and people said my Bachelor of Science degree was a waste (stay at home parents are sometimes gifted with those uplifting comments 🙂 ). This is where the flavour comes from, the production of naturally occurring yeasts and Lactic acid bacteria. If you really want to go down a rabbit hole one day about sourdough and starters, check out how different resting temperatures can change the pH and taste of the bread. How different strains of bacteria flourish under different temperatures, its actually really incredible. Either that or I am a giant dork, I am ok with either option here. I am sure by now you are either snoring, or turned off the bread as I talk about bacteria. But if you are still with me, I am sure it’s been 24 hours by now, lets get on with it.
You will instantly be able to see that the dough is ready, it will have bubbles covering the top. Not just little bubbles, but big glorious-this bread will be delicious-bubbles. If it isn’t bubbling, it isn’t ready, leave a little longer. I’ve never had to go over 24 hours, and I am in an arid cold climate, so it would be surprising if after a full 24 hours it wasn’t ready.
Well flour your counter top and pour the dough out on top. It will be very sticky, and loose (I hate this whole sentence but can’t figure out a better way to explain it). Sprinkle a little more flour over the top of the dough. Now knead, fold, and turn the dough, do this 5 to 6 times to get some tension and structure back into the dough. If it gets sticky between kneads sprinkle little bits of flour, do this sparingly as you don’t want to dry out your bread.
Now shape the dough into a round, you will most likely end up with a bit of a seem on one side. Place the dough seem side down into a well oiled bowl, I like to place a few pumpkin seeds on the bottom of the bowl as a topper for when the bread is flipped over. Moment of honesty here, I would normally use a lot more to sprinkle on the bottom of the bowl but I ran out of pumpkin seeds and I couldn’t leave now to get more. This is usually where I miss being on the baking show, and my calls for more pumpkin seeds goes unheard.
Cover the bowl with a tea towel and let the shaping rise happen. It will take about 2 hours to double in size and be ready for the oven. During the last thirty minutes of the rise I heat the oven to 425 and put a dutch oven inside.
Another moment of truth, I don’t own a real dutch oven I am using an oven safe pot. This in theory is a dutch oven, but its not ceramic or pretty like those lovely Le Creuset ones. If you have a real dutch oven, wow am I ever jealous. If you have one of the fancy ones, you are living the dream.
Once the two hours has passed and the pot is scorching hot ( NOTE: remember this, it’s important when you take the lid off later that you remember this….trust me) it’s time to bake this baby.
Gently remove the bread from the bowl by flipping it over on your hand, be gentle we just want to turn the bread over not knock out all the bubbles we’ve created. Now carefully, very carefully, like the pot is lava carefully, lower the bread into the pot. Good? Ok we are all fine, now put the lid on (see almost got you, OVEN MITTS!) and place the pot (I’m sorry dutch oven) into the oven.
Its going to bake at 425 for about 25-27 minutes, depending on if your oven is hot. After that remove the lid (OVEN MITTS, this was the one that got me) and return to the oven for about 8 – 10 minutes to get golden brown. Hopefully if you listen carefully you will hear your bread snapping and crackling like a fire, consider that the song of a well baked round of bread.
That’s it, remove from the dutch oven and place on a wire rack to cool. But don’t wait too long, my favourite way to eat this is warm from the oven slathered in butter.
Cranberry Pumpkin Seed Artisanal Bread
1 1/2 cups warm water
1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
1/2 tsp. granulated sugar
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. sherry vinegar
1/2 cup + 2 tbsps. pumpkin seeds (reserved for the top of the bread)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
- Using a little oil grease a large metal or glass bowl and set aside.
- In a small bowl mix the flour and salt then set to the side.
- In a large bowl pour in the warm water, then sprinkle the yeast and sugar onto the surface. Wait about 5 minutes
- Once the yeast has just started to wake up, add in all the remaining ingredients, except for the pumpkin seeds and cranberries.
- Stir gently with a spatula until all the flour has been hydrated, and the ingredients are almost incorporated. The dough should just be starting to come together.
- Add the dried cranberries and the pumpkin seeds, reserving the 2 tablespoons for on top of the bread. Gently fold them into the dough. Don’t be too aggressive or the cranberries will bleed.
- Once seeds and cranberries are evenly mixed in, loosely shape the dough into a ball. Place the dough in the prepared bowl, turning to coat.
- Cover with plastic wrap and store at room temperature for 16-24 hours. I usually am close to 24 hours, always in the winter, but I live in a cold arid climate.
- Once you see bubbles dotting the surface of your bread its ready, if there aren’t many bubbles wait a little while longer.
- Generously flour the countertop and turn the dough out on top. Knead and fold the dough, with a revolution between each knead.
- Do this 5 to 6 times, adding flour if necessary, until you can feel the tension come back into the dough. You will be able to feel the structure back in the dough compared to how it was before kneading.
- Generously oil a large bowl and and sprinkle the 2 tablespoons of pumpkin seeds into the bottom, or don’t that is fine too.
- Gently shape the dough into a round, place into the oiled bowl seem side down.
- Cover the bowl with a tea towel and let the dough rise for 2 hours.
- When 30 minutes is left in the rise preheat the oven to 425 and place the dutch oven inside to get it scorching hot.
- When the rise is done carefully turn the dough over into the hot pot. I gently turn the dough over on to my hand and gently lower into the pot so the side with the pumpkin seeds is facing up.
- Put the lid on the dutch oven, remembering it’s hot, and return to the oven to bake for 25-27 minutes. This depends on your oven but if the loaf sounds somewhat hollow when you knock on it you are pretty much there.
- Remove the lid from the dutch oven then return it to the oven to bake about 8-10 minutes until its golden in colour and completely baked. It will sound very hollow when you knock on it.
- Also if your bread is talking to you like mine is pretend that it is just telling you “I am done and I am delicious.”
- Remove from the oven and place the loaf onto a wire cooling rack. Enjoy.