A fruit and nut laden loaf of bread …

So today we had a snow day … after getting out 3 hours early yesterday due to projected snow and cold.

And, baby it is REALLY cold outside!

I made the most of my “found” day today by sleeping in till 6:30 (!), blocking a shawlette (shown below), working out at our community rec center (brought dh with me this time), baking amazing bread (shown above), and starting a sweater for Maggie.

Seriously – I’d forgotten how much I get done when I work from home!

The bread that I made – which made 2 large loaves – was a hybrid of a few recipes I found online. Here’s what I did:

Ingredients:

  • 5 tsp active dry yeast (brought to room temp)
  • 2-1/2 cups + 2tbls room temp/warm water
  • 6-3/4 cups bread flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbls melted butter
  • 1 small banana, mashed (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 cups chopped/broken nuts (I used equal parts pecan pieces and sliced almonds)
  • 2-1/2 cups dried fruit (I used 1 cup dried cranberries, 1/2 cup each golden raisins, currants and black raisins)
  • cornmeal for dusting pans

Directions:

  • In a large mixing bowl, mix yeast and water; let stand for 5-10 minutes until foamy.
  • Add the salt, butter, mashed banana and flour (a cup at a time) until the dough comes together.  Knead about 10 minutes.
  • Work the nuts and dried fruit into the dough, until thoroughly combined.
  • Oil a large bowl and place dough into the bowl.  Roll the dough until all sides are covered with oil.  Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for one hour.
  • Prep two 9-inch loaf pans by lining with parchment paper.  Sprinkle cornmeal on bottom of pans.
  • Punch dough down and transfer to a lightly floured surface.  Split dough into two equal sized pieces. Roll each piece into a tight loaf.  Place in pans, covering with a towel and allow to rise for one hour.
  • Preheat oven to 350.  Place rack in center of oven. Bake loaves for 45-60 minutes.  Remove from pans and allow to cool completely for ease in slicing. 

Click here for a printable pdf of this wonderful bread – you can eat it untoasted but with butter and a touch of honey or cinnamon sugar and you won’t want to eat it untoasted!

I was also able to block a shawlette …

The Hamptons shawlette

… and started designing a sweater for Maggie. She has decided she’s heading to Hollins for college next year and has requested a green-and-gold sweater, the university’s colors. To ensure I was working the striping as she desired … while also figuring gauge AND make something useful … I made this cap

Swatch Cap … garter-striped hem, 2-rnd stripes for body, single stripes for crown

Tomorrow is yet another snow day … it’s forecast to be blisteringly cold tonight and tomorrow until 10a.m. – with windchills bringing the temps into the negatives (e.g., at 9:30pm, it is 14 degrees but with windchills, it is -3). I’m excited as I will have time to write a block post all about the benefits of blocking … using The Hamptons shawlette as a great example.

Enjoy!

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