Monday, December 9, 2013

cranberry ginger pull apart bread

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This bread and so amazingly good and festive; the colors and flavor scream holiday! Which I totally need more of in my life right now. I am sad to say I have been hit with the bah humbug of the Holiday season for the first time ever...I mean ever. Typically I am the girl who at every chance she gets will sing aloud the praises of the holiday season - but not this year. I think it may be because Thanksgiving ran so late this year, I typically get a reprieve between Thanksgiving and the kick start of Christmas, which for me is the first of December. Or, it may be because I have a lot on my plate right now and the thought of lugging up all the Christmas decor just to lug it back down in three weeks puts me in a sour mood. So instead of focusing on the decorations this year I am focusing on the experience of the season- baking, cooking and creating meaningful gifts for friends and family. Maybe, just maybe (I am really hoping) that will finally put me in a jolly mood, if that fails I'll just bust out the Champagne and my all time favorite Holiday album from She & Him!


DSC03423.jpg I do have to say this bread did lift my spirits a bit; just the smells coming from the oven while baking was enough to put a big smile on my face. Growing up my Aunt Nancy would always bake cranberry bread for Thanksgiving & Christmas, this was served alongside cream cheese filled celery sticks & olives from a Jar. When I asked her for the family recipe she just laughed - come to find out it was made from a Pillsbury box mix, well she certainly fooled me; all these years I thought it was a secret family recipe. This bread is an awesome alternative to the boxed cranberry sweetbread I grew up with. It also lends a nice sweet element to the dinner tables served alongside savory dishes.

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It may look difficult to pull off but don't let the stacking or slicing intimidate you- it really is easy to put together. The bonus; the more imperfect your stacks are the more interesting your final loaf of bread will be. The only challenging part about making this bread was keeping the cranberries from rolling out from in between the layers. If you are not a fan of using whole cranberries, sub in jellied cranberry sauce and omit the coconut sugar - super easy substitution.The whole cranberries, however make a pretty presentation.

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Every single flavor element in this bread reminds me of the holidays and my family which makes me smile. 

What are your family holiday traditions that you look forward too each year?

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 Cranberry Ginger pull - apart Bread
makes 1 loaf
inspired by vegetarian ventures

you will need:
1  cup warm almond milk
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
2 tbsp chia seeds, blended or ground to a powder {or 2 tbsp ground flax} + 6 tbsp warm water
1 1/2 cups AP Flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt

 2 tbsp vegan butter
1 tsp fresh thyme (less if using dried)
1 tbsp coconut sugar
1 1/2 cups fresh Cranberries
1 1/2 tbsp Crystallized Ginger - chopped into small pieces

assembly:
before baking preheat oven to 350* 

In a medium mixing bowl add almond milk, maple syrup, yeast & chia/flax eggs. With a wooden spoon stir in 1 cup of AP flour, 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour & salt.Stir until a dough ball forms and pulls away from the side of the bowl. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and begin kneading in the remaining 1/2 cup of AP flour, about an 1/8 a cup at a time. Knead until smooth and elastic- about 7-8 minutes. Return dough ball to an oiled bowl. Cover and allow to rise in a warm area until double in size - about 45 - 60 minutes.

Flour your work area and a rolling pin. Turn dough onto the floured surface and roll out into a rectangle about  12" wide and 24" long. Spread butter evenly over the surface of the rectangle. Sprinkle the thyme, coconut sugar, cranberries & 1 tbsp of crystallized ginger evenly over the surface of the rectangle. Measuring with the loaf pan you are using, using a pizza cutter cut strips lengthwise as wide as the width of your pan (short side) - about 3 -4 strips. Cut those strips into 4" squares width wise. Layer squares on top of one another and place the stacks on their side into the buttered loaf pan (facing up- refer to photo for a visual). Once all stacks have been placed in the pan, cover and allow to rise for an additional 30-45 minutes or until doubled in size. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 table spoon of crystallized ginger over the top of the loaf. Bake in pre heated oven for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from oven- allow to cool on a wire rack for about 5 - 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the bread. Flip bread onto cutting board or serving plate. Serve warm with additional vegan butter, vegan cheese or straight up.

Enjoy!

Yum

14 comments:

  1. Your photos are amazing. This bread is really gorgeous!

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  2. Wow, that is beautiful!! I totally know what you mean about the proximity between Thanksgiving & Christmas being too close this year. As soon as Thanksgiving was over, I felt overwhelmed that I was way behind. Then I looked through my pictures from last year and noticed that I didn't buy a tree until December 9th... which is today. So I guess I'm not that far behind after all! I've only purchased one gift so far. I just don't feel ready for it yet. Although, I have already watched several Christmas movies. So we're good there!

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  3. Ooh, such a beautiful bread! I think this would make an amazing Christmas morning breakfast. Coffee and cranberry, together at last. :)

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  4. I've always wanted to try a pull apart bread, and I love your cranberry version (and I also like that it's not loaded with butter and sugar)! I'm definitely in the Christmas spirit this year, but maybe that's because we had our Thanksgiving back in early October, so I'm ready for another holiday! Hope your spirits stay lifted :)

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  5. I love pull apart bread, it would be such a great breakfast for Christmas morning! Thanks for sharing!

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  6. i still havent gotten over thanksgiving. the holiday mood is already set in. the lazyness and just wanting to shop or stay in on weekends:) this bread looks delicious and so pretty!

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  7. Hi Heather,
    Your bread looks delicious! =)
    Do you have a suggestion as to what I could replace the crystallized ginger with? I don't eat any refined sugars, but use honey or maple syrup instead. Since I guess there's no crystallized ginger without sugar I was wondering whether Id best leave it out or use something else.
    I'd be happy about a suggestion =)

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    1. Hi Ines! You could absolutely grate some fresh ginger and toss it with a bit of maple syrup - it would lend a very similar effect!

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    2. Thanks for your idea =) I guess I am going to try it that way!

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    3. Excellent, if you have a chance let me know how it worked out for you! :)

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    4. The ginger was not a problem at all, that worked very well! =)
      The thing is just that the bread tasted quite strongly of thyme so that the berries and the ginger were overpowered. I used ½ tsp of dried thyme, but that was definitely too much. I'd next time maybe do either a version with berries and ginger or one with thyme and lemon or something similar, but not combine berries and thyme.
      As for the dough I recommend using less milk when using the flax egg, as I had to keep adding flour even though I didn't put in the whole amount of milk right away.

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    5. Thanks for the follow up Ines! I adjusted the directions to use a less thyme is using dried- however I remade this yesterday and used 1/2 tsp of dried thyme and thought it was fine; different taste buds :) My flour ratio was followed directly as written, the dough is a bit moist when you turn it onto the floured surface however an additional 1/4 cup of flour is kneaded in and it turned out perfect (I used a flax egg as well)- it could be a difference in how we measure our flours :) Love the idea of baking a lemon version with the thyme. Have a great Holiday!

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  8. One word - YUM! This bread sounds incredible. I love the whole cranberries in it, I bet they add just the right amount of tart! And I know exactly what you're talking about... it felt like Thanksgiving ended and all of a sudden Christmas was right around the corner. I am so not ready for this!

    My step-dad always makes this amazing stuffing on Thanksgiving, and last year I asked him for the recipe... turns out it's from a store-bought box mix! He does doctor it up a lot, but still... fooled me!

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  9. Oooh, I love this idea! I just love cranberries, any time of year! And they are so pretty :)

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