I made this bread last week and it definitely turned out to be one of my favorites so far. The bread schedule also worked really well, because this is a great bread to have around the holidays. I started, as always, by mixing my dry (flour, sugar, salt, etc.) and wet (eggs, buttermilk, melted butter, lemon extract, yeast) ingredients.
Once they were mixed, I transferred the dough to the table and commenced with some kneading. Once the dough was adequately kneaded, I added the dried cranberries and chopped walnuts. I have to say, mixing fruit and nuts into dough is the one occasion I would really appreciate a stand mixer.
When the dough was finally done, I let it rise in an oiled bowl for a couple of hours.
After the first rise, I was supposed to divide the dough into three 6 oz. balls and three 3 oz. balls (or another similar ratio—I forget). I don’t yet have a kitchen scale (Christmas is coming, though), so I had to eyeball it. Then, I had to make two braided loaves, one big and one small. I then positioned the small braid on top of the large braid, brushed it with an egg wash, and let it rise again.
Then, it was ready to go in the oven. The bread baked for about 45-50 minutes at around 325 (I think). Needless to say, I ended up with a pretty huge loaf. The egg wash also gave it a beautiful, shiny crust.
I love this bread. The cranberries give it a nice touch of sweetness, and the buttermilk gave the dough a quality that I am having trouble articulating. It’s very light and soft, although soft isn’t really the best word for it. You should make it and find out for yourself.
Next on the list: English muffins!