Pumpkin, Molasses, Cranberry and Golden Raisin No Knead Toasting Bread

“I can’t believe you said that! Now I’m going to have to eat my feelings in peanut butter.”

“Sometimes I think you try to find things I say offensive, just so you can find an excuse to eat peanut butter.”

“……I can’t believe you said that! Now I’m going to have to eat my feelings in peanut butter!”

“Like I said.”

Roo may have a point, but I’ll never admit it.

Would you?

…Don’t answer that.

One of my favorite ways of eating peanut butter is standing by the kitchen cupboard and eating it out of the jar with a spoon.  I swear it tastes 10 times better this way.

I also love it on classics like toast.  Practically burnt toast with a dollop of peanut butter has been my breakfast for the majority of these bitterly cold mornings  (it’s 24F as I type).  This sticky, crunchy, lip smacking treat makes waking before sunrise almost bearable when paired with a hot cup of tea.

I said almost.

This past weekend I made a couple loaves of a recent favorite: pumpkin and molasses with dried cranberries and golden raisins.  It’s a great toasting bread, where the natural sugars from the pumpkin and molasses have this wonderful crunch; almost caramelized with an ever so slight, sticky chew.  It’s chock full of raisins and cranberries, but I love that the pumpkin still shines through.  Spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger enhance the pumpkin’s warmth, but notes of caramel that can be tasted in the squash naturally make it a perfect partner to deep, lush molasses.

Have it with a bit of peanut butter or even Biscoff spread (I did and it was awesome), but be sure that the bread is nicely browned so you can enjoy all the crunchy nooks and crannies.  That’s the best part after all.

Adapted from The Kitchn

Makes Two Small Loaves

-

Ingredients

1 cup of dried cranberries

Half a cup of golden raisins

Boiling water (enough to top the cranberries and golden raisins with in a bowl)

One rounded tablespoon of yeast

1 cup of warm water

1 (fifteen ounce) can of pumpkin puree

Quarter of a cup of molasses

2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon

Half of a teaspoon of ground ginger

Quarter of a teaspoon of ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon of fine sea salt

Four cups of white whole wheat flour (if you only have all purpose, you can use that)

Extra flour for dusting

-

Equipment

A small mixing bowl (heat proof, that can hold the cranberries, golden raisins and boiling water)

A large mixing bowl

A spatula

Plastic wrap or a tea towel (something to cover the bowl with as the dough rises)

A clean surface that you can manipulate the dough on (like a cutting board)

A bench scraper (or a serrated knife, to split the dough into two)

Parchment paper

A serrated knife (or a very sharp knife, to make slash marks over the top of the dough)

A baking stone or a baking sheet

-

In a small mixing bowl, add the dried cranberries, golden raisins and enough boiling water to cover.  Soak for at least 10 minutes, then drain and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, add the yeast and warm water.  Mix and set aside for a minute or two to let the yeast dissolve.

Add the pumpkin puree, molasses, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt to the large mixing bowl.  Mix till combined.

Add only three and a half cups of the white whole wheat flour to the large mixing bowl.  Set aside the other half cup till you add the cranberries and golden raisins.  Mix the flours in till a wet batter forms.

Add the cranberries, golden raisins and the last half a cup of white whole wheat flour to the large mixing bowl.  Work in the additional ingredients with your spatula, or use your hands (I found the latter easier).  The dough is going to be wet and sticky.

Scrape as much of the dough off of your hands as you can, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a tea towel and allow to rise for at least 2 hours (up to 5).

After 2 hours, the dough should have doubled in size.

Two things can happen at this point: you can refrigerate the dough for a few hours (up to a day) or proceed onto baking it.  The dough is much easier to work with after it’s been chilled though (and this is what I do).

Add flour to a clean working surface and your hands, then turn the dough out of its bowl onto the area.  Divide the dough into two (I find a bench scraper makes this process quite easy, although you could use a serrated knife…or your hands).

With floured hands, fold the first dough round in half toward you.  You want the un-floured part inside and the outside that’s coated with flour to work with.  If this outside part is still sticky, dust more flour on top of it.  Do the same with the second dough round.

With the first dough round, pick it up, then start tucking the dough underneath itself with both hands, while turning the dough a quarter or an eighth of a turn, until the the dough feels tight and smooth.  Once you have a taught dough round, set it aside.  Do the same with the second round of dough.

For a visual, please see this video (from the Kitchn).

Set aside the now taught dough rounds on a piece of parchment paper.  Allow the dough to rise for about 45 minutes, or until the dough rounds have nearly doubled in size.

Place your oven rack to the middle position in the oven.  Preheat the oven to 425F.  Place the baking stone (or baking sheet) in the oven to preheat.

When the oven is at 425F and the dough has risen for about 45 minutes, make a few slash marks on dough rounds tops with your serrated knife.  Slide the dough rounds still on the parchment paper onto the baking stone.

Bake the bread for about 35 – 45 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.  The loaf should also sound hollow when you tap the bottom of it.

Allow the bread to cool completely before slicing.

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