Old Glory or a Grumpy Old Man?
Freedom Bread for the 4th of July!
Freedom Bread (White Loaves with Dried Cranberries and Blueberries)
makes 2 loaves
adapted from White Loaves recipe by Craig Kominiak in Baking With Julia
- 2½ cups warm water (105-115°F)
- 1 tablespoon (about 1½ packages) active dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 6 cups (30 ounces) bread flour
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup (5¼ ounces) dried cranberries
- 1 cup (6¼ ounces) dried blueberries
Mixing and Kneading
Pour ½ cup of the warm water into the bowl of a stand mixer, sprinkle in the yeast and sugar, and whisk to blend. Allow the mixture to rest until the yeast is foamy, about 5 minutes.
Add the remaining 2 cups water and about 3 cups flour to the yeast mixture. Using the dough hook, start mixing on low so that the flour doesn’t fly all over the counter and then add the remaining 3 cups flour. Increase the mixer speed to medium (#4 on a Kitchen Aid) and beat to bring the dough together, stopping to scrape down the bowl and hook as needed. Add a bit more flour or water, a tablespoon at a time, as needed. Add the salt and continue to knead at medium speed for about 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. When the dough is thoroughly mixed, add the butter, a tablespoon at a time, and beat until incorporated. Don’t despair if your beautiful dough comes apart with the addition of butter — beating will bring it back together. On the lowest speed, mix in the dried cranberries and dried blueberries. I often find this easier to do by hand. The berries may keep popping out but just be patient and keep kneading. Resting the dough for a few minutes and then resuming kneading may also help to incorporate all the berries.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and shape it into a ball. Place it in a large buttered or oiled bowl. Turn the dough around to cover its entire surface with butter or oil, cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, and let the dough rest at room temperature until it doubles in bulk, about 1 hour to 1¼ hours.
Shaping the Dough
Butter two 8½ by 4½ inch loaf pans and set them aside.
Gently deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough in half (each half will weigh about 2 pounds) and work with one piece at a time. Using the palms of your hands, pat the dough into a rectangle with a width equal to the pan length. Starting at the top, fold the dough about two thirds of the way down the rectangle and seal it with your fingers. Then fold it down again, so that the top edge meets the bottom edge. Tightly seal the seam by pinching it. Turn the roll so that the seam is in the center of the roll, facing up, and turn the ends of the roll in just enough so that it fits in your loaf pan. Pinch the seams to seal, turn the loaf over so that the seams are on the bottom, and plump the loaf with your palms to get an even shape. Place the loaf into the pan, seam side down, and repeat with the other piece of dough.
Cover the loaves with oiled plastic wrap, and allow them to rise at room temperature until they double in size again, growing over the tops of the pans, about 1½ to 2 hours.
While the loaves rise, center a rack in the oven and preheat the over to 375°F.
Baking the Bread
When the loaves are fully risen over the tops of the pans, bake them for 35-45 minutes, or until they are honey-brown and an instant-read thermometer plunged into the bottom center of the bread measures 200°F. Immediately remove the loaves from their pans and cool them on racks.